A sentence from Buster Olney’s column this morning stuck out like a glowing, radioactive thumb:
The Royals fully expect to open next season with Joakim Soria as their closer — which makes sense, because to offer up Soria now would be to try to extract value in the middle of a buyers’ market for relievers. There are many, many alternatives available.
I know there are a lot of relievers available, but in a world when Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell are landing a combined $77 million — at a minimum — it’s hard for me to fathom what things would look like if it was a seller’s market.
There’s an obvious supply/demand mismatch going on here. Olney is right that there are a lot of relievers floating around, but man, they are raking it in. If I was the Royals I’d see what crazy-sauce-drinking GM would be willing to offer me for Soria.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.
According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.