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Good morning baseball fans!
Prospect call-up alert! The Cubs have promoted catching prospect Willson Contreras to the big leagues. The 24-year-old hit .350 with a .439 on-base percentage in 239 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Iowa.
David Wright had surgery for a herniated disk in his neck, and there is no timetable for him to return.
Buying low on an aging star has been a disaster for teams recently.
Of course, the past is no guarantee of future results, and so maybe the team that takes on the majority of Ryan Braun‘s contract this summer will fare better than other recent teams that have tried this trick. But if you look at the current leaderboards, who is the best performing player in 2016 that got traded in a deal where the seller agreed to pay down a good chunk of a long-term contract in order to make the deal happen? As best as I can tell, it’s Melvin Upton Jr, who was dumped on the Padres — note the theme here — in the Craig Kimbrel trade. The Braves aren’t explicitly paying any of Upton’s contract, but they did take Carlos Quentin‘s contract back in the trade, and gave up a positive-value Kimbrel at a talent discount in order to move Upton, so they surrendered value to get the contract off the books, even though they aren’t writing checks to San Diego to cover Upton’s deal.
But when a 31 year old hitting .246/.301/.411 is the best producer of a a group, you know the group has some problems. In reality, the guys who have had their contracts paid down to create trade value have been miserable failures this year, and a team thinking about making this kind of gamble on a guy like Braun might want to remember how this plan has worked out with Tulowitzki, Kemp, and Fielder. Or maybe even James Shields. If the seller is so anxious to get rid of their aging former-star that they’ll pay you to take the guy, it might be time to consider whether they know something that you don’t, and are attempting to get off the train right before it wrecks.
Here is a roundup of news from around the National League Central.
For veteran players, this is a stressful time of the season.
Glen Perkins has a torn labrum and will miss the rest of the season.
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is no longer a speed demon, but he still runs the bases well.
That has not stopped him from being a good baserunner. Werth has not had a negative baserunning runs (from FanGraphs — a compare-to-zero-as-average stat) value since 2002, his first year in the bigs as a September callup. He had only 53 plate appearances that season. Werth had a baserunning runs as high as 6.1 as recently as 2014, when he was 35 years old.
This is definitely a skill. Looking at the baserunning runs leaderboard for currently active hitters, Werth's 40.7 runs above average is 14th (out of 249), right between Elvis Andrus and Melvin Upton, Jr. Werth does not really make mistakes, and he is pretty decent at taking the extra base. The league average has hovered around 39-40 percent for the past few years, and Werth's career rate is 43 percent. Just a little above average, but that’s another data point showing that Werth is a worthy baserunner even though he is out of his base-stealing prime.
Werth’s had some injuries sap some of his power over the past few years (he’s average only 111 games per season from 2012-2015), but hey — he can still run.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1967, the Tigers and Athletics play a nine-hour and five-minute doubleheader, the longest in game time in the American League ever.