Potent quotables: Marathon edition

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It was too good to be true. As Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett matched
zeroes early on Friday, the game was moving along at an
abnormally brisk pace. But a funny thing capt.6443de45c8e84d5d8365bf47a31f0846.aptopix_red_sox_yankees_baseball_nyy209.jpghappened in the Bronx. The
teams forgot how to score a run. They went a combined 0-for-19 with
runners in scoring position. They struck out 14 times a piece.
They combined to use 14 pitchers. It took five hours and 33 minutes to
come to a conclusion. It was wonderful.

The game was everything we envision the postseason to be at it’s most dramatic, from Josh Reddick and Melky
Cabrera’s almost game-winners, to J.D. Drew’s game-saving catch to Alex
Rodriguez’s thrilling walk-off blast in the 15th. The new Yankee Stadium
may have opened in April, but this was it’s close-up.

Here’s just some of the reaction from Friday night’s 15-inning marathon:

“It was a big game at the beginning, and it just kept getting bigger
and bigger. You don’t want to go 15 innings and lose
those big pitching performances on both sides.”

– Alex Rodriguez, who sent Yankees’ fans home happy with his walk-off
blast. The game-winner broke a career-worst 72 at-bat homerless drought.

“I thought his poise was fantastic. We knew that, or he wouldn’t be here. That was certainly easing him into the fire.”

– Terry Francona comments on 23-year-old Junichi Tazawa, who gave up
the game-winning blast to Alex Rodriguez
in his major league debut.

“When he caught that ball, that’s when I thought the game was never going to end.”

– Derek Jeter marvels at J.D. Drew’s game-saving catch in the 14th inning.

“It’s one of those plays where it’s kind of a do-or-die situation. Guys on, [Eric] Hinske’s up, you make a beeline straight
across the field, stick your glove up, see what happens. I don’t know
how in the world it ended up in my glove.”

– J.D. Drew still doesn’t know how he caught that ball.

“It was awesome. It was an environment, really, I can’t
describe. You see the whole place pretty much full in the 15th. And to
come off the field and get that ovation, I’ve never experienced that
before. It was amazing.”

– A.J. Burnett showed that he is ready for the big stage. Battling
through a shaky first inning, Burnett matched Josh Beckett, tossing 7
2/3 shutout inning, allowing just a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tommy Hunter throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.