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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Articles tagged: Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle goes off about ‘disgusting’ wages for minor league players

Sean Doolittle

Professional baseball players at the minor league level often have to struggle to make a living as they pursue their MLB dreams, and Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle thinks the system baseball has in place for paying players who are working their way up is “disgusting.”

In his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s “Grant & Danny Show,” Doolittle unloaded on teams for not paying minor league players enough. He said he was fortunate enough to have a financial safety net from being a first-round pick but that he has seen the pay scale “break a lot of guys.”

“The pay in the minor leagues, I think it’s terrible, it’s disgusting, it’s exploitative,” Doolittle said.

Doolittle spoke about how some players in the minors make such a small amount that they have to make a decision about what they want to do with their life “while this carrot is being dangled in front of you.” The issue is clearly one he is very passionate about.

“Maybe you only have a high school education, and it’s like, ‘Alright. Well do I want to put my life on hold for four more years while I go back to school and work towards getting a job? How do I do that?'” he added. “So, you know, you hang on as long as you possibly can.”

Part of the reason Doolittle was asked about pay in the minors is that his teammate, Adam Eaton, recently said he feels he is better off for having gone through tough times in the minors. He later clarified that he was only speaking from personal experience and said the wage scale could be “more fair.” Doolittle said fixing the problem starts with paying more.

While a lot of minor league players make far more than the average American, the overall discussion helps give more context into why Kyler Murray made the decision he made. The road to Major League Baseball is a long and difficult one, and oftentimes it is unfulfilled.

Sean Doolittle defends his toe tap delivery, thinks it should be legal

Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle sent a series of tweets on Sunday night in which he defended his delivery and argued that it should be legal.

The Washington Nationals closer became the center of attention after Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon complained about the reliever’s pitching motion during and after Saturday’s game between the teams. Maddon really just wanted to bring attention to the issue because he is upset his reliever, Carl Edwards Jr., was told in spring training that his similar move was illegal.

Here is a comparison of their movements as they pitch:

Edwards has a plant/pause and was told to change it. Doolittle has a tap.

Doolittle, who took a shot at Maddon over the complaints, wants MLB to clarify things and legalize his delivery.

Even though Maddon thinks the two are comparable, there is a big difference to me. Edwards’ plant includes much more deception, to the point that it crosses a line. The toe tap includes a much more of a natural flow and progression with the delivery. The rule states that a pitcher may not take a second step. Edwards was taking a second step; Doolittle was not.

Sean Doolittle jabs Joe Maddon over protest

Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle jabbed Joe Maddon after the Chicago Cubs manager filed a protest following Saturday’s game.

Doolittle pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the save in his Washington Nationals’ 5-2 win over the Cubs. Maddon came out twice during the ninth to complain about a toe tap the closer does during his delivery.

Maddon justified his protest, saying his reliever Carl Edwards Jr was told during spring training that he couldn’t do a similar toe tap. His argument is that if his guy can’t do it, why should another pitcher?

Doolittle thought something else was up. He thought Maddon was trying to throw him off and prove “how smart he is.”

Maddon has long been viewed as an outside-the-box thinker, which is why Doolittle was taking a shot at him over his intellectual ability. Maybe the protest wasn’t so much about Doolittle as pointing out hypocrisy in the rules.

Sean Doolittle explains jersey number change, plan to make it up to fans

Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle has quickly become one of the most popular players on the team over the past two seasons, but any merchandise that has been sold with his jersey number on it is suddenly outdated. The left-hander is trying his best to make that up to fans.

On Monday, Doolittle announced that he is changing from No. 62 to No. 63 this season. He said the number “carries a special significance” for his family and he decided to switch after leaving the Nationals to tend to a family emergency earlier this year.

Doolittle added that he understands fans have purchased jerseys and other items with his previous No. 62 on them, and he’s planning to give away some free stuff to help offset that.

The Nationals acquired Doolittle in a trade with the Oakland A’s back in 2017, and he has stabilized the back end of their bullpen since they made that deal. He was lights-out last season and converted 25 of 26 save opportunities, finishing the season with a 1.60 ERA and just 21 hits allowed in 45 innings. Doolittle has already proven he is a team-first guy with some remarks he made this year about Washington potentially bolstering its bullpen, and the fans have to appreciate him showing them some love as well.

Nationals closer would ‘welcome’ addition of Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel

Sean Doolittle would almost certainly lose his job as the closer of the Washington Nationals if the team ends up signing Craig Kimbrel, but the left-hander insists he would be perfectly content if that happened. In fact, he prefers it.

Doolittle, who slid into the closer role in Washington after he was acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s back in 2017, said this week that he has spoken with Nationals manager Dave Martinez about the possibility of Kimbrel joining the team. He says he already has a spot waiting for Kimbrel in the locker room.

You have to admire the team-first mentality, especially since Doolittle was lights-out as Washington’s closer last season. He finished the year with a 1.60 ERA and allowed just 21 hits in 45 innings, converting on 25 of 26 save opportunities.

Kimbrel will turn 31 in May, and teams have been hesitant to give him the type of deal he is seeking. While he was shaky in the postseason last year, he’s one of the best closers in MLB history and would further solidify the back of the Nationals’ bullpen. Now that Bryce Harper has signed elsewhere, they certainly have some extra money to spend.

Sean Doolittle shares insightful thoughts on social media dilemma

Sean Newcomb

Now that it has become a hobby for Twitter users to dig up racist, sexist, homophobic and other inappropriate things athletes wrote on social media years ago, many players are weighing in on what needs to change. If you ask Sean Doolittle, the problem isn’t just about people forgetting to clean up their old tweets.

On Monday, Doolittle posted an insightful thread on his personal Twitter account. The Washington Nationals reliever called for athletes — young and old — to be more responsible with comments they make and opinions they share publicly.

On Sunday, both Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb and Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner were forced to apologize after some offensive tweets they sent years ago resurfaced. You would think they would have learned after what happened to a star college basketball player during the NCAA Tournament. And if that wasn’t enough of a warning, the same exact thing happened to a fellow MLB player during the All-Star Game.

While it’s easy to excuse ignorant things athletes tweet when they’re teenagers, that doesn’t make them right. Doolittle’s thoughts on the issue make a lot of sense.

Sean Doolittle raves about benefits of using bullpen cart

Virtually no relievers have used the newly-available bullpen cart to enter the game, but the practice may well have one high-profile convert after Thursday night.

Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle became only the second pitcher in baseball to enlist the services of the cart against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he plans to do it again, feeling it actually helped him.

“A lot of times for me, controlling my breath, controlling my energy, is so important,” Doolittle said, via Mark Zuckerman of MASN. “And when you run in from a bullpen … I spend my eight or nine warmup pitches trying to slow my breath down, and not really getting that much out of the pitches. And here, I had less time when I got on the mound. I had 1 minute, 13 seconds. I looked up. But I wasn’t out of breath. My heart rate was up, just from throwing out in the pen. But I was in a better spot, energy-wise, I thought. So I loved it.

“I think there’s a practical thing to it. People are making a big deal out of it, and I’m like: ‘Why would I not conserve my energy before going into a game, in the biggest moment? Why would I not?’ I’ve been advocating for bullpen carts for a few years. I think they’re a good idea. I think there’s a practical application for them. So I had an opportunity to try it out, and I think it was great.”

The Diamondbacks were the first team to bring the cart back, and a few teams have followed, but they’ve seen virtually no use so far. Perhaps other players will take note of Doolittle’s praise and start a pro-cart revolution throughout the league.