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Benches clear after final out of Angels-Rangers game

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Things got a little dicey after the last out of the Angels’ 6-0 win on Friday, prompting a benches-clearing confrontation as the Angels sealed the shutout with a 4-6-3 double play. In the ninth inning, Ronald Guzman slapped a grounder right to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who flipped it to Andrelton Simmons to catch Rougned Odor for the second out, then fired it back to first base to complete the double play.

Odor slid into second base spikes-high in an attempt to break up the double play, catching Simmons’ shin and doing enough damage that the shortstop’s leg had to be treated after the game (though it doesn’t appear severe enough to keep him out of the lineup for Saturday’s rematch). Simmons was reportedly angry about the dirty slide, while Odor asserted that he had simply made a “good slide,” one that did not violate the rules of runner interference.

As soon as Albert Pujols recorded the final out of the game, Odor and Simmons went head-to-head in a lively discussion about the slide while the benches and dugouts cleared around them. The two were quickly separated during the shouting match, however, and no replay review was needed to overturn the double play.

Later that evening, Simmons offered an alternate explanation for the fracas, telling MLB.com’s Avery Yang, “I was trying to tell him, ‘You forgot to say hello to your family for me.’ He’s like ‘No, I didn’t forget, I told them.’ I was like ‘No, they told me you didn’t tell them.’ He wasn’t very happy about it so, it’s OK.”

The Angels and Rangers are scheduled to face off again on Saturday at 9:07 PM ET.

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.