Actually, this was more the providence of alter ego “Tony Plush.”
Nyjer Morgan attempted to reach into the stands down the right-field line to grab a flyball in Wednesday’s game, got tangled up with a Reds fan and then sort of shoved him off with his glove afterwards.
MLB.com has the video.
If it ended with the glove shove, it probably would have been nothing. Morgan jawed with the fan for a few seconds afterwards, though, before umpire Marty Foster helped direct him back to his position.
“It’s just one of those things where we were tangled up; I could have made a play on the ball,” Morgan said. “I just gave him a little, ‘Get off me,’ because he was all on my arm and everything. Nothing major, but everybody might blow it up a little differently.”
Morgan said afterwards that he didn’t have a problem with the fan’s actions in trying to get the ball for himself.
“That’s what the home fans are supposed to do, try to take the ball from the opposing team when the ball is in the stands,” Morgan said. “It’s fair game once the ball is in the stands.”
So, why the shove then?
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.