Victor Martinez on the Tigers game last night: “We were horses**t”

Associated Press
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Most of society uses bull excrement to refer to things which are suboptimal or less-than-genuine. Baseball players, however, have a long and rich history of using horse excrement as their epithet of choice. I’m not sure why. I know a lot of people in the military use it — my dad is a big “horses**t” advocate — but it’s huge in baseball. Probably bigger there now than anywhere else. At least since the military moved on to F.U.B.A.R. a couple of decades back.

Jim Leyland is perhaps the most recent Grand Master of “horses**t.” He used to drop it all the time, even when he wasn’t mad about anything. And of course he used to manage the Tigers, so it’s understandable why Victor Martinez would go there to describe the Tigers’ subpar performance last night. From Katie Strang at ESPN:

Martinez, 37, gave credit where credit was due, tipping his cap to a phenomenal performance from Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Rich Hill, but he indicted his own team’s meager display in a 5-1 loss.

“Bottom line: The guy threw good,” he said. “We were horses— as an offense.”

And it wasn’t just last night. As Strang notes, the Tigers offense, which is supposed to be a strength of this team, has been terrible lately.

Meanwhile, a Tigers fan friend of mine just asked rhetorically why Martinez is saying this about his and his teammates’ performance instead of Brad Ausmus. Good question! I mused in the recaps this morning that Ausmus is probably on thin ice, but when the players are voicing frustration like this and the manager isn’t throwing a bunch of bats into the shower and giving the “lollygaggers” speech, it’s usually not a good look.

Jim Leyland is going to manage the WBC team next year. He’s rested. He’s ready. Maybe he wants a warmup. The old man comes back as an interim manager? Who says no?!

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Despite the defeat, Fried matched the $13.5 million Gerrit Cole won in 2019 as the highest decided by an arbitration panel.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.