Tim Hudson was on the radio yesterday and talked about the blown infield fly rule call from Friday’s wild card game. Not surprisingly, he thought it was terrible. Somewhat surprisingly, he wasn’t too hard on Braves fans for chucking trash onto the field in the aftermath:
I don’t blame the fans for doing what they did and reacting the way they did. Show them some passion and let them know that they didn’t get the call right. That’s not something that I condone or the Atlanta Braves condone, but I was fired up to see everybody in the stadium just ticked off at what just happened. We were the same way and it’s something that, after a little while, I think it’s a little bit embarrassing, but at the same time one side of me was just happy to see our fans just backing us up and letting them know how they felt.
Don’t encourage them, Tim. And be careful too. “Passion,” as you put it, when exercised by people who very rarely exhibit it, can lead to bad things. It’s a little like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.