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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Jesus Flores ‘in shock’ about Nationals trade for catcher

Jesus-Shock! Philosophy to follow…

Nearly 90 minutes before the first game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Marlins, the Nationals announced a trade that sent minor league catcher David Freitas to the Oakland Athletics for veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki, who will take over the starting role from Jesus Flores.

Approached by reporters and asked about the trade following the doubleheader split, Flores said he didn’t know about the trade and that he hadn’t had a conversation about it with team officials.

Once reporters shared the news and asked for a comment, Flores said: “Not at all. I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m just in shock. I didn’t know we had a new catcher.”

It seems difficult to believe that Flores didn’t know about the trade. But he appeared shaken when asked about it. Understandably, it’s a difficult time for Flores, whose future with the organization beyond this season appears to be in question. He is eligible for arbitration this winter.

Repoz Posted: August 04, 2012 at 08:40 AM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. boteman is here Posted: August 04, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4200426)
Flores has never been any great shakes batting, but he hasn't redeemed himself with his defense as a catcher. I guess he hasn't changed his calendar from 2009 when the Nationals were in the dictionary under "stink-o" and had no dreams of grandeur. Then his shoulder got obliterated and he missed a year and half. His throws to 2B land somewhere between the mound and the bag, as his 10% caught stealing rate indicates.

Meanwhile, Mike Rizzo made what I considered a steal of a trade at the time swapping Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos, so Flores' stock fell even further. Now with the Nats going through about one catcher per week Flores had to see the writing on the wall. Oh, and there's his Twitter account where he might have gotten wind of the K. Suzuki acquisition.

Suzuki hits microscopically better than Flores, but his defense is reputed to be anywhere from better to a hell of a lot better, which is what the Nats need. They can suffer a black hole in the lineup at catcher as long as he's not Swiss cheese behind the plate and can throw out at least one base stealer.
   2. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4200428)
When you have a .576 OPS you shouldn't be shocked by anything your club does.
   3. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4200429)
They can suffer a black hole in the lineup at catcher as long as he's not Swiss cheese behind the plate and can throw out at least one base stealer.

Braves are 2 games back and closing and the hitters aren't hitting right now. They need all the offense they can get at this point in time.
   4. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 04, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4200432)
When you have a .576 OPS you shouldn't be shocked by anything your club does.


Not even if they make you their starting catcher?
   5. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4200433)
Not even if they make you their starting catcher?

Most major league players are delusional.
   6. Bourbon Samurai Posted: August 04, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4200438)

Not even if they make you their starting catcher?


He's only starting because Ramos was hurt, not the same thing as being the guy from day one. I actually think Sandy Leon and Jhonathan whatshisface have played better
   7. fra paolo Posted: August 04, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4200508)
Braves are 2 games back and closing and the hitters aren't hitting right now. They need all the offense they can get at this point in time.

+1

Seriously, the Nationals' major problem all season has been a relatively weak-hitting lineup.

They have played 36 one-run games, with a 19-17 advantage. They've won 11 blowouts (+5 runs or better). Compare that to the Braves 24 one-run games with a much bigger 16-8 advantage, and winning 20 blowouts. I think both are attributable to there being more 'sock' in the Braves' lineup (491 runs scored vs 454).

OK, if one couldn't get a better hitting catcher, then a better fielding one is still getting one an advantage one didn't have before. But the Nationals' most serious problem is not a Swiss Cheese catching corps.
   8. boteman is here Posted: August 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4200527)
I hear Alfonso Soriano is still available. Ahhh, how'd the Nats ever let him get away???
   9. OsunaSakata Posted: August 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4200530)
The Braves' blowout advantage is much more significant. Winning one-run games is usually a matter of luck and sometimes a sign of a better bullpen. The Nats are where they are because of their pitching, but that's no news to anyone here.

I seem to remember Davey Johnson's Mets teams outperformed their Pythagorean projections. This morning's Pythagorean standings show the Nats outperforming their projection by just .003, the Braves are outperforming by .012.
   10. TomH Posted: August 04, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4200550)
allowing stolen bases at key moments likely ain't gonna help your pythagorean :(

I was at the game Tues vs the Phillies. First Pierre steals 2nd and 3rd on consecutive pitches, and on the steal of 3rd the throw goes into left, with Pierre scoring. Next inning was more embarrassing, when Cliff Lee (!) snagged 2nd base. Maybe we should blame the pitcher, but the Nats armsmen gotta realize their backstop needs as much help as they can give him.
   11. Sunday silence Posted: August 04, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4200564)

Braves are 2 games back and closing and the hitters aren't hitting right now. They need all the offense they can get at this point in time.


Seriously some of you ought to look up what a zero sum game means.
   12. Sunday silence Posted: August 04, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4200567)
I seem to remember Davey Johnson's Mets teams outperformed their Pythagorean projections. This morning's Pythagorean standings show the Nats outperforming their projection by just .003, the Braves are outperforming by .012.


Isnt some of this statistical noise? Does anyone have a good handle on how much is considered statistically significant? Off the wall I'd guess has to be over 0.1 to be any sort of indication of anything.
   13. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4200570)
Seriously some of you ought to look up what a zero sum game means.

I think over the 56 games that are left they'll need the offensive runs more than whatever fractions of runs a catcher will provide on defense.
   14. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4200573)
According to WAR Suzuki is a +2 runs CATCH catcher over 650 innings and Flores is a +0 CATCH catcher over 558 innings. Suzuki caught about 68% of the A's innings. Let's give him 70% of the Nats' innings from here on out. So that is about 350 innings for Suzuki. So that amounts to just a smidge over 1 run saved on the basepaths/WP/PB because Suzuki is behind the plate instead of Flores or another average catcher. But he'll cost you about 10 to 12 runs with his bat. So having him start 70% of the games is going to cost the Nats a win over the rest of this season.

So please explain to me this mysterious zero sum game thingy.
   15. boteman is here Posted: August 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4200576)
Well, it looks like Flores can come out of his shock for the time being: Sandy Leon has been optioned to AAA Syracuse.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: August 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4200596)
In the first third of the season the Mets were strongly outperforming their Pythagorean record and they had a wonderful record in 1-run games. But they had an atrocious bullpen. How did they do it? Just by luck, two thing kept happening. When handed a strong lead, the bullpen would only barely win, preserving the 1 run victory, or, when handed a weak lead, tie or slight deficit, they would blow the game entirely.
   17. Bourbon Samurai Posted: August 04, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4200603)
But he'll cost you about 10 to 12 runs with his bat. So having him start 70% of the games is going to cost the Nats a win over the rest of this season.


But flores has been hitting just as bad, if not worse, and Suzuki is more likely to rebound.

I'd like to see them do two games for Suzuki, one for Flores going forward, let Suzuki get some rest and see if he can't recover some power.
   18. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4200604)
But flores has been hitting just as bad, if not worse, and Suzuki is more likely to rebound.

I'd like to see them do two games for Suzuki, one for Flores going forward, let Suzuki get some rest and see if he can't recover some power.


The point of contention wasn't about Flores or Suzuki but about my view that the Nationals need all the offense they can get right now while Sunday Silence, I'm guessing, thinks the improvement in defense by adding Suzuki and subtracting Flores will be equal to whatver offensive improvements you can make at the position.

Suzuki and Flores are both pretty bad with the stick so the only improvement they should expect by playing Suzuki is on defense and his defensive numbers this year don't look so great so his defensive prowess is going to add only about a run or two to the bottom line. Basically, unlike what Boteman stated, the Nats can't really afford to punt offense with their catcher spot. It simply does not provided them with enough defense to allow them to carry it as a black hole in the lineup.
   19. boteman is here Posted: August 04, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4200605)
Per the MLB beat writer following the Nats: @washingnats: The #Nats were not happy with the way Jesus Flores called a game behind the plate. He often went against the game plan.

Take that with however large a shaker of salt you wish.
   20. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4200610)
Nats were 38-24 in games he started for a .613 winning %. In games he didn't start they went 25-19 for a .568 winning %.
   21. boteman is here Posted: August 04, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4200613)
Every morning the rooster crows, then every morning the Sun comes up. Therefore, the rooster's crowing causes the Sun to come up.
   22. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4200619)
And Suzuki's defense is so good it can make up for his black hole of a bat, right?
   23. Del B. Vista Posted: August 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4200627)
Davey Johnson on how Flores learned about the trade:

“Obviously, he doesn’t have an iPad like some of these other guys."
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 04, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4200633)
The Braves' blowout advantage is much more significant. Winning one-run games is usually a matter of luck and sometimes a sign of a better bullpen.

This is correct. The Nationals squad of hitters is reminiscent of the 2008 Brewers in containing an amazing number of people who will seem somewhat out of place starting a postseason game. Craig Counsell, age 37? Jason Kendall, age 34? Ray Durham, age 36? Bill Hall? Corey Hart? This year, Adam LaRoche? Rick Ankiel? Mike Morse? Danny Espinosa? Kurt Suzuki?
   25. Walt Davis Posted: August 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4200639)
ZiPS RoS:

JF 221/265/337
KS 248/302/358

That's a substantial gap.

Anyway, until this season, Suzuki has been an average or better C, including being an average hitter for a C. Flores has never been that (although that might be due to the injury). It's certainly possible for a C to collapse in his age 28 season, especially one used as heavily as Suzuki, but chances are pretty good that Suzuki is, overall, close to league average while Flores is replacement level.
   26. flournoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4200642)
Ankiel was cut a little while ago. And what's wrong with LaRoche and Morse?
   27. GuyM Posted: August 04, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4200676)
Seriously. LaRoche and Morse are 120-130 OPS+ hitters. Espinosa is nearly a league-average hitter who gives you great defense at 2B. These guys do not have even a passing resemblance to Craig Counsell.
   28. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4200682)
but chances are pretty good that Suzuki is, overall, close to league average while Flores is replacement level.

Not tonight at least. Washington got 12 hits and 3 walks but Suzuki didn't get a single one of them and went 0-3. Every other positional player got a hit. Jose Reyes stole 2 bases tonight and ended up scoring both times after the steals.
   29. Esoteric Posted: August 04, 2012 at 10:30 PM (#4200700)
Ankiel was cut a little while ago. And what's wrong with LaRoche
Nothing, near as I can tell, given that he hit two home runs and was 3-for-4 on the night.

The funny thing about LaRoche's home runs is that they all look exactly the same in terms of the swing he puts on them, and go to exactly the same part of the ballpark. Man is nothing if not predictable.
   30. Sunday silence Posted: August 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4200733)
Sunday Silence, I'm guessing, thinks the improvement in defense by adding Suzuki and subtracting Flores will be equal to whatver offensive improvements you can make at the position.


I am going to explain this to you one time; so take out your pencil McCoy:

1. Suzuki improves Washington pitching staff incrementally, via better framing of pitches, etc.
2. Washington pitching good >>> Great!
3. Great pitching stops great hitting.
4. Stopped hitting: 0 runs or shutout.
5. Shutouts only end when one run scores.
6. Nationals score a run in the 10th or whatever on walk/sac/error.
7. Nationals win all the rest of their games.
8. Winning all the rest of games = World Champions.
   31. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4200810)
Braves are 2 games back and closing and the hitters aren't hitting right now. They need all the offense they can get at this point in time.

Our hitters are hitting just fine, but thank you very much for your concern though. 199 runs scored in our last 36 games now, with a team OPS somewhere in the vicinity of .770 over that period.
   32. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4200847)
39 runs in the last 9 games with 21 of those runs coming in two games and the opposing team scoring 17 in those two games (44 runs in the 9 games). Yeah, I'd say that qualifies as needing all the offense they can get at this point in time.
   33. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4200860)
Yeah, the Nationals have been shut down a couple of times recently by pretty good pitchers like Josh Johnson. Newsflash: this happens to every team in the league from time to time.

The bottom line is that over roughly the last six week period, the Nationals have been one of the better offenses in all of baseball. Whether or not you or anyone else is willing to acknowledge this is something I frankly don't give a crap about; the numbers speak for themselves.
   34. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4200865)
Yeah, the Nationals have been shut down a couple of times recently by pretty good pitchers like Josh Johnson. Newsflash: this happens to every team in the league from time to time.

Yeah, and more offense wouldn't have helped them, right?


The bottom line is that over roughly the last six week period, the Nationals have been one of the better offenses in all of baseball. Whether or not you or anyone else is willing to acknowledge this is something I frankly don't give a crap about; the numbers speak for themselves.

Plus they scored 12, 11, and 10 runs from June 26th to June 28th! That has to be relevant to what they are going to do tomorrow, right?
   35. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4200880)
The numbers don't just speak for themselves, they argue with each other!
   36. GuyM Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4200897)
McCoy: I'm not sure what you are arguing. Is is A) the Nats would benefit if their catcher hit better, or B) additional offensive runs would help the Nats more than additional defensive runs?

That is, are you making a point that is obvious and uninteresting, or a point that is wrong?
   37. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4200904)
This move is kind of hard to figure. Leon wasn't that bad, and he hit more than Suzuki will, if Suzuki's last two seasons are any gauge..must really not be happy with Flores, and that I can see, so they are projecting Suzuki will give them some defensive improvement in the games he plays.

The good news is that the eight spot is the only weak place in the lineup (leaving out when DeRosa starts) particularly when Desmond comes back. They don't have to be a great offense to go deep in the postseason. Good might be enough.
   38. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4200918)
That is, are you making a point that is obvious and uninteresting, or a point that is wrong?

And yet the obvious and uninteresting point is the one that is getting disputed and no my point isn't that 1 run of offense would help more than one run on defense but that whatever "bonus" the Nats get from Suzuki's defense is going to be really small while his bat is going to cost them a bunch of runs so they are better off getting a worse defender but a better bat, like Soto would have been, for that position.
   39. GuyM Posted: August 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4200971)
so they are better off getting a worse defender but a better bat, like Soto would have been, for that position

Well yes, unless the better bat comes packaged with worse defense. If your point is "there were better catchers available," then just say so. But this has nothing to do with the Nats "needing offense" any more than they need defense.
   40. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4201007)
Well yes, unless the better bat comes packaged with worse defense. If your point is "there were better catchers available," then just say so. But this has nothing to do with the Nats "needing offense" any more than they need defense.

Are you trying to get nominated for the pointless quibbling award?
   41. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 05, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4201029)
By the way, Nationals now 22 games over .500 for the first time this season. Concern trolls will undoubtedly continue to be concerned.
   42. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4201035)
Braves are 3 games back.
   43. flournoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4201054)
McCoy: I'm not sure what you are arguing. Is is A) the Nats would benefit if their catcher hit better, or B) additional offensive runs would help the Nats more than additional defensive runs?

That is, are you making a point that is obvious and uninteresting, or a point that is wrong?


Is it true that the second point is wrong? Saving runs defensively means less work for your pitching staff.
   44. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4201058)
So does adding runs offensively.
   45. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4201070)
And now we get to go play four against what is the worst team in baseball by miles. I expect to take at least three out of the four, if not get an outright four game sweep.
   46. Esoteric Posted: August 05, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4201087)
And now we get to go play four against what is the worst team in baseball by miles. I expect to take at least three out of the four, if not get an outright four game sweep.
Of course it's for this very reason that I fully expect to get swept. The Astros have to win SOMETIME unless they're going to challenge for the worst team in modern baseball history, non-'62 Mets division. Just watch: it'll be against us.
   47. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4201106)
Since the Nationals are likely to be good for the next several years, you guys are going to have to get used to this rather weird-ish aspect of rooting for a perennial contender -- they will frequently piss you off by playing their worst against the weakest opponents. They will probably also pick one franchise that they will inexplicably struggle against year in and year out, regardless of how good or bad that team is in any given season.
   48. Esoteric Posted: August 05, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4201112)
They will probably also pick one franchise that they will inexplicably struggle against year in and year out, regardless of how good or bad that team is in any given season.
Already picked, and it's the Marlins.
   49. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 05, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4201114)
According to the listed schedule, the pitchers the Astros have lined up to face us are Dallas Keuchel, Jordan Lyles, Armando Galarraga, and Lucas Harrell. Galarraga has pitched all of 10.1 innings this season, and I have never even heard of the other three guys. There is absolutely no excuse for the Nats not to pummel these guys all over the place.

EDIT: Also, the Astros are just 4-30 over their last 34 games! I find that just incredible. I would imagine that has got to be one of the absolute worst stretches of baseball any major league team has ever had in the history of the game.
   50. akrasian Posted: August 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM (#4201118)
There is absolutely no excuse for the Nats not to pummel these guys all over the place.

Poor advance scouting?

Well, that would be a possible reason, not an excuse. But it wouldn't be the first time that non-heralded rookies would cut through a lineup like a hot knife through butter their first start or two in the majors.
   51. Esoteric Posted: August 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4201123)
EDIT: Also, the Astros are just 4-30 over their last 34 games! I find that just incredible. I would imagine that has got to be one of the absolute worst stretches of baseball any major league team has ever had in the history of the game.
As I said above, this is why I'm irrationally pessmistic. The Astros have to start winning SOMETIME, and why not against us? Meanwhile the damn Braves have a creampuff schedule.
   52. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4201136)
Also, the Astros are just 4-30 over their last 34 games! I find that just incredible. I would imagine that has got to be one of the absolute worst stretches of baseball any major league team has ever had in the history of the game.


You really should check out the 1962 Mets game log. Their longest winning streak was 3 games, and they managed that just twice. Their longest losing streak was 17. I don't think they had a 4-30 stretch, but they did have stretch where they went 9-38. They broke that slide by winning two in a row (something they accomplished only 11 times all year, including double counting those 3 game streaks), then followed up with a 3-22 run. They did manage to go 11-7 between April 28 and May 20, but followed that stretch of respectability with the afore-mentioned 17 game losing streak.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: August 05, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4201144)
EDIT: Also, the Astros are just 4-30 over their last 34 games! I find that just incredible. I would imagine that has got to be one of the absolute worst stretches of baseball any major league team has ever had in the history of the game.


The 1916 Philly A's and their tidy 2-41 stretch scoff at the Stros' little run of bad play.

   54. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4201149)
And of course, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders finished the season on a rousing 1-40 streak.
   55. Scott Fischthal Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4201152)
they are better off getting a worse defender but a better bat, like Soto would have been, for that position

It's unclear that Soto would have been any better than Suzuki. Granted he's been a bit better this year, in that he's been replacement level rather than half a win below replacement level. On the other hand, they had identical WAR in 2011, Soto was about a win better in 2010, and Suzuki was about 3 wins better in 2008-9. So, I think the question stands: was there anyone available better than Suzuki?
   56. TerpNats Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4201154)
The 1916 Philly A's and their tidy 2-41 stretch scoff at the Stros' little run of bad play.
Including being swept at Comiskey Park in a seven-game series (an earlier three-game series in Chicago had been rained out).
   57. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: August 05, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4201168)
Soto would have been cheaper. The Nats will owe Suzuki a lot of dough next year, and there's a vesting option for 2014 that seems pretty unlikely, but you never know. Leon was having trouble just catching the ball sometimes, which did not instill confidence. That 100 at bat sample where Flores hit .300 is looking like a totally different guy now.
   58. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4201170)
So, I think the question stands: was there anyone available better than Suzuki?

Yes, he goes by the name of Geo Soto. He's been clearly a better bat than Suzuki over the last three years and has been a better bat than Suzuki this year, even including pre-DL play. Since coming back from the DL Soto has hit .324/.396 in 102 PA. Kurt's has hit .232/.299 in his last 102 PA.
   59. Lassus Posted: August 05, 2012 at 09:47 PM (#4201179)
Concern trolls will undoubtedly continue to be concerned.

Why would you talk so mean about Esoteric?
   60. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4201189)
Winning one-run games is usually a matter of luck and sometimes a sign of a better bullpen.
EDIT: Also, the Astros are just 4-30 over their last 34 games! I find that just incredible. I would imagine that has got to be one of the absolute worst stretches of baseball any major league team has ever had in the history of the game.
1-8 in one-run games, over that timeframe. The lone "one-run" win came in game 32 of that streak.
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4201196)
Harrell has pitched very well over the past month, so there's that for the Astros.
   62. TerpNats Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4201206)
Soto would have been cheaper. The Nats will owe Suzuki a lot of dough next year, and there's a vesting option for 2014 that seems pretty unlikely, but you never know. Leon was having trouble just catching the ball sometimes, which did not instill confidence. That 100 at bat sample where Flores hit .300 is looking like a totally different guy now.
If Wilson Ramos is close to reasonably healthy in 2013, Suzuki and Flores will battle it out for the backup position in spring training.
   63. Esoteric Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4201211)
Why would you talk so mean about Esoteric?
:-)

Can you really be a concern troll for your own team, Lassus? That would make half the Mets fans on Primer concern trolls as well.
   64. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4201214)
Generally half of the fans of a team think the other half are trolls and vice versa.
   65. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4201215)
Also, the Astros are just 4-30 over their last 34 games! I find that just incredible. I would imagine that has got to be one of the absolute worst stretches of baseball any major league team has ever had in the history of the game.

They will need to step it up a bit when they move to the American League next year.

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