To expose a conspiracy relating to A; Joey Bart's legendary era is over


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Joey Bart's time in San Francisco wraps up, Ken tells us about a hidden gem in Milwaukee, Britt Ghiroli writes an excellent piece on Juan Soto, and we get to the bottom of a conspiracy theory in Oakland. I'm Levi Weaver, here with Ken Rosenthal – welcome to The Windup!


Veteran business Bart, heir apparent to the former

Joe Montana gave way to Steve Young. David Robinson hands over the baton to Tim Duncan. As Mickey Mantle took off, Joe DiMaggio faded. For a while, I was convinced that the San Francisco Giants would have the privilege of watching Buster Posey gracefully step forward to unveil Joey Bart: The Other Great Catcher.

so much for that. A few days after being designated for assignment, Bart was traded to the Pirates for minor-league pitcher Austin Strickland.

Bart was drafted with the second pick in 2018 and immediately became Posey's successor. But as Andrew Baggerly points out here, a few factors, many of which were out of Bart's control, got in the way of his development — namely, injuries and a flurry of regular playing time when Posey opted out of the 2020 season. Chose to be. Ultimately, his role as successor was taken over by Patrick Bailey.

At least a little of this was under Bart's control. Over parts of four seasons, he played in 162 games. Blame the nonlinear player development plan, bad luck, or just the guy not reaching his potential, but his line of .219/.288/.335 (.623 OPS) wasn't enough to stop Bailey.

Baggarley points out that even though the writing was on the wall for Bart in San Francisco, there is reason to believe that his work this past offseason has prepared him to succeed after a change of scenery. If that's the case, it's really disappointing for the Giants, but could be a nice encouragement for a Pirates team that is already 5-0.


Ken's Notebook: Meet Brewers 3B Oliver Dunn

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Oliver Dunn is off to a good start with the Brewers. (Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

One of my favorite things about baseball is that every season, interesting players come out of nowhere. Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Oliver Dunn is one such player. I'll admit: I knew virtually nothing about him when the Brewers named him their Opening Day third baseman. Yet there he was on Tuesday, making A full-scale dive Byron Buxton to steal an extra base in the Brewers' 3–2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

The 26-year-old Dunn is also contributing offensively, going 3 for 10 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch in his first three major league games. So who is this guy? The New York Yankees drafted Dunn out of the University of Utah in the 11th round of the 2019 draft. Three years later, they left him unprotected on their Triple-A roster and lost him to the Philadelphia Phillies in the minor-league stage of the Rule 5 draft.

This meant that the Yankees did not consider Dunn as one of their organization's top 78 players, and refused to protect him not only on their 40-man roster but also on their 38-man Triple-A list. The Phillies clearly didn't think much of Dunn. Despite his eye-opening performance in the Arizona Fall League, they traded him to the Brewers for two other minor leaguers last November.

According to general manager Matt Arnold, Milwaukee scouts had identified Dunn as a potential target over the past few years. And when Dunn batted .343 with a .455 on-base percentage and .616 slugging percentage in the AFL, and earned the league's Breakout Player of the Year award, the Brewers took the lead.

Still, Dunn's chances of making the Opening Day roster seemed limited. The Brewers had prospects Andrew Monasterio and Owen Miller at third. They acquired Joey Ortiz as another candidate in the Corbin Burns trade with the Baltimore Orioles. And they also spent the spring trying out outfielder Sal Fralick at the position.

However, a spot opened up for Dunn when outfielder Garrett Mitchell suffered a broken bone in his left hand less than a week before the season started. Mitchell's injury forced Frelich back into the outfield, and the Brewers had already demoted Miller. So for now, left-handed hitting Dunn is in a platoon with Ortiz.

athleticKeith Law anticipated Dunn's rise, leaving him out of his top 20 Brewers prospects, but listing him among “notable others”. Law wrote, “Dunn can run, he can hit a little, he has some sneaky pop. … Given his speed and versatility he looks like a great player to be the last man on the bench.”

Who knows? Perhaps Dunn will turn out to be even more.


Juan Soto's bet on himself

This section is about Juan Soto, but it is also about Britt Ghiroli. The quotes and insights in today's story – about the 22 months since Juan Soto rejected the Nationals' $440 million expansion offer – are extremely detailed and informative. It is truly a masterpiece.

some examples:

• “That was a real family,” Soto says of the 2019 (national) team. Then his smile faded. “And it will never happen again.”

• When closed-door meetings of (Padres) hitters began before each series, Soto often had his AirPods in his ears, three team sources told The Athletic. Teammates were upset, even though he had legitimate reason: the early minutes were often spent on opposing pitchers' “tells” or signals that they might bowl a pitch. Soto, who has always been a cerebral hitter, told coaches he didn't want these details floating around his mind in the batter's box.

• In DC, Soto was the only star left. Sources say that in San Diego, he was initially unsure of his place. And given the team's other financial commitments, he saw the writing on the wall: The Padres were just going to be a stopover.

“There's no money here for me,” said Soto, according to multiple team sources, who requested anonymity to speak freely. He was referring to the $300 million contracts the Padres have. were already in the books manny machado, fernando tatis And xander bogarts,

Go read the rest. Soto appears to be on his way to cashing in on the bet placed on him by passing on the Nets' offer. And Ghiroli is absolutely right in explaining how this situation got here.


Estuary Ruiz, Brent Rucker and an early season conspiracy theory

It was 39 years ago when Sports Illustrated wowed the baseball world with the legend of Sid Finch, a would-be monk with a French horn and a 168 mph fastball. This remains the greatest baseball-themed April Fool's joke ever, but we may have a new second-place finisher.

The Last Dive Bar is an Oakland apparel company that has recently been pushing “Sell the Team” merchandise in protest of owner John Fisher's plan to move the team to Las Vegas.

On Monday, he tweeted a mysterious bit of intrigue: whether Brent Rucker, who has sat out two games this season, and Esterey Ruiz, who was sent to Triple A, will be punished by the organization for wearing LDB wristbands. Had been?

He tweeted this on April 1, guys. And in subsequent tweets, happily celebrating the success of the prank, he posted blatant follow-ups: photoshopped “evidence” of wristbands on celebrities like John F. Kennedy, Bigfoot, Jimmy Hoffa, and Jesus Christ.

But by yesterday, it really started. Mediaite, NESN, Barstool, SFGate and (Even Sid Finch's house!) Sports Illustrated all posted stories that seem like it might be real.

Some notes:

  • Ruiz, yes, was hitting .429 after three games. A very small sample size, but certainly not the kind of figure you usually see when someone is sent down. But A's GM David Forst spoke openly about the demotion, and if you look deeper, his comments make baseball sense. Take a look at Ruiz's Baseball Savant page:
image

Rucker has started four of the team's six games (including the last two since Monday afternoon, when the theory first surfaced), so he has not been “benched.”

Other “penalized” players mentioned in the theory: Tony Kemp (-1.0 bWAR in 2023, now with the Orioles), Christian Pache (-0.5 bWAR, before being traded to Philadelphia in 2022), James Caprilian (-0.3 bWAR in 2023, Now a free agent).

So why did so many people fall for it?

My theory: Looking at old tweets it appears that Last Dive Bar's previously close relationship with the organization has soured over the past year. The fans (and the organization) are crazy! Makes sense! The sentiment in Oakland was an enthusiastic “Go A!” Inspired by. Angry cries of “Sell the team!” And it seems like every day brings a new one face-palm-worthy controversy,

Meanwhile, Fischer has completely eliminated any benefit of the doubt. Although this particular scam appears to be nothing more than a clever prank, people tend to believe the worst about people they don't like. And is there anyone in Oakland who is disliked more than Fisher?


handshake and high five

Patrick Mooney says Christopher Morrell's third base experiment in Chicago is going very well so far.

Jesse Chavez is rapidly approaching legend status. The 40 year old man is back sixth Tenure with the Braves.

Bryce Harper hit three home runs, including a grand slam, in a 9–4 win over the Reds.

Kansas City voters have rejected a public funding measure to help fund new stadiums for the Chiefs and Royals. Does this put the Royals on the path to a transfer?

Larry Lucchino, who helped bring about Camden Yards and Petco Park and helped save Fenway Park, has died at age 78. Steve Buckley has filed a claim to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.


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(Top photo of Brent Rucker and Esturi Ruiz: Theron W. Henderson/Getty Images)




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