And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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White Sox 5, Rays 0: Nice game for Josh Fields (1-4, grand
slam). Scott Kazmir’s nightmare season continues. Rumors have him on
the trading block to free up some salary for the Rays to get Lee or
someone. What a difference a year makes. Wait, why are you looking at
me like that? Did something else happen in this game worthy of comment?

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: And with that, the AL Central is tied.
Perfect game juju gives the Sox the momentum, though (that’s how that
works, right?). And how about Jarrod Washburn? Walk a few less guys,
strike a few more guys out, and bammo — you’re ending July at 8-6 with
a 2.71 ERA.

Giants 5, Braves 1: It makes total sense that the Braves hit Tim
Lincecum like he’s Derek Lilliquist and then get shut down by Barry
Zito (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). You’re not going to believe this, but Bobby Cox
was ejected. Strange, though. It was only about 80 degrees and the game
was tied. He usually saves that sort of thing for the really hot days
when the game’s outcome is no longer in doubt. Unlike almost all of his
other ejections it’s possible that he was really upset here.

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: You can leave in a taxi. If you can’t get a taxi, you can leave in a Huff
(7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER). If that’s too soon, you can leave in a minute and
a huff. You know, you haven’t stopped talking since I came here? You
must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Phillies 9, Padres 4: It strikes me that a lot of that “but the Phillies need
Roy Halladay” talk implicitly assumes that Cole Hamels is going to
continue to be a 4.80ish kind of pitcher all year, and I can’t say I’m
sure why people think that. No, the Padres aren’t exactly a formidable
test, but I have this feeling that this fall’s Cole Hamels is going to
look an awful lot like last fall’s Cole Hamels.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Rain put an end to this one early, as
the field became an unplayable mess. Tony La Russa on the conditions
and the grounds crew’s efforts: “You can’t try harder than that —
whether it’s the grounds crew or the umpire. Mother Nature is always
stronger than anybody.” I’d call that profound if I thought he believed
it. Let’s be honest: if there’s a manager in baseball who spends his
offseason building weather-controlling satellites and wishes to one day
destroy the sun itself, it’s Tony La Russa. The man is not exactly the
type to simply defer to nature or anything else. Pfun Pfact: Cards GM
John Mozeliak was on NPR yesterday afternoon being interviewed about
the fact that the team plans on taking the train from D.C. to Philly in
advance of tonight’s game, which is kind of cool. To get in the
era-of-train-travel mood they should all wear suits and smoke too.

Yankees 6, A’s 3: ESPN’s little “Fast facts” box
said “The Yankees came back from four runs down to win their seventh
straight game . . . New York trailed 4-0 before scoring four runs in
the fourth inning.” What happened? Did New York have to begin the game
with -1 runs for some reason, or was Oakland docked one?

Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 4: In a rare events, the Dbacks scored
a lot in a Dan Haren start. Unfortunately for Dan, most of the runs
came after he left the game, so he got a no-decision. Chad Tracy hit a
pinch-hit three-run homer that broke the game open. I have this feeling
that it will not, however, inspire the kind of ruckus Manny Ramirez’s
did the day before.

Angels 6, Twins 5: Howie Kendrick hit one up the middle in the
ninth that ricocheted off of Joe Nathan’s glove and then hit the second
base bag, preventing anyone from making what would have been a
game-ending play and allowing the tying run to score. Not a hell of a
lot you can do about that if you’re the Twins except to hope you don’t
miss the playoffs by one game this year and spend all winter thinking
about stupid bounces.

The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto’s agent

AP Photo/David Goldman
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.

Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.

Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.

As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.

Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is reportedly trying to trade Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe

Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.

Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.

Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.

Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.