Orioles “have had trade discussions” about J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett

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According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun the Orioles “have had trade discussions” with the Twins about J.J. Hardy and with the Rays about Jason Bartlett.

Cesar Izturis was Baltimore’s starting shortstop this year, but he’s a free agent the team is clearly looking for an upgrade offensively.

Previous reports had the Rays shopping Bartlett with an eye toward turning shortstop over to Reid Brignac and there’s been speculation that the Twins may non-tender Hardy because they’re looking to add more speed at the position (which, to me, would be a big mistake).

Zrebiec notes that the Orioles “haven’t ruled out” bringing back Izturis and says talks with the Rays for Bartlett have included right-hander David Hernandez potentially going to Tampa Bay. No word on what they’d be offering the Twins for Hardy. Bartlett and Hardy are both one season away from being free agents.

MLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.