The Dodgers know who the bad guys are
They know, because they employ them and grade them on just how egregious their conduct is in pursuing international free agents. SI.com has a pretty incredible tale, just a year after the Atlanta Braves were severely sanctioned for their wrongdoing in the international market, of FBI investigations aimed to shed light on the messy world of the market for baseball players in Latin America. Former Los Angeles Dodgers Director of Player Development, and current Philadelphia Phillies manager, Gabe Kapler, is the most prominent name linked to the investigation, but the dragnet seems to be getting wider with the involvement of the Justice Department. In the end, MLB is going to keep using the bad behavior of its own teams to justify an international draft. But for now, the fallout from all this will be fascinating to watch unfold.
MLB narrowly escapes Hug-gate in the wild card game
In the 11th inning of Tuesday night’s National League Wild Card game, a peculiar incident took place. With Javy Baez on first, Daniel Murphy on second, and catcher Willson Contreras at the plate, the Chicago Cubs were threatening to break open a game knotted at 1-1. Contreras chopped a grounder to third, and it was fielded cleanly by Colorado Rockies third baseman extraordinaire, Nolan Arenado. Then something strange happened.
Baez was almost to Arenado’s position as he fielded the ball. He backed away for a moment as a delaying tactic, but Arenado wrapped him up in a reciprocated embrace. This resulted in Baez being out, or course, but there still seemed like the potential for a throw from the rubber armed Arenado to try to get the third out at second or first base. Rockies manager, Bud Black, wasn’t terribly happy with all this, thinking that Baez interfered with Arenado, leaving two men on with two outs, instead of the double play that would’ve ended the inning. The stage seemed set for some good, old-fashioned, late night, Wild Card game shenanigans.
Fortunately, the Rockies escaped with no damage, and went on to win, making it a moot point. Either way, further research reveals that this hug was clearly consensual.
While the Cubs are left to wonder what comes next, the Milwaukee Brewers prepare to welcome in the Rockies. Both teams punched their ticket to the NLDS in Wrigley Stadium, a point the Brewers noted in congratulating their next opponent.
Evil Empire vs. Moneyball version 5.0
On Wednesday night, Yankee Stadium will be rocking as the home team welcomes in the Oakland Athletics for their Wild Card matchup. The New York Daily News looks at how the two clubs matched up during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Yankees have opted to go with their young ace-in-training, Luis Severino, over more experienced options like Masahiro Tanaka or J.A. Happ. The reason? The A’s don’t handle the heat well. Meanwhile, the A’s, who have survived a ton of injuries to their starting rotation, look primed to go with a bullpen day to try to take down the Bronx Bombers.
Paul Molitor out as Twins skipper
After four years at the helm, Paul Molitor is out as manager of the Minnesota Twins. When the new front office took over two years ago, they did so with a mandate from ownership to keep Molitor. However, one playoff appearance in four years as manager wasn’t good enough, as a Twins rebuild that was supposed to produce fruit already has gotten stale instead. Molitor was the 2017 AL Manager of the Year. He’s been offered another position in the organization, but that makes four managers fired recently, with possibly more to come. The Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels are all looking for a new skipper this offseason. Joe Girardi will now accept your bids, gentlemen...
Around the horn
Tim Hagerty looks at the wild life and times of famed MLB umpire, Harry “Steamboat” Johnson. Craig Edwards investigates the Dodgers’ “Buehler gambit” in their game 163 against the Rockies. Our old friend, Emily Waldon, has a good piece for the Athletic—paywall warning—on Matt Manning’s high school coaches and how they helped build the Tigers’ right-hander into a future first-round pick.
Baseball is awesome
Kyle Freeland, Timing Variations (two consecutive pitches/overlay).— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 3, 2018
Be a terrible dance partner. pic.twitter.com/QQfJ4RC75O