Here are several go-to links to make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- Via BustaPozee at Crawfish Boxes: The Astros (39-83) canned skipper Brad Mills, hitting coach Mike Barnett, and first base coach Bobby Meacham on Saturday evening. First-year general manager Jeff Luhnow has already cleaned house on the big-league roster, as Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts illustrates.
- The New York Daily News reports on a failed web-based scheme concocted to innoculate Melky Cabrera from being suspended after testing positive for a banned substance:
But instead of exonerating Cabrera of steroid use, the Internet stunt trapped him in a web of lies. Amid the information-gathering phase of his doping case last month, his cover story unraveled quickly, and what might have been a simple suspension has attracted further attention from federal investigators and MLB, the Daily News has learned. . . .
The scheme began unfolding in July as Cabrera and his representatives scrambled to explain a spike in the former Yankee’s testosterone levels. Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own.
“There was a product they said caused this positive,” one source familiar with the case said of Cabrera’s scheme. “Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly.”
Nunez told The News Saturday that he was “accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows,” regarding the fake website, adding that the Levinsons were not involved in the website in any way. They also adamantly deny any knowledge of the scheme or having been involved with it.
- Since Johan Santana on June 1 became the first pitcher in Mets history to throw a no-hitter, his season has fallen apart. After giving up a grand slam to Michael Morse and a two-run blast to Bryce Harper at Nationals Park on Friday night, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York revealed that Santana (4.85 ERA, 4.03 xFIP), who had just become the first pitcher in Mets history to give up six or more earned runs in five consecutive starts, may get shut down for the balance of the season.
- Speaking of shutdowns, Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheehan offers advice to the Nationals as to how to leverage Stephen Strasburg’s (2.91 ERA, 2.81 xFIP) remaining innings.
- Meanwhile, Sheehan’s SI colleague Jay Jaffe gives his two cents to the Padres’ new owners, including: “Resist the temptation to move the Petco Park fences.”
- Big League Stew’s David Brown chats up Josh Reddick (.345 wOBA) about that so-good-so-good-so-good-so-good melody that gets played every friggin’ day at Fenway Park:
DB: You’re not in Boston anymore, so can you give your honest opinion of “Sweet Caroline”?
JR: Overrated. By far. I was saying that even before I left Boston [laughs]. You just hear it too many times in your career in that organization. All the way from low-A to the big leagues. I think we just get tired of it. Every eighth inning. But the fans love it.
- Grant Brisbee of SB Nation acknolwedges that he was way off in an earlier assumption about how manager Ron Washington would utilize top prospect Mike Olt (4-for-24) in the Rangers lineup.
- The Platoon Advantage’s Cee Angi is no fan of the six-man rotation. In addition to the practice “taking starts from the rich and giving them to the poor, often to the detriment of a team’s record,” Angi notes that it limits in-game roster flexibility:
Deploying any six-man rotation means conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the moving parts of a roster. Teams that use a six-man rotation typically carry 13 pitchers. If you’re a percentage person, that’s 52% of a given roster as pitchers, with 24% of them working just once every six days. In a perfect world, that sixth starter will also pitch some innings in relief, but that’s rarely the case. It’s undeniable that there is a push towards maintaining an arsenal of specialized pitchers, but the six-man handicaps strategic options. There are a finite number of roster positions that no amount of shuffling can supplement. If you have an extra starter, you have one less bullpen pitcher or bench player. If you choose to have an extra starter and keep a full bullpen, the roster is now limited to just three bench players.
- Chris Creamer of theScore explores the history of memorial patches in baseball. He traces the tradition back to the debut season of the National League, 1876, “when the St. Louis Brown Stockings affixed black crepe (a popular memorial fabric of the Victorian era) to their uniform to honour catcher Tom Miller.”
- Paul Konerko (.384 wOBA) returned from a concussion-induced, seven-day disabled list on Friday evening to hit a home run in his second plate appearance.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!