And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Reds 7, Nationals 0: Johnny Gomes (Johnny Gomes?) hits three homers and Bronson “Flintstones kids, ten million strong and growing
Arroyo throws a two-hit shutout. Obviously his best game of the season,
so maybe he decided to use his one DUI last night. Hey man, he earned
it.

Tigers 2, Red Sox 0: Justin Verlander (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K)
helps the Tigers salvage one. He also hit Chris Woodward twice, but no
benches cleared and no punches were thrown because, hey, it’s just
Chris Woodward.

Rockies 10, Pirates 1: Yesterday I complained about Josh
Beckett’s possible Cy Young. No such worries about Jason Marquis,
though. Sure, he has the wins, but there are a lot of guys pitching
much better than him overall who are close enough in the oh-so-critical
win column and who pitch for contenders (e.g. Lincecum, Carpenter,
Cain, Wainwright). I don’t think that even baseball writers are dumb
enough to overlook all of them and give Jason Marquis an award. But
hey, he did pitch well yesterday (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).

Royals 5, Twins 4: Joe Mauer was 2-4 with a homer and four RBI,
but it wasn’t enough as (a) no one else on his team knocked anyone in;
and (b) Carl Pavano allowed 5. The Royals take the series 2-1, which is
their first win since the signing of the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. At
least it seems like it.

Phillies 6, Cubs 1: And the sweep. Cliff Lee, he’s pretty good (8 IP, 6 H. 1 ER, 8K). Easily the best pickup for Philadelphia this year. In any sport.

Rangers 4, Indians 1: A day game, but they replayed it on STO
last night. AMC was showing “Major League” at the same time. I don’t
think I need to tell you which one I watched. Kind of wished I had
watched the seventh and eighth of this one, though, as Neftali Feliz
struck out five guys in those two innings of relief work. Gotta love
that Mark Teixeira trade!

Brewers 12, Padres 9: Prince Fielder and Mike Rivera each had
two dingers, and Ryan Braun launched one too. They needed it all,
though, as despite jumping out to a 9-0 lead, they never really put the
Padres away until the very end. According to the game story, Fielder
and Braun wouldn’t talk to the media after the game, choosing instead
to defy the requests of the Brewers’ P.R. department and hide in the
meal area that is off limits to reporters. What gives with those guys?
As the season goes on, they seem to get gotten pissier and pissier.

Yankees 11, Mariners 1: CC Sabathia (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER. 10K) and
Hideki Matsui (4-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI) beat the tar out of the Mariners. Ian
Snell: “That lineup is just stupid. They shouldn’t be allowed to have a
lineup like that, but that is why their payroll is what it is. That is
a lineup nobody in the National League has.”

Marlins 9, Astros 2: Every couple of weeks I come across a game
about which I find nothing interesting. Nine out of ten times it’s an
Astros game, though I have no idea why. In light of coming across yet
another one, I’m going to note that I am currently re-reading Leo
Durocher’s Nice Guys Finish Last (which is being re-released very soon).
I’ll further note that, on the first page of the book, Leo talks about
all of the various ways he, his teammates and his opponents cheated
throughout their careers. He sums it up by saying “If you get away with
it, fine. If you don’t, what have you lost? . . . Win any way you can
as long as you can get away with it.” I sit here this morning wondering
why, then, we’re all so shocked and sanctimonious about everything that
has transpired in the past few years.

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, Joe 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.