Option trading: Royals acquire Ervin Santana from Angels

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This week the Angels have reportedly been shopping Ervin Santana and Dan Haren as they face big-money option decisions on both pitchers and according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com they’ve found a taker for Santana in the Royals.

No word yet on the return coming back to the Angels, but don’t expect it to be much. Santana’s option is for $13 million and he was pretty terrible for much of this year, finishing with a 5.16 ERA in 30 starts. And simply by trading Santana instead of declining his option the Angels saved a $1 million buyout.

Within his overall inconsistency Santana has often shown the ability to be a front-line starter, but he’s always struggled to limit homers and at this point he’s a 30-year-old with a 4.33 career ERA. For a one-year pickup he’s a decent gamble for the pitching-starved Royals, even if the price is a bit much.

UPDATE: Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Angels will receive left-hander Brandon Sisk, a 27-year-old Triple-A reliever. In other words, a non-prospect.

UPDATE II: According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels exercised Santana’s $13 million option before the trade and will cover $1 million of it. So the Royals will pay him $12 million.

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.