Morning notes: Stories unrelated to the All-Star Game

Morning notes: Stories unrelated to the All-Star Game
Because there are Kevin Youkilises to think about // José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune

Making a natural transition from talking about the All-Star Game, the White Sox and Cubs are probably going to be playing four games next season, instead of their usual six.

As a partial-season-ticket holder, I was initially excited by the prospect of having the chance to avoid being obligated to buy a hyper-expensive Cubs-Sox game every other year.  But no, there would be two two-game series at each location under this proposed set-up

Realizing that two-game series are kind of a pointless travel scheduling abomination, it was stipulated that the series "possibly could be played back-to-back in cities that have “traditional” rivalries such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area."

The reduction in games appears to be in the name of competitive balance as the Cubs continue a long-term rebuild.  Of course, it's a compromise between answering to calls to be more conscious of balanced scheduling, and maintaining the sponsorship arrangements and ticket deals teams have set up for these series, which winds up hindering both goals.

Consider this a preview of some of the discombobulated constructs the first year of season-wide interleague play might inspire.

The last Ozzie is gone

Minor league SS Ozzie Martinez was traded to the Dodgers for cash considerations on Tuesday, after spending the last two seasons destroying any semblance of his prospects status with poor hitting at AAA.  In Spring Training, Martinez seemed like an appealing option to stash at the back of the major league roster for infield depth so that Eduardo Escobar could play every day in AAA, but just did not perform at a level that merited consideration for such a role.

No discussion of Martinez is complete without mentioning that he returned to playing professional baseball after being shot three times--including in the head--due to a case of mistaken identity in 2009.  Given the "very bad shape" he was in during the initial aftermath of the shooting, his presence at such a high level of baseball is pretty miraculous.

Martinez's departure means that Jhan Marinez--one of the few Charlotte Knights relievers who has not been called-up so far this season--is the only holdover from the deal that let Ozzie Guillen take his public displays of disaffection to Miami, where he's leading another team of talented veterans to mediocrity.

Youkilis.

It was announced Monday, but Kevin Youkilis was named AL Player of the Week for the last stretch of the 1st half.  In six games, Youkilis collected three home runs, seven runs scored, an 10 RBI, with an 1.484 OPS  He knocked in the go-ahead runs in four games the past week, though that total includes his 1st inning home run during the 19-2 rout of Texas.

Because the fates remain at war with the Boston Red Sox (and have been since September 2011), their shiny new 3rd basemen Will Middlebrooks sat out the last week with an injury.

Peavy's somber journey

Before he arrived in Kansas City, Jake Peavy spent Monday in San Diego delivering a eulogy at the memorial service for his late bullpen coach, Darrel Akerfelds.  Peavy leaned heavily on Akerfelds for moral support during his rehab, and Richard Justice's piece on the trip gives a good look at where Jake's head is at during this career redemption season.

About staying with the Sox after this grand season, Jake went on to say to Joe Cowley, "I will let them know that I want to stay if I can stay. I would love to end my career right here. We’ll see.’’  This is the first time the topic of his contract situation has really been broached, but it's also the first time anything besides being rid of him as soon as possible was appealing.

It's nothing more than posturing at this point, but as Cowley notes, Peavy surely has to acknowledge that any future in Chicago starts with his option being declined and a new deal being negotiated.

 

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