And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

Leave a comment

Pujols.jpgCardinals 12, Mets 7: Albert’s little slump appears to be over. Big shot in the 8th to bring the Cards closer, much bigger shot in the 10th — grand slam — to put the game out of reach. “I’m human. I’m not a machine,” said Pujols after the game. Sorry dude, I ain’t buyin’ it. Great moments in Mets history: Luis Castillo sprained his ankle after slipping on the dugout steps in the seventh inning. Apparently he was trying to avoid stepping on someone’s glove or something. I’m guessing it was Francoeur’s, mostly because I don’t like him and I want to believe it was his. Also because I don’t like Francoeur, I’ll note that he went 0-5, seeing a grand total of 12 pitches in those at bats.

Dodgers 17, Brewers 4: In a scene out of late-80s WCW, after the game, Prince Fielder ran through the underground tunnels to go put a hurt on Guillermo Mota in retaliation for a ninth-inning plunking. Fortunately for Mota’s health and Fielder’s wallet, he was stopped at the Dodgers’ clubhouse door (though I’m guessing he’s gonna get a fine anyway). No word on whether he had a folding chair with him. Kind of a bush league move on Fielder’s part, though, wasn’t it? I mean, everyone knows that if you’re going to go after a guy, you don’t do it in the clubhouse. You ambush him while he’s doing a standup interview with Tony Schiavone.

Braves 9, Padres 2: Martin Prado homered and drove in three runs and Matt Diaz hit a two-run homer as the Braves broke out the whuppin’ sticks in support of Javier Vazquez. Neither of these guys were the starters at their respective positions for most of the season. Prado certainly has been a marked improvement over Kelly Johnson and Diaz too, over Francoeur. Diaz did, however, perform a tribute to the departed Jeffy last night as, in addition to the homer, he hit into three double plays and struck out. Adam LaRoche was 4 for 4 and Garret Anderson was 3-5, adding to the hit parade. Adrian Gonzalez’s consecutive games streak was ended at 314.

Athletics 6, Rangers 0: Someone should detain the guy who started for the A’s last night and ask him what he has done with the real Gio Gonzalez. Whoever this impostor was, he lowered Gonzalez’s ERA a full run with this 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER performance. The pod people apparently got to Mark Ellis too, as he drove in three.

Orioles 8, Tigers 2: Welcome to the majors, Brian Matusz! The 2008 draftee gave up a run and six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out five. He had some nifty defensive help from Cesar Izturis too, as he dove to pluck a bases loaded grounder in the second to bail the kid out of a jam. Hit a homer too. Jarrod Washburn’s debut — for the Tigers, not in the majors, because he’s been there for a while — was not as nice (5.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER).

Giants 8, Astros 1: Jonathan Sanchez struck out eight in seven shutout innings, winning his first road game of the season. Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval hit back-to-back homers in the sixth and Aaron Rowand drove in three runs in an unusually potent Giants offensive attack.

Cubs 6, Reds 3: Pirates’ import Tom Gorzellany shuts down a Reds team that is on the fast track to oblivion. No one — and I mean no one — is playing as pathetically as this Reds team is right now.

Diamondbacks 6, Pirates 0: Yusmeiro Petit threw eight shutout innings and took a no-hitter into the eighth, when it was broken up by Ronny “Buzzkill” Cedeno.




White Sox 5, Angels 4: Scott Podsednik hit a two-out RBI single
in the bottom of the ninth as the Sox — fresh off of takin’ it to the
Yankees over the weekend, beat the red-hot Angels. Not that killing giants like that bodes well or anything.
Oh, and Bobby Jenks was unavailable for the game because he had to be
treated for a kidney stone, which is the kind of thing I wouldn’t wish
on my worst enemy.

Mariners 7, Royals 6: Ichiro started the game with a homer and
ended it with a pretty spiffy sliding catch in right. In between he
walked and got another hit, scoring each time. He’s pretty good, ya
know?

Rays 4, Red Sox 2: Walkoff bomb from Evan Longoria. An all or
nothing kind of night for him, as he hit another homer earlier, and
struck out in his four other times at the plate. Game story: “It was
the Rays’ longest game of the season and tied for the Red Sox’s longest
game in innings.” Which means that the Red Sox played a game longer
than 4:57 in less than 13 innings at some point this season. AL East
baseball: it’s fantastic!

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: The Sox loss and the Yankees’ win gives
the bombers some breathing room. A day after I say that you don’t see
many complete game losses anymore, Roy Halladay pitched a complete
game, but lost, giving up five runs on ten hits.

Rockies 8, Phillies 3: Thirty-two of the Rockies’ 59 wins have
come on the road this season. They didn’t used to do that sort of
thing. Game story: “Moyer extended his 10-start pattern of alternating
good starts and bad ones, with a subpar effort.” Maybe Manuel should
skip every other Moyer start. Or does it not work that way?

Nationals 6, Marlins 4: The Nats rallied for six in the eighth
inning, capped off with an Adam Dunn homer, to beat the fish. Dunn
pulled a Longoria in this one, striking out three times before
connecting. Wait, Dunn’s been doing that for years, so I guess Longoria
pulled a Dunn.

Twins 10, Indians 1: “Doubles are nice,” Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire said after the game. The Twins hit seven on them — three
from Joe Mauer — as the pound the Tribe. Scott Baker was on (7 IP, 3
H, 0 ER). David Huff was not (4.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER). Makes me wish that I
hadn’t already burned my “minute and a Huff” joke a couple of weeks
ago.

MLB Network airs segment listing “good” and “bad” $100 million-plus contracts

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
18 Comments

On Wednesday evening, Charlie Marlow of KTVI FOX 2 News St. Louis posted a couple of screencaps from a segment MLB Network aired about $100 million-plus contracts that have been signed. The list of “bad” contracts, unsurprisingly, is lengthier than the list of “good” contracts.

As Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus pointed out, it is problematic for a network owned by Major League Baseball to air a segment criticizing its employees for making too much seemingly unearned money. There’s a very clear conflict of interest, so one is certainly not getting a fair view of the situation. MLB, of course, can do what it wants with its network, but it can also be criticized. MLB Network would never air a similar segment in which it listed baseball’s “good” and “bad” owners and how much money they’ve undeservedly taken. Nor would MLB Network ever run a segment naming the hundreds of players who are not yet eligible for arbitration whose salaries are decided for them by their teams, often making the major league minimum ($545,000) or just above it. Similarly, MLB Network would also never think of airing a segment in which the pay of minor league players, many of whom make under $10,000 annually, is highlighted.

We’re now past the halfway point in January and many free agents still remain unsigned. It’s unprecedented. A few weeks ago, I looked just at the last handful of years and found that, typically, six or seven of the top 10 free agents signed by the new year. We’re still at two of 10 — same as a few weeks ago — and that’s only if you consider Carlos Santana a top-10 free agent, which is debatable. It’s a complex issue, but part of it certainly is the ubiquity of analytics in front offices, creating homogeneity in thinking. A consequence of that is everyone now being aware that big free agent contracts haven’t panned out well; it’s a topic of conversation that everyone can have and understand now. Back in 2010, I upset a lot of people by suggesting that Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125 million contract with the Phillies wouldn’t pan out well. Those people mostly cited home runs and RBI and got mad when I cited WAR and wOBA and defensive metrics. Now, many of those same people are wary of signing free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer and they now cite WAR, wOBA, and the various defensive metrics.

The public’s hyper-sensitivity to the viability of long-term free agent contracts — thanks in part to segments like the aforementioned — is a really bad trend if you’re a player, agent, or just care about labor in general. The tables have become very much tilted in favor of ownership over labor over the last decade and a half. Nathaniel Grow of FanGraphs pointed out in March 2015 that the players’ share of total league revenues peaked in 2002 at 56 percent, but declined all the way to 38 percent in 2014. The current trend of teams signing their talented players to long-term contract extensions before or during their years of arbitration eligibility — before they have real leverage — as well as teams abstaining from signing free agents will only serve to send that percentage further down.

Craig has written at great length about the rather serious problem the MLBPA has on its hands. Solving this problem won’t be easy and may require the threat of a strike, or actually striking. As Craig mentioned, that would mean getting the players all on the same page on this issue, which would require some work. MLB hasn’t dealt with a strike since 1994 and it’s believed that it caused a serious decline in interest among fans, so it’s certainly something that would get the owners’ attention. The MLBPA may also need to consider replacing union head Tony Clark with someone with a serious labor background. Among the issues the union could focus on during negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement: abolishing the draft and getting rid of the arbitration system. One thing is for sure: the players are not in a good spot now, especially when the league has its own network on which it propagandizes against them.