Rick Porcello suspended six games for throwing at Ben Zobrist

41 Comments

Rick Porcello plunked Ben Zobrist the other day, presumably in retaliation for Fernando Rodney throwing up and in at Miguel Cabrera the night before. Now he’s paying the price:

Pitcher Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers has received a six-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch at Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays in the bottom of the first inning of Sunday’s game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Joe Garagiola, Jr., Senior Vice President of Standards & Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.

A six-game suspension for a pitcher is, effectively, one start. Fewer if the manager is creative about shuffling the rotation.  The fine and docked pay is real, though.

Tigers fans are likely to say this isn’t fair given that Rodney threw at Cabrera. But as I said the other day, that seems like a weak charge. Given that he didn’t hit them, there’s no history there and given the fact that it happened in extra innings kinda undercuts Rodney’s intent.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

Getty Images
15 Comments

A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?