Quote of the Day: some NL exec would start a team with Adam Jones over Mike Trout

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Assignment to reporters in Arizona: find the source of this anonymous quote in MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer’s story.

The story: asking various executives which player they would choose to build a team around. Most execs chose Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw, which makes sense. Some chose Andrew McCutchen, which, sure, why not? Others went with young prospects or decided that it was most important to build around certain positions like shortstop or catcher. Which also makes sense. Indeed, it’s hard to truly criticize almost any of the choices here given the hypothetical nature of this exercise and the various ways there are to build a railroad.

But there is one exec — a general manager no less! — who made a choice and a justification therefor which is impossible to get one’s head around:

“Adam Jones is a five-tool guy who comes to beat you every day and is a great leader,” an NL GM said of the Orioles’ center fielder. “I love Trout, but I just love Jones a little more.”

Like I said: picking a pitcher or a catcher or a shortstop or a young prospect over Mike Trout in this exercise is totally defensible. But to decide that you want an MLB center fielder and then not only go with Jones over Trout but to do so on the basis of a head-to-head comparison between the two and a justification of Jones being a “five-tool guy” with, more or less, the will-to-win is a pretty special thing. Especially for a general manager.

Spencer said he did this out in Arizona. The NL GMs in Arizona are, as follows: Dave Stewart of the Dbacks, Jed Hoyer of the Cubs, Walt Jocketty of the Reds, Jeff Bridich of the Rockies, Farhan Zaidi of the Dodgers, Doug Melvin of the Brewers, A.J. Preller of the Padres and Brian Sabean of the Giants. Fans of one of those teams: I am sorry.

Report: Some MLB teams using outside labs for COVID-19 testing

MLB COVID-19 testing
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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.

The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.

In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.

The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.

We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.