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Phillies trade Luis García to Angels for José Álvarez

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The Phillies announced on Thursday night that right-handed pitcher Luis García has been traded to the Angels in exchange for lefty José Álvarez.

García, 31, has been a fixture in the Phillies’ bullpen for most of the last six seasons. He’s been very hot and cold, finishing with an ERA above 6.00 in three of those seasons while posting a sub-4.00 ERA in the other three. Overall, García owns a career 4.12 ERA with 223 strikeouts and 125 walks in 244 2/3 innings.

Álvarez, 29, has also been a fixture of the Angels’ bullpen over the last four seasons. He carries a career 3.69 ERA with 246 strikeouts and 88 walks in 275 1/3 innings. His 2018 season was his best as he finished with a 2.71 ERA.

García is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He made $1.2 million last season. Álvarez is also entering his second of three years of arbitration eligibility after earning $1.05 million in 2018.

The Phillies made this swap due to an abundance of right-handed relievers and a lack of reliable lefties. For the Angels, García will likely slot into the middle innings.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play on artificial turf in London

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Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:

Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.

Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.

At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.

Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.

It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.

Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.