* Ivan Rodriguez is “on a mission” to get 3,000 hits,
but the odds are against him. He’s hitting a career-low .249 and still
needs 342 hits, so given his production over the past three seasons
Rodriguez likely needs to play in at least another 350-375 games even
if he avoids any further decline.
In other words, he’ll likely have to keep playing through the age of
40 while somehow convincing teams to give him starting jobs for 2010,
2011, and 2012. All of which is why there are zero catchers in the
3,000-hit club and Rodriguez is already the position’s all-time leader with “only” 2,658.
* Ozzie Guillen explained yesterday
that, unlike Lou Piniella, he’s never tried marijuana. “I never did
because I’m so crazy [that if] I might do that, I might be in jail
already,” Guillen said. “A lot of people think I’m on the stuff.”
* Bronson Arroyo is considering offseason wrist surgery
in order “to resume his recreational passion of playing the guitar.”
Meanwhile, there’s speculation that Eddie Van Halen may go under the
knife to improve his curveball.
* With impending free agent Adrian Beltre set to undergo shoulder
surgery that could knock him out for the season, Dave Cameron of U.S.S.
Mariner looks back at his ultimately underappreciated time in Seattle.
* Individual win-loss records are often so misleading that they become
meaningless, but Shairon Martis is 5-3 this season while the rest of
the Nationals are 17-48. So naturally he was dumped from the rotation and sent back to the minors yesterday.
* When on-field celebrations go wrong.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.