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MLB links - Levi Stoudt struggles, The Las Vegas Athletics, & Fernando Tatis, Jr. returns

Thursday baseball links!

Tampa Bay Rays v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Spot-starting is incredibly difficult, the knowledge of your pending departure just as present as that of your call-up. Making a Major League Baseball debut has to be the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime. Couple those things with facing the powerhouse Tampa Bay Rays in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks known to man and...well, you probably end up with Levi Stoudt’s outing yesterday for the Cincinnati Reds.

Stoudt, who joined the Reds from Seattle in the deal that sent Luis Castillo a few hours closer to the eastern hemisphere, was shelled for 6 runs in his opening inning of work, eventually settling in for 4.0 IP of 9 H, 7 ER ball. Said outing served as an extra-day buffer for Hunter Greene after he was hit on the shin in his most recent outing, as Stoudt bought a day to push back the entire rotation for some extra R&R.

The hope is that yesterday serves as no more than a blip on the radar for Stoudt and not a requiem, as he’s long been a guy whose numbers haven’t exactly jumped off the page across the minors. A career 4.11 ERA and, perhaps more importantly, a modest 2.55 K/BB in over 200 IP in his minors career doesn’t exactly scream long-time big leaguer, but the hope is that his stuff plays up better than his overall numbers eventually.

Eventually, though, sadly was not yesterday.

In other baseball news, Fernando Tatis, Jr. returns to eligibility today for the 9-11 San Diego Padres and will surely be inserted back into both the Padres lineup and my fantasy team’s lineup immediately. Tatis, Jr. posted 13.6 fWAR from 2019-2021 - 3rd most in all of baseball despite playing some 75 fewer games than Juan Soto, the leader of the pack in that time - but has missed all games since with a busted wrist from a motorcycle accident and an 80 game suspension for PEDs. His 153 wRC+ was second only to Soto in that span, but since missing that time we’ll now see Tatis, Jr. slid somewhere into the outfield to accommodate what his teammates have achieved in his absence, a move off the shortstop position where he thrived enough initially to ink that gargantuan $340 million deal.

It’s still worth pointing out that at just 24 years and 108 days old, Tatis, Jr. is still some 391 days younger than Spencer Steer, for reference. The Reds head to San Diego in about a week and a half.

The Oakland Athletics, who have been looking for somewhere to play baseball permanently outside the crumbling Oakland Coliseum seemingly since the moment they first moved into the joint, have agreed officially to buy land on the outskirts of Las Vegas, as Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Journal relayed yesterday. Akers has quotes from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred effectively applauding the move, which is as good of an indiciation that this move will cement itself as the final piece of professional sports vacating Oakland altogether.

Following the departure of the Raiders (also to Las Vegas) and the Golden State Warriors (across the bay to San Francisco), Oakland has now lost three pro sports franchises in a five year window, as Robert Zeglinksi points out at For The Win. This isn’t the Vancouver Grizzlies up and relocating after simply existing in mediocrity for a handful of years, either - each of that trio of clubs hung banners and won titles with periods where they were the most elite clubs in their sports on the planet. Such is the power of new stadiums, which in a world where each of these franchises are billion-dollar businesses serve as effective corporate headquarters. And when one place is going to fork over all the financial incentives they can pull out of their pockets to build a new corporate headquarters, well, that’s just what’s going to happen anymore.

Surely that’s not at all relevant to a team that hasn’t so much as won a postseason series in almost 28 years, who hasn’t won a title in pushing 33 years, and whose stadium is already 20 years old - older than 7 other National League ballparks housing teams today.