Junk swap! Rockies trade Jeremy Guthrie to Royals for Jonathan Sanchez

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Imagine two families holding garage sales across the street from one another. Sunday afternoon rolls around and all the good stuff is long gone, most of the decent stuff is sold too, and only a few beat up, worn out, and largely undesirable items remain.

Someone from the first family yells across the street to the second family and says, “Hey, I’ll give you all my leftover junk for all your leftover junk.”

After thinking about it, someone from the second family replies: “OK, whatever. We were just going to throw it all out anyway, I guess.”

In related news, Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Rockies have traded Jeremy Guthrie and his 6.35 ERA to the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez and his 7.76 ERA.

For weeks now the Rockies have made no secret about wanting to rid themselves of Guthrie, believing he’s particularly ill-suited for Coors Field. And last week the Royals mercifully designated Sanchez for assignment after he was the worst pitcher in baseball for a dozen starts, likely only sticking with him for that long because they traded Melky Cabrera to get him this offseason.

Guthrie was a solid, durable mid-rotation starter for the Orioles as recently as last season, so it makes plenty of sense that the Royals be willing to take on his $8.2 million contract in exchange for Sanchez’s $5.6 million deal. Sanchez hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2010 and words can’t do justice to how awful he’s been this season, but from the Rockies’ point of view at least he’s the junk from across the street and once upon a time had some upside.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?