Joey Votto exploded last night. It was fantastic.

41 Comments

With the caveat that basically all ballplayers and managers who get into heated arguments on the field look silly in an objective sense, can we agree that, within the context of baseball arguments being a thing that we accept, Joey Votto‘s last night was a thing of beauty?

As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports here, it all started with disputed ball and strike calls and then, at least according to Bryan Price, got out of hand when Votto asked for time and home plate umpire Bill Welke wouldn’t give it to him.

A couple of things about all of this:

  • Votto is one of the more mild-mannered players in the game. To see him explode like this means he must’ve been REALLY hot.
  • As Rosecrans notes — and as the video makes pretty clear — those were some bogus strike calls on Votto. And, say what you will about arguing balls and strikes, if I trust any player in the game to have a good sense of the strike zone it’s Joey Votto and it’s not even close.
  • The beginning of the argument with Welke is interesting. Votto is unhinged, yes, but Welke’s “you spit on me” thing is so bush league. Umpires have been doing that for ages, and it’s likewise a classic style of aggravation and misdirection used in any sort of argument, be it between ballplayers and umps, husbands and wives or plaintiff and defense counsel. Absent a Roberto Alomar situation where someone spit intentionally, an umpire calling attention to such a thing is clearly calculated to needle the player by injecting a a non-sequitur into the proceedings in a passive-aggressive fashion. Argue back if you must or, even better, stay silent or walk away until the arguing manager or player has decided he’s getting nowhere (and he should never get anywhere). But don’t pull that crap, Welke. We know what you’re doing.

Whatever the case, it was definitely entertaining. And I would guess that anyone left still claiming Votto lacks fire or passion is gonna reconsider now.

Report: Yankees acquire Edwin Encarnación from Mariners

Edwin Encarnacion
Getty Images
8 Comments

The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.

Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.

Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.