UPDATE: Rays and Orioles no longer working on Bartlett for Reimold swap

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UPDATE: So much for that. Multiple sources are now reporting that the Bartlett-for-Reimold talks hit a snag and the deal is unlikely to happen. Perhaps the Orioles came to their senses.

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It’s no secret that the Rays have been trying to trade Jason Bartlett and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they’re close to sending the 31-year-old shortstop to the Orioles for Nolan Reimold.

According to Connolly talks between the two teams are “heating up” and “one source expects it to happen today.”

Bartlett is one season away from free agency and set to receive a raise from his $4 million salary in 2010 via the arbitration process despite an underwhelming performance, but the Orioles have been linked to various shortstop options throughout the offseason and are clearly looking for veteran help at the position.

Reimold had a strong rookie season in 2009 before undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn Achilles’ tendon and struggled to bounce back this year, spending most of the season at Triple-A. Tampa Bay presumably views him as the replacement for Carl Crawford in left field, or at least as part of the replacement plan along with top prospect Desmond Jennings.

Assuming the Rays feel confident about Reimold medically getting a 27-year-old potential impact bat who’s cheap and under team control for another five seasons for a mediocre 31-year-old free agent-to-be shortstop is a very nice move.

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.