Giancarlo Stanton: “I do not like this at all”

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Giancarlo Stanton took to his Twitter account Tuesday to express his frustration after learning that Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck were set to be traded to the Blue Jays. A couple of days have passed and reality has set in, but Stanton is still steamed.

Peter Gammons of MLB.com caught up with Stanton last night, who didn’t pull any punches in his criticism of the deal and the Marlins’ overall philosophy.

“I do not like this at all,” Stanton said. “This is the ‘winning philosophy?’ Then to say it’s not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can’t imagine how the city and the fans feel.”

“Jose, Bonifacio, Hanley … all three are gone now. I had people warn me that something like this could happen, but it runs against the competitive nature every athlete has, that nature that everything is about winning. This kind of thing is what gets talked about all the time around this team. Former Marlins come back and they warn us. It gets talked about during the stretch, in the clubhouse, after games, on the road. Again, I do not like this at all.”

There’s plenty more where that came from, but you get the point. Emotions are still running high, so we’ll likely get a better read on this in the coming months, but the odds of engaging Stanton in long-term contract talks don’t sound all that promising. His future with the team isn’t really an issue right now since he’s making the major league minimum again in 2013, but it could become one when he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time next offseason.

More position players have pitched this year than ever

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Yesterday, in Milwaukee, utilityman Hernan Perez pitched two scoreless innings, and backup catcher Erik Kratz pitched one himself, mopping up in a blowout loss to the Dodgers. In doing so they became the 31st and 32nd position players to pitch this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most position players who have taken the mound in a season in the Expansion Era, which began in 1961. Presumably far fewer ever did so when the league had only 16 teams.

It’s pretty remarkable to set that record now, in this age of 13 and sometimes 14-man pitching staffs. That’s especially true when teams shuttle guys back and forth from the minors more often than they ever have before and when, due to the shortened, 10-day disabled list, it’s easier to give guys breaks because of “injuries” than it ever has been.

Pitcher usage is driving this, however. While teams carry far more relievers than they ever have before, they actually carry far fewer swingmen or mopup men who are capable of throwing multiple innings in a blowout to save other pitchers’ arms. Rather, teams focus on max-effort, high-velocity relievers who go one or two innings tops, thus requiring catchers and utility guys to help do the mopping that actual pitchers used to do.

I don’t know if that’s a bad thing necessarily — some of these backup catchers throw harder than a lot of pitchers did 30 years ago and it’s always kind of fun to see a position player pitch — but it is yet another way the game has changed due to a focus on specialization and velocity when it comes to pitchers.