Gold Sox' Bass Dealt to Houston
December 16, 2013

It's nothing comparable to the World Series, or even a Pirates-Royals interleague game in June, but for baseball fans, agents, players, and general managers, the highlight of the off season is the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings—which were held last week near Orlando. And while there were several notable deals made, one that fell under the radar of the media is of particular interest to this area. A former Gold Sox player was traded.

ESPN was there, with a special edition of Baseball Tonight all week. They didn't mention it. I don't get the MLB Network, but if they did discuss it, I doubt they spent much time. There were some bigger things to talk about. Not only trade speculation surrounding Matt Kemp and David Price, but things that actually happened, like a three-way deal with the Angels, Diamondbacks, and White Sox. And let's face it, that was a big deal. Mark Trumbo to Arizona, Adam Eaton to the White Sox, and two lefties (Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs) to Orange County. The Oakland A's made two deals—shipping Brett Anderson to Colorado for two pitchers, and reliever Jerry Blevins to Washington for an outfielder named Billy Burns. ESPN spent a lot of time analyzing those moves, and deservedly so.

But on Wednesday, the San Diego Padres sent pitcher Anthony Bass to Houston for a player to be named later, and cash considerations. Yeah, you get the picture, not exactly Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler is it? Bass is from Dearborn, Michigan and grew up a Tigers fan, but he came out to Marysville in 2007, pitched for the Gold Sox, and went 6-2 with a 1.92 ERA. He pitched Opening Night that season, and struck out 10 batters in 7 innings, scattering only three hits and not walking anyone. He also pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout at Humboldt—the second game of a doubleheader that were both shutout victories for the Gold Sox. The kid from Wayne State would be a fifth round draft choice by the Padres the following June, and would be in the big leagues three years after that.

The player-to-be-named-later turned out to be the first pick in what is called the Rule Five Draft—guys who have been in the minor leagues a long time, and are given a chance to be promoted to the majors with another club. Patrick Schuster is his name, and he is a left-handed pitcher. He had great numbers, but only pitched in the low minors. Bass, who was 2-0 with a 1.68 ERA his rookie season in San Diego has slipped a bit numbers wise, but figures to get plenty of innings in Houston, and may even be a candidate to be in the starting rotation.

The kicker, though, is that Bass is now a major league teammate of former Gold Sox catcher Max Stassi. Stassi made his major league debut with the Astros in August, but was hit in the face with a pitch in just his second game. He is on the club's 40-man roster, and at least is in contention for the backup job. Stassi and Bass did not wear a Gold Sox uniform at the same time, but this means the two could be battery mates in the bigs. After Stassi sent a tweet to Bass welcoming him aboard, Anthony's reply was “I like to throw fastballs.” ESPN didn't report that, but around here, that's much bigger news than anything on Baseball Tonight.

The early bird, etc: Earlier doesn't always mean better, and you can tell that to the Gold Sox organization. According to the team website, Opening Night for the 2014 season will be Thursday May 22 against the San Mateo Rounders—the earliest opener ever. The last two times May 22 was on a Thursday (2003 and 2008), the season began the following week on May 29. An earlier start also means an earlier finish, but unless the NCAA calendar has changed, it also likely means an extra weekend of “fill in” players.

Blue notes: The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't trade Matt Kemp or get David Price, but they did sign Juan Uribe to a two-year deal. He wanted three, and the Dodgers wanted to give him one plus a club option...Uribe will play third, but Mark Ellis will not play second. He has agreed to a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. The next Cuban phenom Alexander Guerrero will likely play second, but he is a natural shortstop. Those in the know say his bat is just as good if not better than Yasiel Puig's, but his (lack of) fielding at second could keep him the minors on Opening Day...It looks like lefty reliever J.P. Howell is staying. He wanted three years, but it looks like he's going to get two.

Add Dodgers: Eric Collins and Steve Lyons will not be back as Dodger broadcasters next year. The two, who have filled in for Vin Scully the last several years when the team is on the road east of Phoenix, did not have their contracts renewed. The Dodgers will be on a new team-owned cable network this year, and have hired former Dodgers Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra as commentators. Roles have not been announced yet, but is seems like Charley Steiner would do play-by-play on television in Scully's absence with Hershiser, with Rick Monday likely to get some radio play-by-play with Garciaparra as the sidekick. We'll see.

Who?: I know its not baseball, but at halftime of the Army-Navy football game Saturday, CBS' Tracy Wolfson interviewed Army head coach Rich Ellerson, who called her “Jackie.” Ellerson was fired the next day, but most likely not because he didn't know who the CBS sideline reporter was. Army was 3-9 and hasn't beaten arch-rival Navy in 12 years.

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