It was on this day in 1941 that Stan Musial played in his first Major League game, beginning what turned into a legendary 22-year career. It could be said that the Cardinals legend was “The Man” from day one, going 2-for-4 in his first game and posting an 1.023 OPS over his first 49 plate appearances in the bigs. That didn’t end up being too far off from the .331/.417/.559 slash line that Musial contributed over his entire career, cementing his place as one of baseball’s all-time greats. Here’s some notes from around the league…
- Chase Utley still enjoys playing but is realistic about the fact that his career is approaching its end, the veteran tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Utley said he has been approaching his career on a year-to-year basis, and acknowledging that while he still has the desire to play, “I know the market nowadays isn’t that friendly to older players. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But I feel personally there’s still plenty of ways I can contribute.” Utley turns 39 in December, and he entered the day with a .234/.324/.406 slash line in 328 PA for the Dodgers, which includes an .806 OPS in 162 PA at Dodger Stadium. While his days as an everyday player are over, Utley has been regarded as a major behind-the-scenes contributor, with teammates and coaches praising his clubhouse leadership.
- The Pirates’ decision to outright Drew Hutchison was simply due to a pitching surplus, GM Neal Huntington told Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other media. “It was more things beyond Drew’s control. We traded for him with the idea that he was a controllable, young starter that could fill a rotation spot for years to come,” Huntington said. “We just also decided this year that the growth and development of our guys put them ahead of him….we felt like we had guys that we wanted to give the innings to at the Major League level ahead of him. Time will tell if that was the right call.” Huntington praised Hutchison and said that cutting ties with him now will give the young righty more time to find another team, rather than waiting until December to be non-tendered.
- Thanks to the strict bonus money cap on international signings in the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are already lining up agreements with international players at younger and younger ages, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. While none of these agreements are technically binding at this point, “teams generally are reluctant to ’raid’ each other’s committed players,” Miller writes, so some deals are being struck years in advance of when these players become eligible to be signed. “Teams are agreeing with players for 2020 now, that’s how far out it is,” Twins VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff said. “Almost all of the best guys for next [July] are locked up already and off the market….It feels like we spend almost as much time trying to find out who’s still available and who’s not as we do going to scout players. And it’s impossible to know what a 13-year-old is going to turn into. Did you know what you would be when you were 13?”