Patrick Daugherty

Baseball Daily Dose

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And The Horse You Rode In On

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Maybe the oats are better in Miami.

Three days after spurning the Dodgers, Carlos Lee — “El Caballo” himself — was shipped to the Marlins. The Horse had no say in the matter — Miami was not one of the 14 teams he had power to block a trade to — but he indicated it was a move he would have signed off on anyways.

The Marlins are surely happy. The fact that Lee is due $9 million (most of which will be eaten by the Astros, so any salary snickers should be purely symbolic) the rest of the season and hitting just .287/.336/.411 to go along with five home runs and an OPS+ of 103 (OPS+ as of Wednesday) through 277 plate appearances will surely cause the move to be mocked in many quarters. However, it’s hard to argue that Lee won’t be a massive upgrade for a team getting comically awful production from the game’s most important offensive position.

.206/.261/.304: that’s what Marlins first basemen were hitting heading into play Wednesday. If that slash had qualified for the league OPS title, it would have been worse than all but two hitters, Dee Gordon and Cliff Pennington.

A move had to be made, and even if he’s getting overpaid (again, by the Astros) to do it, Lee’s .747 OPS should do just fine for a team with a “playoff or bust” mindset that’s sitting at an unacceptable 39-42.

If you’re looking for reasons to expect improved production from Lee in the second half, his history — both recent and otherwise — suggests he’ll likely heat up along with the weather (not that it isn't already soul-crushingly hot). Lee hit .285/.375/.476 after the All-Star break last season after batting just .268/.316/.425 before the Midsummer Classic. For his career, his .840 second-half OPS is a full 39 points better than his pre-ASB OPS.    

“El Caballo” won’t be elite for the Marlins, but he’ll be plenty competent, which is more than Gaby Sanchez could claim.

Speed, Dialed Back? 

Speaking of Dee Gordon, he made two bits of news on our nation’s birthday, one good and one bad.

The good? He swiped his 29th and 30th bases, making him the first player to cross the 30-steal plateau this season. The bad? He dislocated his right thumb in the process of his second theft.

Thumb injuries can be played through — just ask Dustin Pedroia — but they’re also extremely painful, and limit your effectiveness. Just ask...Dustin Pedroia.

The fact that the All-Star break begins on Monday means Gordon could rest for eight days and only miss four games, but it would be far from surprising if his injured digit sends him to the 15-day D.L.  

D.L. For Andre Ethier  

The 15-day D.L. is where Ethier’s oblique landed him on Wednesday. The move was hardly a surprise. Ethier had already missed six games, and oblique injuries almost always require a trip to the disabled list.

Like his more heralded teammate Matt Kemp, Ethier could in theory be ready for the first game after the All-Star break, but a clear timetable for his return may not exist until early next week.

It would be a good weekend to pray for rain if you’re a Dodgers fan, alas, L.A. will wrap up the first half in climate-controlled Arizona. When it rains, it pours, except indoors.

More Knee Issues For Stanton 

Things we love: Giancarlo Stanton launching precision-guided missiles. Things we don’t: anything that prevents Giancarlo Stanton from launching precision-guided missiles.

A “loose body” in Stanton’s right knee is the latest thing to come between us and his awe-inspiring bombs, and could hold him out of next week’s Home Run Derby.

The good news is, he sounds likely to be back in the Marlins lineup before the All-Star break. Just like Stanton’s left knee issues earlier this season, it’s not a long-term concern. (Unless you’re Chris “Back Back Back Back Back” Berman.)    

Ryan Zimmerman Cortisone Shot Update: Working.

Cliff Lee Wins Counter: One.

Game Notes: Yasmani Grandal hit his fourth home run in five games. … Kevin Youkilis walked off the White Sox with a 10th inning single. … Chase Utley homered for the second time since making his 2012 debut last Wednesday. He’s hitting .273/.304/.545 through six games. … Anthony Rizzo hit his third home run in eight games since being recalled. He’s hitting .323/.344/.710. … David Ortiz hit his 400th career home run. … Miguel Cabrera had his third two-homer game of the season. ... Jason Kubel hit another home run. … So did Bryan LaHair. … Justin Verlander tossed his fifth complete game of the season, and 19th of his career. … The evil Ervin Santana showed up in Cleveland. … Luis Mendoza struck out nine in a quality start. … Carlos Ruiz kept hitting. … So did Matt Holliday. … Jeremy Guthrie was quality for the first time since April 22.      

National League Short Hops: Gaby Sanchez was sent back to Triple-A New Orleans to clear a roster spot for Carlos Lee. It’s possible he’s played his final game in a Marlins uniform. … In a best-case scenario, Andrew Cashner (lat) will be back in 3-4 weeks. … Dexter Fowler (lat) returned to action. … So did Pedro Alvarez (leg) and Hanley Ramirez (knee). … Matt Kemp (hamstring) singled twice in a rehab appearance. … Kirk Nieuwenhuis (hand) could be headed to the disabled list.

American League Short Hops: Jesus Montero was diagnosed with a “very mild concussion.” “Very mild” or not, he’s unlikely to play this weekend. … Derek Holland (shoulder) will pitch for the Rangers this weekend. … Yu Darvish (rest) won’t. … The Yankees claimed OF Darnell McDonald off waivers, perhaps just to get the Red Sox goat.   

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

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