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Good morning baseball fans!
Baltimore added some depth to their bullpen, bringing back old friend Tommy Hunter.
Here is a roundup of news from around the National League West.
During his retirement tour, David Ortiz is doing something rather shocking.
Most striking, however, is the lack of decline that Ortiz has shown in this final season when compared to the rest of his career. We know he's in incredible pain, because he tells us he is, but he's playing nearly as well as he ever has. A full-season fWAR of 4.7 would be the fourth-best of his career, while the fWARs of the other players who completed a season at 40 or older were, on average, the 15th-best of their respective careers. Similarly, Ortiz's wRC+ would be the third-best of his career, behind only his 2007 and 2012 (which itself was shortened by injury, and so perhaps shouldn't count). No one else has ever had a season so close offensively to their peak, or so close offensively to their career averages. In their best old seasons, the other players had wRC+s 14 points below their career figures, on average; Ortiz is projected to finish 23 points above his career wRC+, easily the largest.
So yes, a year of retirement ceremonies can feel like a lot, and there are certainly better players who probably deserved as much or more fanfare than Ortiz has received and didn't get it. But Ortiz's retirement tour and swan song isn't like those of the past. This is no injury-riddled circuit that lasts about six months too long, but a final, thunderous tour de force, and it should be celebrated as such.
Why would the Dodgers trade A.J. Ellis?
In theory, acquiring Ruiz and keeping Ellis would have been the best of both worlds, giving them a better right-handed hitting backup catcher but still allowing the team to keep Ellis around for clubhouse reasons. But with a 40-man roster crunch coming when the team’s army of injured players finish their rehab assignments, perhaps that just wasn’t going to be possible.
Whether the cost of moving Ellis will outweigh the addition of Ruiz’s bat remains to be seen, and perhaps this is just too much hand wringing over when the team had to DFA Casey Fien or Charlie Culberson. But given the Dodgers love of depth, this is the best explanation I can come up with; Ellis wouldn’t have lasted on the 40-man through September anyway, so make a clean break now and give the guys in the locker room a month to recover before the postseason starts.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1987, Nolan Ryan passes the 200 K mark in a season for the 11th time, a major-league record.