NL Central Links: Maldonado, Volquez, Walker, Cubs

The Pirates and the Brewers found themselves in the midst of controversy over the weekend as the result of a benches-clearing brawl started by a verbal exchange between Gerrit Cole and Carlos Gomez. However, Martin Maldonado was also involved in the scuffle, landing a punch on Travis Snider, and ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Maldonado will be suspended for five games and fined $2,500 (Twitter links). Maldonado, who is earning $502K this season, will end up losing a little more than $16K as a result of the suspension and fine, which translates to roughly three percent of his salary. The official announcement of all suspensions resulting from the brawl is expected today, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Here’s more from the NL Central…

  •’s Anthony Castrovince examines Edinson Volquez‘s strong start with the Pirates and wonders if he is the next successful reclamation project for pitching coach Ray Searage and special assistant to the GM Jim Benedict. Castrovince runs down many of the techniques that Searage and the Pirates have gone through with Volquez to improve his command and mechanics. He also writes that Francisco Liriano played a large role in Volquez signing with Pittsburgh, as Liriano heavily recruited his fellow Dominican to join the Bucs, telling him it was a perfect place to rebuild his career. (In addition to Liriano, both A.J. Burnett and Mark Melancon have experienced tremendous turnarounds upon arrival in Pittsburgh.)
  • Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review breaks down Neil Walker‘s continually improving approach at the plate, noting his increased contact rates and decreased chase rates over the past few years. Sawchik wonders if Walker’s approach has him on the cusp of emerging as a star-caliber second baseman.
  • Former Cubs coach Dave McKay spoke with Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times and said that both he and former manager Dale Sveum were surprised by their dismissals after two years, as president Theo Epstein had said from the beginning that the coaching staff wouldn’t be evaluated based on performance. Still, McKay praised the organization and Epstein’s rebuild, stating that he had no hard feelings toward the club and praising them for retaining pitching coach Chris Bosio and catching coach Mike Borzello. McKay, a Phoenix-area resident, caught on as a coach with the Diamondbacks this offseason.

36 Responses to NL Central Links: Maldonado, Volquez, Walker, Cubs Leave a Reply

  1. sourbob 1 year ago

    McKay has it wrong. The Cubs didn’t fire him and Sveum because of performance. They fired them because of development. Epstein and company would have watched them lose 90+ games a year consistently if players like Rizzo, Castro, etc. were moving in the right direction. They weren’t.

    • schaddy24 1 year ago

      Exactly. It has also been well documented that Sveum had “performance reviews” with Theo and Jed. The writing was on the wall, Dale must have not be looking hard enough.

    • ChiMike702 1 year ago

      You beat me to it.

    • jb226 1 year ago

      To be fair, though, McKay certainly didn’t deserve to be tagged with that label. He did a good job and I wish that we had kept him around. In fact he was the only coach I really wanted to keep.

      I think it had less to do with McKay personally and more to do with letting the new manager pick his own staff, though.

      • sourbob 1 year ago

        That’s probably fair. I only addressed McKay’s situation in tandem with Sveum’s because that’s how he addressed it. It probably was just him getting shipped out to let Renteria pick his own guys, though.

    • tenncub 1 year ago

      Sveum’s dismissal was, as you say, because of his failure in developing guys that are deemed to be part of the Cubs future, namely Castro and Rizzo. However, I’m still not sure why they let McKay go. After all, anybody that could improve Soriano’s defense that much has to be doing something right. I think they should have kept McKay.

  2. CeeJay33 1 year ago

    Maybe Volquez is using PED’s again like he did 4 years ago. He was suspended for 50 games.

    • sourbob 1 year ago

      The difference in Volzquez’s performance isn’t in any way strength or endurance related, though. It’s a matter of him not missing as badly when he’s outside the zone. Jeff Sullivan did a good piece on this at Fangraphs.

      • CeeJay33 1 year ago

        I am just joking. If anybody is doing good now a days everybody wants to jump on that.

  3. BENT_WOOKIE 1 year ago

    from what I read previously mckay was welcome to come back if the new
    guy wanted him. but he found the dback job first and couldn’t chance it.

  4. jarek redman 1 year ago

    Well worth 3% of your salary.

  5. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 1 year ago

    MLB really needs to take a tougher stance against brawling. Year and and out, the penalties are mere tokens, which is why the problem only seems to get worse.

    • Pete Harnisch 1 year ago

      I find it entertaining. Then again, I have been watching a lot of playoff hockey.

    • oh Hal 1 year ago

      I don’t get the impression they care much. The suspensions don’t correlate to actions. Throwing a punch gets a fine if it lands but not if it misses. Tackling guys is ok too.

      You see the same when pitchers take a chance at ending a players career by throwing a hardball at a guy.

    • Mr Cubbie 1 year ago

      Well, we got instant replay to curtail manager/umpire arguments. Are you suggesting before two players square off, they have to have a sit down with Judge Judy?

      • BlueSkyLA
        BlueSkyLA 1 year ago

        Yeah, that’s exactly what I was suggesting.

    • I’m surprised nothing serious was done after Quentin took out Greinke last year. That was a complete joke and Quentin should’ve been suspended for at least 50 games.

      • BlueSkyLA
        BlueSkyLA 1 year ago

        My sentiments exactly.

        • Fighting is baseball is more trouble than it’s worth. There’s no way to make rules like hockey has since it’s not one on one.

          They should just ban it. Most of the time it’s just a bunch of pushing and it just delays the game and when it’s not, players get curb stomped or severely injured.

  6. Lefty_Orioles_Fan
    Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

    If Searage continues these reclamation projects as well as developing the likes of
    G. Cole. One is going to wonder if he’s Dave Duncan in disguise or he’s a better pitching coach then Duncan.

  7. Eddie Edwards 1 year ago

    I think you meant to say Maldonado landed a sucker punch on Snider

    • CeeJay33 1 year ago

      Just because he connected doesn’t make it a sucker punch. Fighting in that scenario you need to keep your head on a swivel because people are trying to knock your head off. Other players threw punches, but they missed like they normally do. Face to face and punching a guy isn’t a sucker punch. I think other players who threw punches but missed should also be suspended. He was standing up for his player who was getting tackled by two pirates. Snider got what he deserved if he is going to leave the dugout. I like how Cole said he didn’t swear or say anything like that and replays show he dropped an F-Bomb. They all deserve to get suspended. Just some other people should have gotten hit with suspensions.

      • StevePegues 1 year ago

        Who was face-to-face? Weeks was holding Snider when Maldonado– who left the dugout same as Snider, since that seems to be important to you– punched him from his blind side.

        • CeeJay33 1 year ago

          Just like the two pirate players going after Gomez, Weeks and Maldonado were going after Snyder. He got what he deserved. Punch in the eye face to face. Yeah Weeks was involved but that is what happens in brawls. When the two pirates were going after Gomez one didn’t stop because the other person was trying to tackle them. There are no rules, leave the dugout get ready to throw down.

    • AaronAngst 1 year ago

      A “sucker punch” in the middle of a “brawl” is not really a sucker punch. Snider shouldn’t have been on the field. Plus, when you get hit in eye, it’s hard to call that anything but a “punch.”

      • StevePegues 1 year ago

        “Snider shouldn’t have been on the field.” And the guy who punched him should?

        Snider was being held back by Weeks. Maldonado punched him from the side; they weren’t squared off against each other by any stretch of the imagination. Hence: sucker punch. I think you’re being an apologist.

        • Weeks and Maldonado were defending their teammate who was facing a 5 on 1 with the Pirates and had already been knocked to the ground. Snider was still going after Gomez when Weeks grabbed him and twisted him around right into Maldonado’s punch.

          Honestly, Snider got everything he deserved and then some. He was the one that came in looking for a big ol’ fight. He actually escalated the brawl by strutting before Gomez and saying whatever he said to antagonize Gomez (obvious if you watch the original video (about 3:20 mark)), and then he was the one that tackled Gomez to the ground after Russell Martin’s shove. He got exactly what he wanted; minus the fact that it wasn’t him that landed a clean shot.

        • AaronAngst 1 year ago

          I’m not being an apologist – if Snider hadn’t run out on the field, he wouldn’t have gotten punched in the face. That is a fact. He added to the element when he did so, and he deserved what he got. I’d say the same if the situation were reversed. If you’re going to act like a tough guy, you’d better account for the possibility that you’re going to get hurt. Cole had no place to say anything to Gomez. Gomez exacerbated the situation by overreacting, and Snider… Snider should have stayed on the bench. His career line indicates that may be where he belongs any way.

        • CeeJay33 1 year ago

          If the Pirates don’t run from the dugout the Brewers wouldn’t come out. If the Pirates need all these rules for a brawl then they shouldn’t have left the dugout. Next time I guess they need to call who they are going to go after. Hey I got Snyder, ok then I will go after Martin.

      • StevePegues 1 year ago

        Maldonado left the dugout, same as Snider.

      • Eddie Edwards 1 year ago

        Weeks was holding Snider and Maldonado punched him. How is that not a sucker punch?

  8. Kevin 1 year ago

    95% of these NL Central links NEVER mention the Reds…EVER!!

  9. Mil8Ball 1 year ago

    I wasn’t happy to see Carlos Gomez get 3 games and Snider get less. We could debate all day whether Cole deserved one, but it is pretty clear Snider deserves one worse than Gomez.

    Looking at it all Gomez did was yell back at Cole. The whole thing was finished, Cole was back on the mound and Gomez was angry but controlled. The whole thing blew up when Snider came sprinting off the benched into a totally controlled situation.

    In my honest opinion Gomez deserved 0 games suspended nor does Cole. This was Sniders fault and he is what caused it all.

    As far as Cole being mad at Gomez I don’t get what the big deal was. He watched it for 3 steps and starting a pretty steady jog. He wasn’t show boating like a lot of people seem to think.

    • Gomez definitely deserved a suspension, since he started throwing punches first at Snider. I definitely agree that Snider should have gotten as many if not more games than Gomez though, since his actions incited the brawl and then threw his own punches/shoves.

  10. Please, point out where I was wrong. Ill be waiting.

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