And That Happened: Thursday scores and recaps

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Braves 7, Reds 0: Tommy Hanson shuts out the Reds over six
innings. Not that he was brilliant or anything. He threw a lot of
pitches, got into jams and all of the kind of stuff you see young kids
do. But it’s all good, because even when he’s been getting lit up like
a pinball machine, he has continued to play this game with fear and
ignorance. No wait, arrogance.

Padres 4, Mariners 3: The Padres jump on Adrian Gonzalez’s back
(4-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and finally win an interleague game. Don Wakamatsu
on pitching to Gonzalez: “He ends up hitting a home run and a double
when we are trying to pitch around him. That is the most frustrating
part.” Chris Jakubauskas on pitching to Gonzalez: “I wasn’t trying to
pitch around him.” OK, someone’s lying and no one is leaving this room
until we find out who it is.

Rockies 4, Rays 3: Jim Tracy on Ubaldo Jiminez: “Ubaldo is a guy
who is beginning to find his niche. I still believe there’s still
another step on the ladder that he aspires to take and that is to
become a bona fide ace-stopper type starting pitcher in the Rockies
rotation.” That was his real postgame quote? It sounds like a book
blurb or a marketing statement or something. I think the “in the
Rockies’ rotation” is what sealed it. It just sounds weird. Does Tracy
really talk like that?

Astros 5, Rangers 3: I was trying to make a funny yesterday when
I said that the loser of this series wins the State of Texas. I guess
it wasn’t too funny, though, because someone emailed me to tell me that
I was being both ignorant and disrespectful. That’s nothing new, but at
least the emailer educated me a bit. The winner of this series wins “The Silver Boot.”
It’s a a 30-inch tall, size-15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete
with a custom, hand-made spur. How very college football of them. I
wonder if the Rangers, who once again won the Silver Boot, came running
out of the dugout after the game, grabbed the boot and started whooping
it up like Wisconsin does with that axe after they beat Minnesota and vice-versa.

Tigers 6, Cardinals 3: Magglio rode the pine, and will continue to do so “indefinitely” according to Jim Leyland.
His replacement, Ryan Rayburn, was 0-3 and struck out twice. Game
story: “Albert Pujols grounded out as a pinch hitter for hot-hitting
rookie Colby Rasmus in the seventh and played first base the rest of
the game and flied out in the ninth. La Russa wanted to get him a day
off, plus he has a sore ankle.” Two at bats and a couple of innings in
the field doesn’t sound like much of a day off to me, but then again,
I’m not a genius like Tony La Russa.

Twins 5, Pirates 1: Nick Blackburn (CG, 6 H, 1 ER) was the man,
as he basically has been in the Twins rotation all year. After the
game, pitching coach Rick Anderson said “He’s basically been the
stabilizer.” So, is Blackburn’s new nickname “gelatin” or
“carrageenan?” That’s a little food additive humor for ya. Additives —
NOT preservatives.

Nationals 3, Yankees 0: A five and a half hour rain delay?
Really? Waiting around for this game to start lasted longer than the
travel and suit-up time a makeup game would have taken. This is fun too
“about 10,000 people were sprinkled around the ballpark for the first
pitch. When the Yankees announced fans could move down, there was a
stampede toward the $2,625 seats in the front row. By the end, the
upper deck and bleachers were virtually empty.” Part of me hopes that
the peasants ransacked the manor houses while their owners were away.

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 7: Rod Barajas hits the game winning home
run in the ninth. Apparently Barajas is hated in Philly despite having
played there for only one season and despite being Rod Barajas. Anyone
care to educate me as to the reason for the ire? Because from where I’m
sitting, this is the equivalent of Braves fans hating Paul Bako or
Charlie O’Brien or someone. How can the response to a guy like Barajas
— who played all of 48 games for the Phillies — be anything other
than slightly peeved indifference?

Orioles 5, Mets 4: Francisco Rodriguez and his tired act came
into the game to lock things down in the ninth, except they didn’t get
locked down. Matt Wieters doubled to kick things off. Dave Trembley
then sent in a pinch runner for him, and was amazingly allowed to live.
The pinch runner scored, so maybe it was all willed by Wieters that way
to begin with. In any event, an Adam Jones bases-loaded walk followed
by an Aubrey Huff liner ended the proceedings.

Cubs 6, White Sox 5: A wild come from behind win by the Cubbies.
Down 5-1 in the eighth, Derek Lee hit a three-run homer followed by a
solo shot from Geovany Soto to tie things up. In the ninth it was
Alfonso Soriano with an RBI single. If he didn’t get that, I wouldn’t
have been surprised to see Piniella give him the Magglio Ordonez
treatment.

Marlins 2, Red Sox 1: They called this one early due to rain.
Because it was the Red Sox, however, the game still took three hours
and twenty-six minutes.

Diamondbacks 12, Royals 5: After two great starts following his
second callup, Luke Hochevar reverted to May form, giving up seven runs
on nine hits in four innings. Danny Haren, meanwhile, held the Royals
to two runs on seven hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk in
seven innings.

Dodgers 3, A’s 2: Randy Wolf pitched well but got another
no-decision. Pfun Pfact: Vin Mazzaro is the first A’s pitcher with two
sacrifices in one game since Ken Holtzman on Aug. 27, 1972. I hate the
DH.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.