This is a fun one.
In spring training games between NL teams the home team gets to decide if they use the designated hitter or let the pitchers hit. Usually it’s not a big deal, but apparently today’s Reds-Diamondbacks game was different.
Reds manager Dusty Baker wanted to use the DH because Shin-Soo Choo has a sore quadriceps and they still wanted to get him some at-bats. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson didn’t want to use the DH because starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy has spent his whole career in the AL and they want him to hit a little.
Gibson put his foot down, which led to the Reds keeping Choo out of the lineup and, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, the two managers had a “testy exchange at home plate” in which Gibson offered his hand and “Baker refused to shake it.”
Who says spring training action isn’t exciting?
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.