Alex Cora plans to play next season at age 36

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Alex Cora has hit just .219 with zero homers and a .540 OPS in 171 plate appearances for the Nationals, but the 36-year-old utility man said yesterday that he has no plans to retire.

“I’ll be playing” next year,” Cora told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “I’m only 36. Whenever people talk about the future, you better hold it, because I’m going to be playing until I don’t feel I can play well. I feel like I can contribute and help teams out. In my mind, there’s no doubt about that.”

Teams may feel a bit differently, because Cora also hit just .210 with zero homers and a .544 OPS last season and hasn’t cracked a .650 OPS since 2009. He’ll likely have to settle for a minor-league contract and fight for a bench job during spring training.

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.