MLBits: Can LAD Get Machado? Nats Nightmare, Brewers Relief Record, Bauer on Social Media, More

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MLBits: Can LAD Get Machado? Nats Nightmare, Brewers Relief Record, Bauer on Social Media, More

Chicago Cubs

Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy!

The weather outside has got me in a mood, especially because my fiancée asked me if I wanted to go to the Cubs game tonight, and I’d love to! … If I weren’t sick four days ahead of my trip to Austin. Grumble. I’ll be watching this one on TV, while she goes to the game with her friends. Doesn’t seem right.

  • Yesterday, we learned that star Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager will miss the rest of the 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. But now that some of the shock has worn off, it’s fair to wonder … who’ll replace him? Well, as I’m sure you know, you pretty much can never replace one of the best players in baseball internally, but you can make trades and CBS Sports runs down some of the most interesting available options. At the top of the list, you’ll find Manny Machado, as we discussed yesterday, but with a really big caveat … what about that pesky luxury tax threshold?
  • As I’m sure you remember, the Dodgers were among the big-spenders who sat out free agency this winter as they tried to get back under the threshold before the upcoming free agent bonanza. According to Mike Axisa, they probably have around $15.5M in space, which could fit Machado’s 2018 salary ($16M) if they acquire him later in the year (mid-season traded salaries are prorated), but that would leave *very* little room for in-season bonuses and pick-ups elsewhere.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
  • Fortunately for the Dodgers, the Orioles are probably not interested in making a trade happen right now (Orioles Exec. VP Dan Duquette once said that you want to give your team until Memorial Day, at the very least), but still. Even if they wait all the way until the deadline, the trade might ultimately force them over the top. Of course, the Dodgers could always throw the luxury tax threshold (and attendant penalties) out the window … but I strongly believe they will not – especially not with Clayton Kershaw able to opt-out, a huge free agent class, and a *clear* competitive window – not to mention the fact that it would’ve made sitting out this winter pointless. So, then, you could see the Dodgers try to pair a bad contract with tons of prospects to make a deal happen. Other theoretically available options listed by CBS include Elvis Andrus, Marcus Semien, Eduardo Nunez, and Alcides Escobar.
  • In other crumbling dreams among National League front-runners … the fourth place Washington Nationals record (13-16) puts them 5.5 games out of first place, behind the Phillies, Braves, and Mets – they have just three more wins than the MARLINS. And according to FanGraphs, their odds of reaching the postseason dropped from 89.3% before the season started to 72.2% after yesterday. Their chances of winning the NL East, meanwhile, dropped from 77.8% preseason to just 55.4% today. It’s been a rough start for them.
  • But, hey, maybe it’s about to get a little better. For example, second baseman Daniel Murphy, who has yet to make his Major League debut this season (knee), was seen around the Nats clubhouse yesterday, after previously spending time in extended Spring Training, and could be nearing a rehab assignment. Nats Manager Dave Martinez mentioned that Murphy would be meeting with doctors today and that he feels good so far. When he does begin his Minor League rehab assignment, of course, it’ll have to be a pretty lengthy one, given how little he’s played in the last six months. Meanwhile, Anthony Rendon is “on the verge” of a rehab assignment, himself, after fouling a ball off his left foot nearly 20 days ago. Apparently, Rendon might skip the rehab assignment, but Martinez seems to see the benefits.
  • After getting swept in four by the Cubs over the weekend, the Brewers had a bit of fun last night, as reliever Josh Hader set a (fairly specific, but still impressive) Major League record:

  • I pretty much always disagree with the things Trevor Bauer has to say on the internet, but I never really minded the fact that he was saying them (hey, it’s his life) … until now. In response to an accusation that Astros’ pitchers are doctoring/pine-tarring their baseballs to get more spin on the ball, Bauer chimed in:

  • After this tweet, Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. jumped into the conversation saying that jealously wasn’t a good look on Bauer, to which Bauer doubled-down on his accusation:

  • So, Bauer believes the Astros are doctoring/pine-tarring the ball, and he’s OK with it, but he’s mad at MLB for not doing something about it? K. Everyone has the right to say what they want to an extent, but you just can’t be surprised feel the push back when you accuse people of cheating with no real evidence beyond “they’re getting a lot of spin.”
  • Major Leauge Baseball got a little progressive this year, when they decided to give a slate of games to Facebook, so fans could stream the games no matter where they were. And then the internet did what it does and spammed the live-game message board with porn ads. What a world we live in.
  • Also, what an era we’re in:

  • More strikeouts than hits. Wow. For what it’s worth, the Cubs 21.6% strikeout rate this March/April is lower than it was in 2017 (22.9) and in 2015 (23.8%). In 2016, the Cubs struck out just 19.0% of the time in March/April.
  • Baseball Savant has created some individual player pages with a ton of new, much more easily-digestible information. Check out Max Scherzer’s, for example, and learn that he’s allowed seven barrels already this year, which is his highest barrel% since Statcast begun.
  • On Monday, former MLB player and first/current MLB Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean spoke at a school in Chicago about his experiences as a then-closeted gay man in MLB, and how kids can work together to “shred hate,” the nomenclature used for the anti-bullying campaign. “In a minute, we can change the culture and try to make it cool to be a leader and to help somebody or to choose kindness instead of make fun of them or attack them in a cyber way,” Bean said. “For me, communication is the core … and the more kids we can get in front of, the more we start to change the dialogue.”
  •  Earlier today at Baseball is Fun, I sent out a trivia question, asking who, after Barry Bonds, leads MLB with 688 intentional walks, and the crowd got it right:



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami