Sep 24, 2013, 7:00 AM EST
Pirates 2, Cubs 1: And with that the Pirates are going to the playoffs. It’s so strange, though, how even though it’s the franchise that has lost for the past 20 years — even though it’s just the laundry which has been shut out so long — that we sort of passively put all that weight on the current members of the Pirates too. Weight that Andrew McCutchen talked about after the game:
“Even though I didn’t lose for the last 20 years, they make you feel like you are. You feel like you lost those 20 years”
That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it. McCutchen was six years old when Sid Bream slid into home plate in the 1992 NLCS, yet pressure has been put on him simply because he got drafted by the Pirates instead of, say, the Giants. The Reds clinched yesterday too and are back to the playoffs. No one asks, say, Shin-Soo Choo about any weight being removed even though he’s just as much of a playoffs newbie as McCutchen is. Oh well.
Reds 3, Mets 2: Like I said, the Reds clinched too, this on a Shin-Soo Choo single in the 10th, but it was a very different scene afterward. No champagne or anything, as they want the division title and seeing the Cardinals beat the Nats a bit after their game ended made that a half game harder to do.
Cardinals 4, Nationals 3: The Nats get eliminated. Proof that you can’t just sleepwalk for four and a half months and then step on the gas for a while and expect it all to be OK. Proof that preseason expectations and predictions mean nothing. Proof that when someone — like a lot of us around here — adds “on paper” to comments about how good a team looks in March it’s probably close to meaningless. Meanwhile the Cardinals are tied with the Braves for the best record in the National League. Whichever of those teams prevails in this regard gets to avoid the Dodgers in the NLDS, so yeah, there are still things to be decided in the NL.
Rays 5, Orioles 4: What an awful day for the Orioles. They lost on a James Loney walkoff homer, get swept in four games and lose Manny Machado and Alexi Casilla to serious injuries. The Rays are a game up on Cleveland for the top wild card spot. The O’s are all but eliminated.
Twins 4, Tigers 3: The Tigers could’ve clinched the central but the wheels fell off late. Lots here which suggests what kind of trouble the Tigers could have in the playoffs, though. Justin Verlander had a dominant stretch of strikeouts — he finished with 12 in six innings — but inefficiency prevented him from going deep into the game. This exposed the Tigers bullpen for too many innings and led Jim Leyland to go to closer Joaquin Benoit for a five-out save which just wasn’t happening. Today is another day to clinch, but I feel like there are reasons to be concerned.
Brewers 5, Braves 0: Atlanta played much like a team that had spent the previous night shooting champagne into each others’ faces. Marco Estrada tossed seven shutout innings and Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy homered.
Athletics 10, Angels 5: Not all teams which celebrated Sunday looked flat on Monday. Five wins in a row for Oakland, which benefited from Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss homers and RBI from seven different A’s.
Royals 6, Mariners 5: Alex Gordon keeps the Royals’ hopes alive. He gunned down a runner at the plate in extra innings and then scored on Salvador Perez‘s two-out double in the 12th to put KC ahead for good. The Royals are still a longshot, though. Three back with six to play and, unlike the Rangers, all of their remaining games are on the road.
Marlins 4, Phillies 0: This could’ve been Roy Halladay‘s final start for the Phillies. And, though he has said he will pitch again next year, the way he looks it could be his final start in major league baseball. He faced only three batters, walking two, and couldn’t break 83 on the gun. This is pretty sad to watch.
White Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: Tiger got to hunt, Bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, “Why, why, why?” Sox got to pitch, Jays have to bat, Man got to Jays fans have to ask where their Leafs’ schedule’s at. Why no, I didn’t read Charles J. Shields’ quite excellent biography of Kurt Vonnegut over the weekend. Why do you ask?
Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1: My Friday and Monday absences were occasioned by a trip to San Diego for a wedding. While there I got to take in Sunday’s game at Petco. And hang out and walk on the beach and eat In-N-Out Burger and good tacos and drink good beer at Karl Strauss and see my brother and enjoy all of the good things Southern California has to offer while avoiding just about all of the bad things it has to offer, mostly because I didn’t go up near Los Angeles. Starting about 8AM yesterday, as I was enjoying a wonderful breakfast, I began my usual “wait, why don’t I live here again?” musings. I’ve been back in Ohio for about eight hours now and I’m still musing. Sigh. Oh, Padres beat the Dbacks. Apologies for the non-recap of that one. I was busy consulting real estate listings.
If Orioles don’t bring in new closer, Tommy Hunter the “clear favorite” to take over for Jim Johnson
Dec 21, 2013, 7:15 PM EST
The Orioles’ closer situation is well-publicized at this point, considering their signing-then-unsigning of Grant Balfour was in the headlines for a while, and we also learned they have talked with the Phillies about Jonathan Papelbon and have shifted their focus to free agent Fernando Rodney as well. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that, if the Orioles…
Dec 21, 2013, 6:21 PM EST
Another free agent domino fell earlier today as outfielder Shin-Soo Choo signed a seven-year, $130 million deal with the Rangers. With Choo gone, Nelson Cruz is the last remaining elite free agent hitter left on the board while Stephen Drew, Matt Garza, and Bronson Arroyo are some of the top remaining players beyond Cruz. With…
Dec 21, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
After nixing a reported two-year, $15 million deal with Grant Balfour due to concerns raised in a physical exam, the Orioles are moving quickly to secure an alternative for the closer role. Confirming reports from yesterday, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish hears that the Orioles are “being aggressive” in their pursuit to land free…
Dec 21, 2013, 4:17 PM EST
The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. While it was already unlikely that Nelson Cruz was going to return to Texas, this pretty much seals it. So the big question is, where will he land now? Bob Nightengale of USA Today has one guess: The…
Dec 21, 2013, 3:13 PM EST
The Nationals have signed veteran catcher Chris Snyder to a minor league contract, according to an announcement from the team. The deal includes a spring training invite. Snyder appeared in nine games with the Orioles this past season, but spent the majority of the season at the Triple-A level. The 32-year-old backstop hit .176/.295/.308 with…
Dec 21, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
After spending his entire pro career with the Brewers, Corey Hart signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Mariners earlier this month. In a classy gesture, he took out an ad in the local newspaper today to say thanks to the fans of Milwaukee and the Brewers organization for their support over the years.…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:35 PM EST
UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News are both reporting that the deal is worth $130 million. That’s $10 million less than the reported offer from the Yankees, but when you figure the tax difference between the states, Scott Boras actually did pretty well for his client here. Jeff…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
Matt Eddy of Baseball America passes along word that the Diamondbacks have signed 42-year-old catcher Henry Blanco to a minor league contract. Blanco spent time with the Blue Jays and Mariners this past season, batting just .142/.228/.246 with three home runs and 14 RBI over 150 plate appearances. He previously played with Arizona from 2011-2012.…
Dec 21, 2013, 10:50 AM EST
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins have signed Jordany Valdespin to a minor league contract. This confirms a report from Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper yesterday and also proves that Valdespin’s fashion sense is rather prophetic. Possibly the most-talked about .219 career hitter ever, Valdespin wore out his welcome in New York after a…
Dec 21, 2013, 10:09 AM EST
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the Twins have had discussions with at least one club about sending first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello to the Korean Baseball Organization. A move is no sure thing right now, as the Twins’ asking price to let him go is said to be “higher than normal,”…
Dec 21, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
UPDATE: According to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.com, Pill has reached an agreement with the KIA Tigers. 10:06 p.m. ET, Thursday: According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Giants first baseman/outfielder Brett Pill is in talks to play with the KIA Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization. Baggarly hears that the Giants already have a deal in…
Dec 21, 2013, 8:58 AM EST
Grant Balfour‘s contract with the Orioles was nixed over a disputed issue with his shoulder, but that messy situation isn’t scaring off one of his former teams. According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, the Rays “are in” on the All-Star closer. The Rays are somewhat of a logical…
Dec 20, 2013, 11:01 PM EST
Brian Kenny is not an official Baseball Hall of Fame voter. If he did have a vote, however, it’d go a little something like this: My HOF ballot: Maddux, Thomas, Raines, Biggio, Schilling, Martinez, McGriff, Glavine, Mussina, Trammell. @CHConfidential — Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny) December 20, 2013 In the interest of full disclosure: I do not…
Dec 20, 2013, 9:45 PM EST
The quickly souring four-year $50 million deal the Phillies gave Jonathan Papelbon two years ago, and the Orioles’ recent fiasco with Grant Balfour may make the two teams unexpected trade partners. MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Phillies and Orioles have discussed a trade involving closer Jonathan Papelbon. Kubatko adds that the Phillies would have…
Dec 20, 2013, 8:50 PM EST
Grant Balfour isn’t going to let this issue go silently into the night. After the Orioles backed out of a two-year, $15 million contract with Balfour, the right-hander said he is considering filing a grievance. He continued to defend himself, saying that he has multiple doctors on his side vouching for his health. He also…
Dec 20, 2013, 8:10 PM EST
If their latest action is any indication, the Indians’ decision to have catcher Carlos Santana work out at third base wasn’t just made on a whim. As Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reports, the Indians have sent infield coach Mike Sarbaugh down to the Dominican Republic to help Santana as he plays in winter…
Dec 20, 2013, 7:25 PM EST
The Phillie Phanatic is good for a laugh a majority of the time, whether he’s cavorting around Citizens Bank Park in his ATV, posing for pictures with fans in the stands, or rifling individually-wrapped hot dogs into the 400-level. The Phanatic, who hails from the Galapagos Islands (of Charles Darwinian fame), will be entering his…
Dec 20, 2013, 6:35 PM EST
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that free agent reliever Grant Balfour is considering filing a grievance over the Orioles’ recent decision to back out of a two-year, $15 million contract. Balfour contends he is as healthy as ever, and multiple doctors agree with him. It is very hard to see what the Orioles…
Dec 20, 2013, 6:00 PM EST
[Edit: The title originally included the word &concussion& rather than &collision&, which made Kapler look bad for something he didn't say. It was an unfortunate malapropism on my part. I apologize for the mistake.] Former Major Leaguer Gabe Kapler penned a thoughtful piece about the home plate collision issue over at FOX Sports. It’s nice…
Dec 20, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Earlier today the Orioles backed out of two-year, $15 million deal with closer Grant Balfour, citing concerns about Balfour’s shoulder. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Balfour today, and he says he’s 100%: Balfour tells me his MRIs, incl R shoulder, are the exact same as they were three years ago. “I’m…
- Where does Nelson Cruz go from here? 21
- Shin-Soo Choo agrees to seven-year, $130 million deal with Rangers 77
- Grant Balfour may file a grievance over Orioles’ decision to back out of contract 22
- Former Major Leaguer Gabe Kapler wants collisions to remain part of the game 43
- Carlos Beltran introduced by the Yankees, takes a shot at the Mets 40
- Hall of Fame voting expert: Greg Maddux makes it. No one else does. (105)
- I don’t know what the best baseball song is, but it ain’t John freakin’ Fogerty (101)
- Happy Birthday, Ty Cobb! (89)
- Shin-Soo Choo agrees to seven-year, $130 million deal with Rangers (77)
- ‘Tis the season for people acting incredibly dumb (74)