The M’s stepped up today for a good outing against the Rangers, smushing the Texans 7-1. It was a good pitching day with starter Nate Karns going 4.2 innings, allowing three hits, three walks and one earned run, while striking out seven. Pay attention to the Karns outings vs. the Paxton outings. They will matter.
But even better news coming from the bullpen is the quality performances by young right-handers Tony Zych and Jonathan Aro. Zych allowed a hit and struck out two over his inning of work. Aro was even better striking out all three batters he faced.
Punctuating everything was an appearance by the Boomstick. Nelson Cruz pounded a home run in the second inning for his first dinger in what has been a lackluster spring to date.
A nice win, even if it is the dog days of spring training . Anxious to see what things look like as we near the final week of the Cactus League season. Still, positive action by Karns and the bullpen is encouraging.
M’s re-sign Justin DeFratus
Baseball TradeRumors announced Justin DeFratus was re-signed to a minor league deal. Released yesterday, DeFratus continues his work with the M’s without taking up a spot on the 40 man roster.
Ken Williams vs. Adam LaRoche
I’m not sure what to make of this or how big a deal it may be. But, Adam LaRoche, due $13 million in 2016 retired suddenly when vice president Ken Williams let the veteran DH know that his son 14-year old Drake LaRoche would need to minimize his presence in the clubhouse. Shortly thereafter, LaRoche announced his retirement. The younger LaRoche is widely admired for his common sense, maturity, and work ethic around the ballyard, attracting the notice of former teammate Bryce Harper.
While clearly this matter is clearly between White Sox management and LaRoche, the players and even manager of Robin Ventura are not on the same page as Williams. Left-handed pitching star Chris Sale laced into Williams with a profanity filled tirade. The players were on the verge of a boycott of Wednesday’s spring training game until Ventura convinced them otherwise.
It is clear the majority of White Sox players feel this is a breach of faith with LaRoche. Further, the feeling that this comes from the front office, over the head of manager Ventura and General Manager Rick Hahn, would be like a similar decision made by Kevin Mather or Howard Lincoln. What is clear is that with all the off-season moves made by Hahn to challenge for the AL Central, this is a a helluva way to begin the season. There are several different stories worth reading to gain some perspective on this issue.
First, Sale shares his view with Bob Nightengale of USA Today on the betrayal he feels by Williams. It isn’t pretty. Jim Caple of ESPN offers a balanced view of former major leaguers inhabiting clubhouses while their fathers played, including thoughts by Aaron Boone (Bob) and Eduardo Perez (Tony) and that teams set policies that players have to follow. Jay Jaffe at SI.com probed the situation a little more deeply among White Sox players and the front office. Finally, LaRoche offered his version of events, explaining clearly his views on the White Sox promises to him and his own values vis a vis commitments to his family and baseball.
Bullpen issues are bad, but mutinies are worse.