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The first dustup at Camp Free Agent occurs

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The free agent camp that the MLBPA has established in Bradenton, Florida has only been open a couple of days and only has about 30 or so players in it so far. Despite just getting going, it already has its first controversy on its hands.

Ken Rosenthal passed along a comment from an anonymous club executive this afternoon, who claimed that a club’s special assistant to the General Manager showed up to the free agent camp but was was asked to leave and was subsequently escorted out. Rosenthal passed along his source’s comment: “I cannot believe the players wouldn’t want scouts at their workout to see who’s in shape.”

Rosenthal then passed long the MLBPA’s comment on the matter:

Gonna side, strongly, with the union on this one.

The free agent camp is not, as the representative notes, a tryout camp. If a club wants to see a free agent work out, it is more than welcome to set up a tryout. A tryout in which a player is focused and prepared, with sufficient notice that club officials will be watching. You know, how it always works with free agents who offer open showcases when looking for work. If they want to “see who’s in shape,” sign the guy to a contract pending physical and take his damn physical.

The free agent camp is not that. It is a workout, not a tryout, facility. If a club inquires about a free agent today, it should be no different than the manner in which a club inquires about a free agent in December: call his agent. Unless scouts are showing up at players’ houses, home gyms and offseason workouts as it is — note: they’re not — they shouldn’t be doing it here.

This all seems calculated to me. I suspect that clubs know how it’s supposed to work and that someone sent a front office employee in anyway with the intention of getting escorted out, thereby creating a news story about it. I suspect they did so in order to cast the camp as a circus, turn public opinion against players and, perhaps, provide additional excuses for why clubs are not signing free agents.

Crazy? Maybe. But it’s no crazier than there being 90 free agents on February 14.

 

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.