In a piece for The Players’ Tribune, Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena discusses his dramatic defection from Cuba as a 16-year-old and the emotions behind his return to his home country last year as part of a MLBPA goodwill tour with other Cuban players. Here’s some news from around the NL Central…
- The Cardinals should be punished beyond just a fine for the computer breach scandal involving the Astros’ player evaluation database, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan opines. Even a substantial fine might not be enough of a deterrent for a wealthy team like the Cards, so Passan believes that Major League Baseball needs to take away future draft picks, or funds from the Cardinals’ amateur draft or international signing pools.
- Tony Sanchez tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he wasn’t surprised when the Pirates designated him for assignment earlier this week. “I dug my own grave. When I started having throwing issues, I knew they lost trust in me. And if you can’t trust your catcher, you can’t play him,” Sanchez said. The catcher was the fourth overall pick of the 2009 draft but has yet to deliver on that promise in the majors; Sanchez has a .259/.303/.378 line over 155 plate appearances since 2013. As Sanchez noted, he also had trouble throwing out baserunners at the both the big league and Triple-A level.
- The signing of Neftali Feliz indicates that the Pirates still put a premium on hard-throwing arms, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Bucs’ average fastball velocity has increased every season since Neal Huntington took over was GM, culminating in a league-leading 94mph average in 2015. Feliz is also another investment for the Pirates bullpen, as Sawchik notes that the club is projected to be spending about a quarter of its payroll (roughly $23.7MM) on five relievers.