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The Mets batted out of order, costing them a scoring opportunity

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After a fast start to the season the New York Mets are . . . reverting to their historical state of Metsian Goodness.

They just got underway against the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon. The batting order was supposed to be Brandon Nimmo leading off, Wilmer Flores batting second and Asdrubal Cabrera batting third. That’s the lineup that got announced publicly and which was put up on the scoreboard. Got it? Good.

The problem: it turns out that the version of the lineup card the Mets turned in to the umpires just before the game had it wrong. It had Cabrera second and Flores third. Note: the lineup you give to the umpires is the one that controls in the game.

So, the first inning starts. Nimmo strikes out looking, Flores strikes out swinging and Asdrubal Cabrera hits a ground rule double. At that point Reds manager Jim Riggleman walks out to alert the umps of the Mets’ mistake. Per the rules, that means the next batter — Jay Bruce — was automatically called out, with the scoring being groundout to catcher. With that, the Mets’ first inning threat was ended.

For the record, Mets first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. was the one who turned the lineup card in. No word who handed it to him, but I’m sure Mickey Callaway will say so after the game.

You don’t see many major league teams bat out of order. The Brewers did it in 2016. The Giants did it back in 2013. Beyond that I can’t remember. Heck, I can’t remember it ever happening in Little League and Babe Ruth games I used to play in.

Go Mets.

 

Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers

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The Cleveland Indians have traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. In exchange, Texas is sending center fielder Delino DeShields and pitcher Emmanuel Clase to the Indians. There are reports that the Indians will be getting more than just those two players, but no word yet. The deal is pending physical.

Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.

Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.

Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.

DeShields, 27, is a career .246/.326/.342 hitter (76 OPS+) and that’s about how he performed in 2019 as well. He was demoted to Triple-A Nashville in May. Clase, who will turn 22 before next season, pitched 21 games, all but one in relief, for the Rangers in 2019 and will still be considered a rookie in 2020. He has been used mostly as a reliever in the minors as well.

Pending what else the Tribe is going to be getting, this appears to be a light return for a pitcher who, despite his 2019 injuries, should be expected to come back and be a workhorse. Unless there is some real talent coming back, in addition to DeShields and Clase, it would seem to be a salary dump for Cleveland and a steal for Texas. It is likewise perplexing how any of the many, many teams who could use starting pitching — the Angels and the Mets, among others, come to mind — could not top the package Texas offered.

As for the Indians, the commitment to Kluber for 2020-21 is $31.5 million if you exercise next year’s option, $18.5 million if you don’t. He’s one year and a freak injury removed from goin 20-7 with a 2.89 (150 ERA+), 0.991 WHIP, and 215 innings pitched. Cleveland is coming off 93 wins and should contend. Why you trade Kluber in that situation, regardless of the return, is a question they should have to answer to fans who expect to see winning baseball.