Dodgers agree to deal with Edinson Volquez

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Edinson Volquez was released by the Padres on Tuesday after posting a 6.01 ERA in 142 1/3 innings this year, but it didn’t take long to find a new team.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the 30-year-old right-hander has agreed to a major league contract — pending a physical — with the Dodgers. He will make the major league minimum, with the Padres covering the large majority of what remains from his $5.725 million player salary for 2013.

Volquez had a breakout year for the Reds in 2008, registering a 3.21 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 196 innings and finishing fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year ballotting. But he has a 4.98 ERA (76 ERA+) in 100 starts since the beginning of the 2009 season and seems doubtful to suddenly figure it out in Los Angeles.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.