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Yankees considering Mike Moustakas as a first baseman

18 Comments’s Jon Morosi reports that the Yankees are considering trading for Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and using him at first base. Several teams are, in fact.

The Yankees are not in dire need of offense to say the least, but first base has been a weak spot for them with neither Greg Bird nor Neil Walker tearing up the pea patch. Moustakas isn’t exactly putting up vintage Don Mattingly numbers himself. He’s on a 30-homer, 100-RBI pace, but that’s on the back of a pretty weak .258/.312/.472 line. You could do that and be thought of as a superstar in the 80s, but it’s no great shakes these days. That’s especially true when you account for the fact that the line is pretty April-heavy Since May first he’s hitting just .233/.300/.411 And he has back spasms now.

Still, he’s capable of better and the Royals are no doubt interested in moving him given how they’re going no place, so it’s worth watching both how he does over the next couple of weeks and how desperate contenders get for some corner power.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?