Your starting 5 are suited up and ready to talk baseball once again. We touch on the happenings around baseball from Yunel Escobar to the Playoff Panic meter for each team involved in these closely contested Playoff races. The movie critics come out as well, when we discuss our favorite baseball movies in lieu of “Trouble With the Curve” debuting on Friday. All that and more inside this episode of “Three Up, Three Down”.
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Oh, yeah. And then there’s THIS.
There is no good way to spin the issue. It can’t have been lost in translation, because Cuban professors in Canada have told various media members that is a homophobic slur and very offensive in Escobar’s home country.
In other parts of Latin America, the word is used much more loosely and in a teasing manner, but Escobar isn’t from other parts of Latin America. He is from Cuba, where it means the same thing as the English translation for “You are a f—-t.”
Forget whether or not there is a large portion of the LGBT community who watches baseball. The point is that there is a very large LGBT community in this country, and they know how to use computers. That means most of that community has seen what Escobar’s eye black said last Saturday and can’t be very happy about it.
So how should Escobar be punished? There isn’t a ton of precedence for this, and it also goes way above and beyond just being about baseball. But the Toronto Blue Jays, as approved by the MLB and MLBPA decided to suspend Escobar three games starting tonight, without pay.
The $92,000+ Escobar will lose in salary over the three games will be donated to GLAAD and You Can Play, two very respected LGBT charity organizations. And Escobar will have to do sensitivity training and work with outreach programs.
Well, that’s a nice gesture. But three games? Really? Didn’t Cole Hamels get five for purposely beaning Bryce Harper? Didn’t Brett Lawrie get four for throwing his helmet down when arguing a call?
And is sensitivity training going to help the fact that he was so insensitive in the first place? Regardless of how much Escobar stresses that he was joking and it has “no meaning,” he is completely, utterly mistaken.
So what I’m seeing here, is that MLB believes a heated argument or an intimidating pitch are more punishable than literally offending an entire community and legion of fans and then giving half-assed excuses in front of that same audience.
Escobar, who doesn’t speak English, was talking to the media through a translator just now at Yankee Stadium and I caught a few snippets of what he said via social media.
“It was a bad joke.”
“It wasn’t meant to offend.”
“It’s a very common term in Latin America. It has no meaning.”
“I don’t hate gay people.”
Well, Yunel. It does have meaning. To millions of people across the globe. Next time, try something a little more intelligent when you want to write something on your face to get pumped for a game.
It’s the humble opinion of this writer that Escobar should have been suspended the rest of the season. Send him home for the offseason. The Jays are out of the race and Escobar isn’t doing anything for them on the field anyway.
But the second he steps back on the field this Friday in a meaningless game, he’s going to hear it from the fans, whether home or away. Wouldn’t it be best to have a full off-season to let this blow over?
I think it’s fair to say that the three-game suspension is too short. I think it’s also fair to say that Escobar’s reputation is really shot to hell, if Twitter is any indication:
— Ron Sutton (@seekingup2) September 18, 2012
Escobar should have been suspended the rest of the season. Can’t wait for the #BlueJays to show him the door.
— Kyle Mayer (@kymayer) September 18, 2012
The biggest loser in this whole fiasco is Escobar himself. He just lost money, games and most devastating, respect of his peers and fans. It seems like Blue Jays fans can’t wait to see him shipped away. And if the poor play and stupid decisions continue, that might happen a lot sooner than we think.
Do you believe this was a just punishment for Escobar? VOTE below!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
We’re 11 days from the trade deadline, and the only move of any significance that has been made is Carlos Lee to the Miami Marlins. Yawn.
That doesn’t bode well for our brilliant, new, yet under-utilized blog segment, “Grade That Trade!” But seeing as how there are so many potential trades just knocking on the door right now, baseball fans should be excited about the wheeling and dealing that’s bound to go down in the next week or so.
For the purpose of this blog, I’ll stay away from big fish like Cole Hamels, Zach Greinke, Ryan Dempster and Josh Willingham. These are the lesser-known guys who I think will be on the move.
Here are five players I guarantee will be traded before the deadline ends:
Rodriguez failed his latest audition miserably, giving up five earned runs in four innings against the Padres, and dropping his record below .500 (7-8). He has been one of the more consistent under-the-radar starters in MLB for a while now, and with the ‘Stros in full-on rebuilding mode, this should be the year he is moved. Rodriguez would be a great middle-of-the-rotation addition for a team desperate for a late-season run at the playoffs.
Jeremy’s Prediction: Rodriguez goes to the Orioles for Jake Arrieta and a minor league pitcher. Though the contract is a bit hefty, the O’s add a 3rd solid starter behind Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel to try and regain a lead in the Wild Card.
Another lefty on the market here has started gaining a lot of attention among contenders, based on superb performances recently. Liriano has certainly had his ups and downs, but the last two starts especially have shown teams he still has something to give. He struck out 25 batters combined in those starts, and if not for two bad pitches (a grand slam to Jonny Gomes and a two-run homer to Adam Jones), he would have had an unblemished ERA.
Jeremy’s Prediction: The Yankees scoop up Liriano in a deal for two minor league pitchers. The Twins get a couple starters to develop, and the Yanks get immediate help that they need with Andy Pettitte shelved and Freddy Garcia struggling.
Apparently, no potential trade piece is demanding of a higher price than Headley. It makes sense. He’s just entering his prime, has a lot of power from both sides of the plate, and is still under team control until 2015. But Padres’ GM Josh Byrnes might stop playing hard to get as the deadline gets closer. A lot of teams still in the hunt could use an extra bat in the middle of the lineup.
Jeremy’s Prediction: The Pirates, desperate to add a bat, put together a good package of prospects that doesn’t include Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole, or Starling Marte to land Headley. Inserted into a lineup with Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker, the Buccos suddenly look even more dangerous down the stretch.
The Jays are convinced that Adeiny Hechavarria is ready to make the leap to the Majors, so Escobar is expendable. I have to assume Toronto is in the market for young pitching, considering the unfortunate Tommy John epidemic that has hit their staff this season. The best fits for a trade for Escobar are probably Pittsburgh, Seattle and Oakland. All three have good pitching prospects and gaping holes at shortstop.
Jeremy’s Prediction: Billy Beane decides to capitalize on his surprisingly successful 2012 roster and make a run at the Wild Card (the A’s are only a 1/2 game back as of July 20th) by trading two pitching prospects to Canada for Escobar. The A’s add a little more pop to the lineup, the Jays have some more talent down on the farm to develop and *hopefully* keep healthy.
This is an interesting option. The M’s are less likely to give up Vargas without a fight, now that they’ve gotten interest from a number of playoff contenders in need of pitching. My thought is that Seattle is overflowing with minor league pitching talent, but still hurting for some hitting. They have a ton of pieces, but a Vargas-for-AAA-hitter swap would do wonders for the Mariners’ future.
Jeremy’s Prediction: In somewhat of a surprise, the Cardinals jump head first back into the NL Central race by acquiring Vargas for slugger Matt Adams. St. Louis can afford to give away a high-potential first baseman for two reasons: He struggled in his call-up this year, and they have Allen Craig. If Adams pans out, the Mariners are sitting pretty in a couple years.
– Jeremy (@Jamblinman)