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Four arrested in connection with deaths of Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo

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A horrifying turn in an already horrifying case: four people have been arrested in connection with the deaths of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. They died after their car hit a large rock in the road, which caused them to be ejected from the vehicle. Authorities say that the rock was not in the road on accident. From the Los Angeles Times:

Authorities said the players may have been the intended victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants. Four suspects found with Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongings were arrested by police, state governor Julio León Heredia wrote on Twitter.

If this report is true, and the accident was caused by people trying to commit a robbery, this could be charged as felony murder. Or would be in the United States. Whether Venezuela’s legal system would handle it the same is unclear, but most countries do consider deaths caused in furtherance of a felony — especially when the means employed to carry out the felony are likely to cause serious injury or death — to be the most serious of crimes. It could be charged as a capital offense in the United States, subject to the death penalty where applicable. Venezuela does not have the death penalty, but it would nonetheless be among the more serious crimes that could be prosecuted.

Unconscionable. Simply horrible. It’s murder.

 

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.