Jake Diekman
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Royals trade Jake Diekman to Athletics

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The Athletics have acquired lefty reliever Jake Diekman from the Royals for minor league right-hander Ismael Aquino and outfielder Dairon Blanco, the teams announced Saturday.

It figures to be a big get for the Athletics, whose bullpen already ranks second-best in the majors behind that of the Yankees. Diekman, 32, inked a one-year, $2.75 million pact with the Royals back in January, and has since turned in a 4.75 ERA, 5.0 BB/9, 13.6 SO/9, and 0.8 fWAR over 41 2/3 innings of relief. Through Friday, his 63 strikeouts rank seventh-most among qualified relievers in the American League.

Aquino, 20, signed a minor league contract with the A’s in 2016 and is currently working through an assignment with the rookie-level AZL Athletics Green. He’s logged 10 appearances so far in 2019 with a 4.58 ERA, 5.6 BB/9, and 10.2 SO/9 across 17 2/3 innings.

Blanco, 26, signed an agreement with the Athletics during the 2017 offseason. The outfielder made his Double-A debut in 2019, batting .276/.342/.468 with seven homers, 27 stolen bases (in 34 chances), and an .811 OPS through his first 334 plate appearances of the season.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that the A’s ‘do not figure to stop with Diekman’ and have explored the possibility of adding another starting pitcher to their ranks. Both the Mets’ Zack Wheeler and Reds’ Tanner Roark are currently on their radar, though they’ll have competition for both with the trade deadline right around the corner. This is the second trade the Athletics have orchestrated with the Royals after exchanging infielder Kevin Merrell for right-hander Homer Bailey earlier this month.

Larry Walker to wear a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

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I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.

While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.

There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.

Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.

Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.

Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice.  And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.