Padres hold second private workout with Yasmany Tomas; Yankees probably not interested

35 Comments

Couple of updates here on the developing market for Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas, who was declared eligible for free agency late last week by MLB …

Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Padres held a second private workout with Tomas on Wednesday in the Dominican Republic. The first was last Friday. Both of these workouts were attended by new Padres GM A.J. Preller, who also scouted the 23-year-old corner outfielder at his open showcase on September 20. That means Preller has seen Tomas three different times in about three weeks.

Tomas is thought to be seeking more than $100 million and the Padres don’t often spend big, but perhaps team ownership has opened up the purse strings a bit for Preller. San Diego is in desperate need of a long-term power bat, and Tomas probably fits that mold better than anyone on the market this winter.

George A. King III of the New York Post, meanwhile, is hearing that the Yankees do not plan to seriously pursue Tomas. They’re committed to a starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, and the designated hitter spot should be filled next season by Alex Rodriguez.

Tomas has done other private workouts in the Dominican with the Rangers and Phillies.

Gabe Kapler chooses not to bench Jean Segura for lack of effort

Rich Schultz/Getty Images
4 Comments

The Phillies are in a tailspin. The club lost its perch atop the NL East, losing 12 of its last 18 games dating back to May 30. They enter Thursday night’s action four games behind the now-first-place Braves. The reasons for the slide are myriad, including a rash of injuries, but the players have also simply not played well. Understandably, fans are upset.

It didn’t help when, for the second time in three weeks, shortstop Jean Segura didn’t run hard on a batted ball. On June 3, Segura didn’t run on an infield pop-up that eventually resulted in a season-ending injury to Andrew McCutchen. On Wednesday during the second game of a doubleheader, Segura weakly hit a Max Scherzer pitch to shallow left-center that wasn’t caught. Because he was watching the ball rather than running hard, he had to hold up after a wide turn around first base.

To the surprise of many, Segura wasn’t pulled from the game despite the lack of effort. To the even further surprise of many, manager Gabe Kapler included Segura in Thursday’s lineup against the Nationals, which has otherwise been thoroughly reshuffled. Per Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kapler said, “Jean is one of our eight best players. I don’t think taking one of our eight best players and our shortstop out of our lineup is what’s best for the Philadelphia Phillies.”

Kapler said he had a long talk with Segura. “I told him that we’re going to address not just him but other players in the clubhouse and we’re going to talk about the highest level of effort and talk about how we can’t win every night but we can win the game of give-a-[hoot] and be undefeated in that category. Then we can protect the Phillies by putting the best lineup together on a nightly basis and not think about making ourselves feel better by sending a message.”

Kapler hit the nail on the head with that last line. Benching Segura only makes fans and pundits feel better by punishing someone for a perceived transgression. But does it actually teach anything, and is it actually beneficial to the team? Maybe to the former, and no to the latter. Matt Winkelman of Baseball Prospectus brought up a great point on Twitter, writing, “The idea that punishment is the only way to solve a problem or change behavior is such a narrow minded idea.” People learn best in different ways. Some might respond well to punishment. Others may just need a good talking-to. It’s a case-by-case thing. Kapler is right to apply nuance to the situation.

So many of baseball’s long-held beliefs have fallen to the wayside in recent years. The idea that a player must always be punished for a lack of effort will hopefully be the next one to be taken out to the dumpster.