Yordano Ventura was at the center of another bench-clearing brawl on Tuesday when the Kansas City Royals right-hander drilled Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado.
Fights where Ventura is the centerpiece are really nothing strange for Kansas City, whose patience with their pitcher is apparently growing thin.
“There is a reason why his catcher didn’t sprint to stop the lurching Machado, why his manager admitted after the game that the Royals have grown weary of him, why, according to executives from two teams, the Royals within the past month have offered Ventura up in trade talks,” via, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. “For an act this tired, the performance must validate it, and the chasm between Ventura’s performance and potential is grand.”
Ventura’s act is certainly getting old. In three straight 2015 starts, he was right in the middle of bench-clearing incidents. The first with the Los Angeles Angels, the second with the Oakland Athletics, and the third with the Chicago White Sox.
Throw this brawl with the Orioles in and we have four bench-clearing incidents in a little more than a year. Ventura is the only common denominator.
Now, a Ventura backer might be inclined to point out that he’s far from the only pitcher in baseball who shows a temper on the mound.
It’s not uncommon to see the benches clear in Madison Bumgarner starts simply because the San Francisco Giants lefty doesn’t like the reaction of his opponent leaving the batter’s box.
As ridiculous as that is, there are two big differences.
One, those rarely ever amount to anything more than shouting matches that may feature a shove or two once the benches clear. Yes, it’s immature and stupid, but it falls solidly into the “boys will be boys” category.
Two, Bumgarner is a star, consistently ranking as one of the best pitchers in the game. Ventura is a different story.
Yordano Ventura's stats have declined in each of the past few seasons. pic.twitter.com/IlCpsRCq9Y
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) June 8, 2016
Those aren’t exactly star numbers, and worse than that, they’re moving in the wrong direction.
It’s worth noting that MLB.com’s Jeffery Flanagan is reporting the Royals are denying that Ventura is on the block.
This is to be expected. No team should be publicly stating its desire to trade a player, and given Ventura’s immense talent, trading him is not something to be taken lightly.
The problem is that even in public settings, Kansas City’s players and coaches aren’t exactly defending their player. Generally, guys within the clubhouse will stand 100 percent behind their teammates in public, even if there are genuine issues behind closed doors. When that doesn’t happen, there’s a sign that something is wrong.
Additionally, Ventura may need to be moved to spark his talent. It’s hard to get someone to change his ways when he’s never been punished them.
Getting traded from a team as good as the Royals could certainly be construed as punishment. In this case, it may be what Yordano Ventura needs. Otherwise, his career could remembered for nothing but brawls and untapped potential.