Mitch Williams is taking a leave of absence from MLB Network

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When we heard last week that Mitch Williams ordered one of his ten-year-old Little League players to bean another ten-year-old player — and that Williams called a kid on the other team a vile name — I said that if I ran the MLB Network I’d fire Williams. Well, the next best thing is happening:

The MLB Network told the Daily News Saturday afternoon that Williams is taking a leave of absence from the network.

“Mitch Williams has decided to take a leave of absence from his role at MLB Network at this time,” an MLB Network spokesperson said in an email to the Daily News. “We are continuing to look into the matter.”

I wonder if it was really Williams who “decided” the matter. Because doing so would require good judgment and Williams seems to have none at all.

Now, if we could get rid of Chris Russo we’d really be cooking with gas.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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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.