Aaron Cook will talk to the Padres and Reds in free agency

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Aaron Cook is a free agent now that the Rockies have declined their $11 million option on him for 2012.  And like a lot of recently-injured or ineffective starting pitchers, he said that he’d talk to the San Diego Padres.  You know the pattern by now: it’s a big, pitcher-friendly park and it’s a great place for a one-year prove-yourself contract. The only downside: you don’t get to face the Padres offense several times a year.  Still get the Giants, but no Padres.

But Cook told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that he’d talk to another team too:  the Cincinnati Reds.  Not exactly an obvious choice given that they play in a bandbox, but as Armstrong notes, Cook has always pitched well in Great American Ballpark.

But let’s also be realistic: he’s pitched six games in that joint. Six.  While, sure, he’s only pitched 11 in Petco Park, at least his results match up roughly with what a lot of pitchers do there (i.e. pitch better).  Is he really confident that he’d continue to buck the trend of pitchers getting blown up on Cincinnati?

Call the Reds once and see what they’d do for you, Aaron.  But go see the Padres in person.  You may find your efforts in that direction more richly rewarded, at least in the long term.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.