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The Cardinals acquire Juan Nicasio from the Phillies

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A week ago the Pirates waived reliever Juan Nicasio. It was a strange move, as he has been pretty dang effective this year. Pirates GM Neal Huntington explained the move at the time as a strategic one, aimed at both moving on from Nicasio, who is not in the Pirates’ 2018 plans due to his impending free agency while keeping him away from a “direct competitor,” if he was simply released or dealt after being claimed on revocable waivers. On outright waivers teams with bad records can claim him for nothing, so it was less likely that he’d go to a good team.  He ended up being claimed by the Phillies.

So much for that plan, because now the Phillies have traded Nicasio to one of the Pirates’ “direct competitors”

Nicasio is still a free agent after this season, so he can go anywhere. But it’s hard to see how this is not the outcome Neal Huntington claimed he was trying to avoid when he let Nicasio go.

In any event, the Phillies get send infield prospect Eliezer Alvarez back from the Cardinals. Nicasio can’t pitch for the Cardinals in the playoffs if they make it, but he can certainly help them get there. I’m sure Pirates fans are pleased that he’ll help them along.

Tigers, Royals to play a regular season game in Omaha next year

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Major League Baseball announced today that the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers will play a regular season game in Omaha, Nebraska next year to open the festivities for the College World Series.

The game will be played on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha two days before the first game of the Series. It will be televised nationally by ESPN. TD Ameritrade Park has a seating capacity of 24,000, with the ability to expand to 35,000 spectators. Which, um, probably means this will be one of the larger crowds for the Royals next year if the club’s current trajectory continues.

This will be the fourth small-park, special occasion regular season game for Major League Baseball in recent years. hIn July 2016 the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins played at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for service members. Last August the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals played in the inaugural Little League Classic, which took place at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There will be a second Little League Classic in Williamsport this August between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.