Last night wasn’t all about heroic comebacks and epic collapses. Some history of a smaller, more dubious nature was made. Specifically: Eugenio Velez broke a modern-day record for a non-pitcher by going hitless in his final 46 at-bats. He did it with a grounder to second as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning against the Diamondbacks.
One wonders why Don Mattingly, presumably aware of the streak, let Velez hit in that situation when he could have just rode the pine. Maybe it was because he had already tied the record and he figured, hey, why not give him a chance to snap it with one final hit. I suppose it won’t matter too much — only Velez and some weirdos like me will remember this in two weeks — but normally baseball custom dictates that players sit in such situations.
Oh well. Sorry Eugenio, but there is at least some sort of compliment to you in all of this. Like they used to say back at the law firm, “it takes a damn good lawyer to lose a big case.” Meaning, you never get a chance to handle a big case if you weren’t good to begin with. Same with dubious baseball records. If you weren’t thought highly of in some way Mattingly never would have kept sending you out for those 46 times.
It’s OK if that doesn’t make you feel better.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.