Lonnie Chisenhall’s brilliance could spell the end of Jason Giambi’s career

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For every good there’s a bad. For every yin a yang. The yang to Lonnie Chisenhall’s spectacular .385/.429/.615 yin is the roster crunch it will likely occasion for the Indians. And the odd-man out is probably going to be Jason Giambi.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com looks at the issue today, and he sees it pretty realistically: once Nick Swisher returns from the disabled list Terry Francona will have to figure out where to play him, Chisenhall, Carlos Santana, Mike Aviles and Giambi. If you assume Chisenhall has earned the right to stick at third base, that Santana’s recent concussion and the presence of two other catchers is going to limit his time behind the plate and that the DH slot is going to feature a rotation of Santana, Swisher and whoever needs some rest, it’s going to be really hard to justify carrying Giambi, who is basically a platoon DH now.

Some may say too many bats is a good problem to have — and it’s way better than the alternative, no question — but such a state of affairs may very well end the career of one of the best and most interesting hitters of the past 20 years.

If that makes you sad, do realize that this state of affairs also gave Castrovince the opportunity to refer to Nick Swisher as “the $56 million bro,” which may be the nickname of the year.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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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?