NL Notes: Price, Mets, Cubs, Frias, Upton

The struggling Reds are hosting this year’s All-Star Game, but the possibility of bad P.R. shouldn’t prevent them from dismissing manager Bryan Price, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Rosenthal notes that owner Bob Castellini likes Price and Jocketty and is wary of an upheaval before the break. But the Reds have played poorly lately, and Price’s occasional bursts of odd behavior (including an infamous profane tirade against the media a few weeks ago) raise questions about whether he’s well suited for the job. The organization has third base coach Jim Riggleman, Triple-A manager Delino DeShields and perhaps roving instructor Barry Larkin as potential replacements. Here’s more from the National League.

  • The Mets have lots of talented young pitching and the Cubs have terrific young position players, and MLB.com’s Jim Duquette proposes several trades the two clubs might make. By far the wildest one (and one Duquette fully acknowledges is vanishingly unlikely) is Matt Harvey for Kris Bryant. The Mets and Cubs’ respective fan bases have pinned their hopes heavily on those two players, so such a trade would be nearly impossible, but it’s fun to think about. The sense here is that the Mets would easily be getting the better of such a deal — Bryant’s bat is rare, to put it mildly, and Harvey is three years closer to free agency and probably also more of an injury risk.
  • Carlos Frias‘ poor performance Sunday shows why the Dodgers are likely to pursue outside starting pitching help, Anthony Witrado of ESPN Los Angeles writes. Frias gave up ten runs, including two homers, over four innings against the Padres, more than doubling his ERA. Frias did pitch reasonably well in four starts before that, but there’s no doubt the Dodgers’ rotation situation is somewhat uncomfortable, due to injuries to Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy.
  • The Padres haven’t performed as well as they’ve hoped, but Justin Upton has been terrific, and the team needs to do everything it can to keep him, Matt Calkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. The Padres’ new ownership did well to open its wallet last winter, but it must continue to show it’s serious about winning. Of course, keeping Upton won’t be easy to do — Upton currently tops MLBTR’s 2015-2016 Free Agent Power Rankings.
  • Cardinals lefty Marco Gonzales will miss a start with Triple-A Memphis on Monday with pectoral muscle tightness, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com writes. Gonzales dealt with the same injury earlier this season. Gonzales hasn’t yet pitched in the big-leagues this season, but as Langosch points out, he’s a key part of the Cardinals’ rotation depth, especially given Adam Wainwright‘s absence.

AL East Notes: Lindgren, Red Sox, Blue Jays

The Yankees promoted reliever Jacob Lindgren to the big leagues this weekend after less than a year in the minors, as Ryan Hatch of NJ.com notes. Lindgren was a second-round draft pick just last June. “Them picking a reliever kind of high, I guess there’s always that chance [of being called up],” Lindgren says. “But I kind of had to pitch my game and show them what I could do.” Lindgren is, of course, right to note that college pitchers chosen early in the draft and used as relievers can make the Majors quite quickly. Another reliever, Brandon Finnegan of the Royals, was the first 2014 draftee to reach the big leagues, and other recent early-round relievers, like Drew Storen and Paco Rodriguez, have taken quick routes to the Majors as well. Lindgren’s dominance in the minors is still worth noting, however — he’s posted a 1.74 ERA, 14.8 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 46 2/3 innings since turning pro. Here’s more from the AL East.

  • Despite an uneven start to their season, the Red Sox have an opportunity to win a flawed AL East division, and they need to take advantage by making a big move, Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald writes. The division will most likely go to the team that does the most to improve itself, says Buckley.
  • On a related note, Michael Silverman of the Herald writes that the AL East generally simply doesn’t have as much talent as it once did, with most of the game’s elite players (Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, and so on) playing elsewhere. The division’s shortstop talent is a microcosm of the lack of star-caliber players in the AL East — the division once boasted players like Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra at shortstop, but now it has the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera, Didi Gregorius and Ryan Goins.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons could be fired if the Blue Jays don’t start winning, Jim Bowden of ESPN writes (Insider-only). Bowden notes that the executives the Jays reportedly sought last offseason to replace business-oriented team president Paul Beeston, like Dan Duquette of the Orioles and Ken Williams of the White Sox, have baseball backgrounds. That might say something about the organization’s level of satisfaction with its on-field product. The Jays have gone heavily after veteran talent in the past several seasons, but they have little to show for it, and they’re currently in last place in what’s been a mediocre division.

MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:

  • Host Jeff Todd welcomed the newly retired Bruce Chen to the latest installment of the MLB Trade Rumors Podcast. The left-hander reflected upon his decision to end a career which spanned 17 MLB seasons. CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney also joined Jeff to discuss the Cubs and their needs as the Trade Deadline nears. A new episode of MLB Trade Rumors Podcast will be released every Thursday and can be accessed on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher.
  • Tim Dierkes revised MLBTR’s 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings. The top four players remained the same (Justin Upton, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Jason Heyward) while Ian Desmond fell three spots to eighth.
  • During a conference call announcing his six-year, $62.5MM contract with the Dodgers, Hector Olivera told Zach Links he had other suitors. “There were five teams that had interest in me [including] San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami,” Olivera said through a translator. “But, in the end, I decided to sign with the Dodgers because I know that this is a great organization.”
  • With Olivera now in the fold, Zach asked Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman whether the signing creates trade possibilities. “I think having as many good players as possible helps you not only in constructing your own roster, but it allows you the opportunity to talk with more teams, If we’re ever complaining about having too much depth then that’s a good problem to have, but we’re certainly not there yet. Adding someone that has a chance to impact the game is obviously always a good thing.
  • With the amateur draft fast approaching, big bonuses dance in the dreams of high draft picks. But, for those taken much later in the draft like Josh Smith (chosen in the 21st round by the Reds in 2010), making ends meet can be just as important as developing your game. Smith recalls for Zach the second jobs he has had to take on, including lugging cement for a pool construction business and coaching the Diamondbacks’ 2014 top selection (16th overall) Touki Toussaint.
  • Jeff asked MLBTR readers whether the Marlins made the right decision in hiring GM Dan Jennings as their new manager. Nearly 65% of you believe the move is destined to fail.
  • Last February, Jeff asked MLBTR readers who will sign Rafael Soriano and more than a quarter of you predicted the Blue Jays. Charlie Wilmoth conducted a follow up with the readership and found the Cubs are now seen as the favorites to sign the reliever.
  • Steve Adams hosted this week’s live chat.
  • Zach assembled the best of the baseball blogosphere for you in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.

Full Story | Comments | Categories: MLBTR Originals

Cafardo On Trade Deadline, Maddux, Tulo

Here are the highlights from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe‘s latest column:

  • The Athletics, Phillies, Brewers, Rockies and Reds could have the best big-league talent on offer at the trade deadline, two executives tell Cafardo. Scott Kazmir is perhaps the top player the Athletics could have available, but there could be others, like Josh Reddick and Billy Butler. The Red Sox, Pirates and Blue Jays also could become sellers unless they play well over the next couple months, Cafardo suggests.
  • Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux would have interest in a managerial job, says Cafardo. In the past, Maddux frequently removed himself from consideration for such jobs because his children were younger and he did not want his family to have to move.
  • Executives believe the Rockies do have interest in trading Troy Tulowitzki, and feel they should have little trouble doing so if they’re willing to pay some of the $113MM remaining on his contract. “I think they’ll be able to move him,” says one GM. “Too good of a player to be out there without someone taking him.” Tulowitzki is hitting just .275/.291/.423 in 148 plate appearances and, for whatever it’s worth, his defensive numbers in a small sample so far this season aren’t nearly as strong as they typically are.

Minor Moves: Ka’aihue, Roe, Bianchi

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The Nationals have released first baseman Kila Ka’aihue, according to the International League transactions page. The former Royal and Athletic was hitting .194/.314/.328 with Triple-A Syracuse after playing in Japan in 2014 and part of 2013. Ka’aihue has hit .221/.305/.382 in parts of four big-league seasons, the last of which came last year.
  • The Orioles have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty Chaz Roe and optioned lefty T.J. McFarland to Triple-A Norfolk. To clear space for Roe on their 40-man roster, they moved lefty Wesley Wright to the 60-day DL. The Orioles played 13 innings against the Marlins yesterday, so Roe gave them a fresh arm. He pitched two scoreless innings today. The 28-year-old had a 2.19 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 24 2/3 innings for Norfolk.
  • The Red Sox have placed Shane Victorino on the 15-day DL with a calf strain and selected the contract of utilityman Jeff Bianchi. Bianchi played parts of three seasons with the Brewers from 2012 through 2014, playing second, third, shortstop and both outfield corners. He had been hitting .302/.373/.340 in 61 plate appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket.

Huntington On Kang, Harrison, Kingham

Here are the highlights of Pirates GM Neal Huntington’s Sunday chat with the media, via Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • The Pirates acquired versatile infielders Jung-Ho Kang and Sean Rodriguez to give Clint Hurdle more tactical options and to allow the team to be more “proactive” about resting starters, Huntington says. Both players have, perhaps, been more useful than the Pirates anticipated — Kang is hitting .304/.369/.435 and has lately worked his way into regular duty, and Rodriguez has seen plenty of time at first base as well as the outfield corners.
  • Third baseman Josh Harrison struggled early in the season after signing an extension in Spring Training, but he’s hit well recently, batting .488/.511/.714 in his last two weeks before today’s game against the Mets. “It looks like a guy that’s having fun playing the game again,” says Huntington. “Just showing up with energy every day and trying to do everything in his power to help a club win versus trying to justify.”
  • Prospect Nick Kingham has yet to get a second opinion for his elbow injury, two weeks after it was reported he was going to seek one. “Nick chose a very busy doctor. Our hope is to get him in this week, and we’ll have an update after that,” Huntington says. Kingham has not pitched since May 6, but the severity of his injury is still unclear. He was set to provide the Pirates with rotation depth this season. MLB.com ranks him the sixth-best prospect in a strong Bucs system.

Brewers Notes: Draft, Braun, Gomez, Lucroy, Melvin

The Brewers will have the 15th overall selection in next month’s amateur draft and, while there is no consenus top pick, Milwaukee is confident it can land an impact player, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think a little bit more is being made out of (the volatility),” said Vice President of Amateur Scouting Ray Montgomery. “I think the draft has good depth, if it lacks what people might consider a more obvious first pick, or first couple, compared to drafts in the past. But the depth of the draft and the pool of talent, I think, is good.” Montgomery will be overseeing the draft for the Brewers for the first time and does not feel any extra pressure with GM Doug Melvin contemplating a rebuild. “I don’t think Doug’s worried about it, so it’s certainly nothing for me to worry about,” Montgomery told Haudricout. “In terms of adding talent, it’s our job to acquire the best available players, and they’ll work their way through the system the way they should, based on each individual time line.

Here’s more on the Brewers from Haudricourt’s colleague Todd Rosiak, who hosted a recent online chat:

  • Rosiak thinks the Brewers would like to trade Ryan Braun, but it is highly unlikely they will agree to absorb any of the money he’s owed. As a result, their trading partners would certainly be limited to big-market teams, and there would likely be questions regarding Braun’s thumb and his past PED issues.
  • The Brewers have many trade candidates (as explored by MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth), but Rosiak feels Jean Segura may not be one of them. The shortstop provides the team with both cost certainty and growth potential. With the pending retirement of third baseman Aramis Ramirez and the dearth of free agent options, Milwaukee could slide Segura over to the hot corner next year.
  • Rosiak does not see Carlos Gomez re-signing with the Brewers when his contract expires after the 2016 season, so trading him now will maximize their return and the longer they wait the less his value becomes.
  • The Brewers could also receive a massive haul for catcher Jonathon Lucroy, but will most likely rebuff any offers because the franchise does not have a ready replacement.
  • It is telling neither owner Mark Attanasio nor Doug Melvin have been commenting publicly on the GM’s future in the organization. Rosiak envisions a scenario where Melvin is promoted to president and a new general manager is hired.
  • The Brewers lost their edge under Ron Roenicke despite his reputation as a player’s manager. Rosiak notes, in most situations, a looser leash winds up choking the skipper resulting in his dismissal.

 


Kyuji Fujikawa Clears Waivers, Now A Free Agent

MAY 24: The Rangers have announced Fujikawa has cleared unconditional waivers and is now a free agent.

MAY 22: The Rangers have placed Fujikawa on unconditional release waivers, tweets John Blake, the club’s executive vice president of communications. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that Fujikawa wasn’t interested in pitching at Triple-A and was therefore granted his release.

MAY 17: The Rangers have designated Kyuji Fujikawa for assignment, according to John Blake of the Texas Rangers (on Twitter). Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports the Rangers could not option Fujikawa to the minors without his consent before June 15 and the right-hander had indicated to the team he did not intend to accept such an option.

Fujikawa, 35 in July, has appeared in just two games for Texas this season and didn’t have a great amount of success. In a combined 1 2/3 innings, he allowed three earned runs. He fared a little better better in eleven combined minor-league appearances this season. In 11 outings (ten at Triple-A, one at Double-A), the veteran pitched to a 4.35 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 7.8 BB/9.

The Rangers signed the reliever back in December to a one-year deal worth $1MM plus incentives. The contract also included a club option for $2MM that can be bought out for a modest $100K. Fujikawa threw only 25 innings between 2013 and 2014, with two stints sandwiched around a Tommy John procedure and rehab. The former Cub has never been a strong ERA buy, but he does own career averages of 10.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.

The Rangers now have ten days to trade, release, or outright Fujikawa to the minor leagues. The reliever is now is joined in DFA Limbo by Kevin Gregg, Nick MassetStolmy Pimentel, and Bruce Chen.  You can keep track of everyone’s status using MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Rangers Sign Jared Burton To Minor League Contract

The Rangers have signed right-hander Jared Burton to a minor league contract, tweets John Blake, the club’s executive vice president of communications. The 33-year-old will report to Triple-A Round Rock.

The Yankees signed the client of Pro Agents, Inc.’s Dave Pepe to a minor league deal in February, but released him a month later so as to avoid paying Burton, who was an Article XX(B) free agent, a $100K retention bonus to remain in the organization. Three days later, the Yankees re-signed Burton only to release him for good May 16.

After enjoying strong seasons in 2012-13 with the Twins (particularly in 2012), Burton regressed in 2014 as his K/9 rate dipped to 6.5, his BB/9 rate rose to 3.5, and both his ground-ball rate rate (38.5%) and fastball velocity deteriorated (92.9 mph in 2012; 91.5 in 2014). Burton, however, still possesses an effective split-finger changeup (which he’s calls a “splangeup” ). Burton, who suffered a strained lat muscle during Spring Training, made only four appearances in the Yankee organization this season allowing three earned runs in six innings while striking out seven and walking four.


NL West Notes: Chavez, Weiss, LeMahieu, Uribe

There has been a great deal of trade talk surrounding A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir, but the Dodgers could have interest in another member of Oakland’s rotation, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. The Dodgers could circle back to Jesse Chavez this summer, a right-hander they discussed with Oakland in the offseason. The Dodgers could use pitching reinforcements and the A’s own the worst record in baseball, so there could be a match there between now and the end of July.

Here’s more from the NL West:

  • Some might wonder if Walt Weiss is on the hot seat given the Rockies‘ woes, but GM Jeff Bridich says that’s not the case. “There’s no issue there,” Bridich said, according to Nick Groke of The Denver Post. “Throwing around blame is a very dangerous thing to do. The manager and the coaches don’t step on the field and take a bat and step into the batter’s box, and they don’t take the ball to stand on the mound.” Knowing he has the confidence of his GM, Weiss says he does not feel any heat, “This is my third season, and we haven’t won. And I’m sure people ask about my security here, I’m sure that becomes a topic. But I have to tell you, honestly, I have zero fear of losing my job.” The Rockies enter play today at 16-25, the fourth-worst mark in MLB.
  • One bright spot for the Rockies this season has been the play of second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders is championing to make the NL All-Star team.
  • Juan Uribe could be the odd man out when Hector Olivera is ready to join the Dodgers, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group.
  • The Dodgers‘ best-pitched game of the season didn’t come from one of their high-priced top line starters or one of their multi-millionaire free agent pickups. Instead, it came from Mike Bolsinger, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks by the Dodgers’ new regime in exchange for cash considerations, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes.  Through four starts, Bolsinger now boasts a 0.71 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
  • After a 10-5 start, the Padres have gone 10-18 and former U-T San Diego writer Bill Center (in a piece for MLB.com) wonders if it’s time for San Diego to act with urgency and shake up things.

Giants Designate Casey McGehee For Assignment

The Giants have announced they have designated third baseman Casey McGehee for assignment. McGehee was acquired from the Marlins last December for a pair of minor leaguers to replace Pablo Sandoval. The Giants have named Matt Duffy (.299/.330/.402 in 105 plate appearances) their new starting third baseman.

The 2014 Comeback Player of the Year has struggled during his stay by the bay slashing .200/.254/.282 while grounding into more double plays (a league leading 12) than RBIs (nine) in 118 trips to the plate.

I feel I’ve got a lot left in the tank,” McGehee told reporters including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). “I’m pretty sure yesterday was not the last baseball game I’ve played.

The Giants now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright McGehee to the minors. Giants GM Bobby Evans told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, he hopes McGehee will accept an assignment to Triple-A because “he was comeback player for a reason.” McGehee says he will consult with his family on his next step and will not rush into a decision, reports Schulman, because “that’s not a decision I’m capable of making in 10 minutes.” There is also a financial component to McGehee’s decision. He and the Giants avoided arbitration in February by agreeing to a $4.8MM contract, approximately $3.5MM of which remains due. McGehee would forfeit that salary if he passes through waivers and declines an outright assignment.

McGehee’s DFA could also have implications for Travis Ishikawa, who is eligible to be reinstated tomorrow from his rehab assignment. Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com notes the Giants, in the middle of a stretch of 17 games in 16 days, have opted to go with a 13-man pitching staff with the recall of right-hander Hunter Strickland and there may not be room to add Ishikawa. Baggarly writes the Giants may be forced to designate the first baseman/outfielder, who was the hero of last year’s NLCS.


Cubs Return Anthony Varvaro To Red Sox

The Red Sox announced that pitcher Anthony Varvaro has been returned to the club. The right-hander was designated for assignment by the Red Sox in late April and claimed off waivers by the Cubs days later.

Varvaro, it turns out, has a torn right flexor tendon and will undergo surgery Tuesday ending his season, reports Cormac Gordon of the Staten Island Advance.com.

The tendon is partially torn off the bone, but the elbow is stable otherwise,” the 30-year-old told Gordon. “I was worried I might need another Tommy John surgery. That’s not the case. This is the best possible outcome.

Rehabilitation is expected to last six months, so Varvaro could resume throwing in November. The Red Sox say they were unaware of how severe the injury was, so both clubs agreed that it “would be appropriate to return Varvaro to the Red Sox for placement on the disabled list in accordance with the major league rules.”

The Red Sox designated Varvaro for assignment on April 29th and the Cubs claimed him off waivers on May 3rd.  Three days later, the Cubs DFA’d Varvaro and subsequently outrighted him.

Varvaro posted a 2.74 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 48 percent with the Braves from 2012-13. With the Red Sox this year, Varvaro appeared in nine games and totaled 11 innings. The five runs he surrendered aren’t particularly concerning, but his velocity was down from an average of 92.5 mph in 2014 to 91.1 mph in 2015. That, combined with the 14 hits and six walks he yielded in his 11 innings, likely aided in his swift exit from the Boston organization.  Now, for the time being, he’s back in Boston.


Reds Pitcher Making Ends Meet With Second Job

When you think of the lifestyle of a professional baseball player, you think of big houses and Olympic-sized swimming pools.  You rarely think of those players building pools in someone’s backyard.  Reds pitcher Josh Smith has had to do just that to make ends meet as he chases his big league dream.

Players taken in the early rounds of the draft typically get sizable signing bonuses and don’t have to moonlight at a second job.  Smith’s journey to the minors, however, was decidedly different.

The right-hander cut his teeth at Lipscomb University as the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation next to ace Rex Brothers.  Brothers, the Friday night pitcher, would go out and throw in front of scores of major league scouts.  By Saturday, when Smith would take the mound, the scouts were off to check out their next prospect.  Smith may not have had the same upside as Brothers, but he was a very strong pitcher in his own right and deserved far more attention from scouts, in the estimation of agent Alex Esteban.  Brothers became a first round selection of the Rockies while Smith wound being selected in the 21st round by Cincinnati in 2010.  Brothers got a signing bonus just shy of seven figures upon signing his deal.  Smith got roughly $1K.

Bonuses for later round picks are extremely low and the minors don’t pay very well from year-to-year either.  Smith, who earns less than $10K per year in salary, quickly figured out that he needed to take on a full-time job in the offseason.  Longtime pitching coach Tracy Valentine, a former minor leaguer himself, also ran a pool construction business and had a need for a physically strong employee who could haul bulky, cumbersome bags of cement from the truck to backyards.  That position, while greatly appreciated by the pitcher, didn’t give Smith the hours or pay that he needed to make ends meet.

I don’t need side cash,” Smith told Valentine. “I need a job.

With that, Smith began actually building the pools and earning a bit more cash.  To line his pockets further, Smith also helped coach some of Valentine’s pupils, including Diamondbacks 2014 first-round choice Touki Toussaint.

He came to us when he was like 14 or 15 and I was like, ‘Who is this kid?,‘” Smith said. “Back then he was a shortstop and I asked him if he ever thought about pitching and he said no. I told him, if you ever change your mind, let me know. I told him that he needed to be a pitcher because he had a cannon.”

Smith still helps to guide young arms and build pools in the offseason, even though he has reached Triple-A and is knocking on the door of the Reds’ major league roster.  His particular offseason job might be unique, but it’s a lifestyle that is not at all uncommon for minor leaguers, Smith says.

My old college teammate Caleb Joseph is in the bigs now with the Orioles, but when he was in the minors, he would come home and work at the local country club as a caddy and a waiter.  Some guys do construction, some work in restaurants.  Everyone does what they need to do in the offseason to make ends meet,” Smith explained.

In April, it became evident that Smith’s hard work both on and off the field was paying off as the Reds called him up to the majors.

My manager, Delino DeShields, called me and said, ‘Pack your stuff, you’re meeting the Reds in Chicago.’  I didn’t believe him, but he told me he’d never pull a joke like that and that he wished he could see my face when I heard the news,” Smith said. “I was actually playing Call Of Duty with a bunch of my Louisville teammates and I told them on the headsets that I had to go and get myself packed.”

The funny thing is,” Esteban added. “He was playing with like 100 other teenagers who had no idea what any of them were talking about.”

When Smith landed in Chicago, Esteban was there to pick him up from the airport and drive him to meet the team.  The right-hander had a million things going through his mind on his way to the hotel.  What’s it going to be like to pitch in a big league game?  How will I adjust to playing in front of tens of thousands of people in the stands?  But, there was one pressing concern that stood out above the others.

I was wondering,” Smith said to Esteban. “Do you think they’ll put me in the video game?

Unfortunately, Smith didn’t make it into the video game or the actual game during that stint.  The Reds sent Smith back down to the minors after the three-game set in Chicago without having thrown a pitch.  Still, the experience was a milestone for the starter and he knows that he’ll get another opportunity when the Reds are in need of a long reliever or spot starter.  Once he gets to the majors and sticks on the roster, he could wind up with a big swimming pool to call his own.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Angels, Melancon, A’s

On this date in 1986, Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels decided to imitate another tyrannical New York boss.  In the show’s season finale, Michaels fired a drunk Billy Martin after he slurred one of his lines (as a part of a sketch, of course), as Leo Panetta of NationalPastime.com writes. In retaliation, Martin set fire to Michaels’ dressing room at the end of the show to close out the season.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Indians Designate Brett Hayes For Assignment

The Indians have designated Brett Hayes for assignment, according to MLB.com’s transactions page.  In a related move, fellow catcher Yan Gomes has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.

As Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer outlined last week, the Indians had to choose between Hayes and Roberto Perez in order to make room for Gomes.  Neither has hit for much in terms of average, but Hayes has shown more power in a smaller sample, whereas Perez has shown more in terms of on-base skills, walking 20 times in 104 plate appearances.

Hayes, 31, appeared in 14 games for the Indians this season.  In a small sample size of 36 games, Hayes slashed .156/.229/.438 and hit three home runs.  Over parts of seven big league seasons with the Marlins, Royals, and Indians, Hayes owns a lifetime .205/.250/.359 slash line.  He has fared better over the years at the Triple-A level, hitting .253/.294/.420, also over a seven season period.

Hayes now joins Erik Cordier, Kyuji Fujikawa, Phil Coke, Todd Redmond, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in DFA limbo. To keep up with the status of every player that gets DFA’d, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.