“Before, we were a good club that was gutsy. Now, we are a really good club with great guts.”
– Tony LaRussa, after the Cardinals
clinched their first NL Central title since 2006 with a 6-3 victory
over the Rockies on Saturday night.
“I’m not in a pennant race, but at least I have some pride. When you
get [to the clubhouse] and turn on a stupid-ass football game when
those [expletive] football players don’t give a [expletive] about you,
that’s embarrassing. We’ve got seven games [left]. They are going to
pull their [expletive] together, period. I don’t mind losing a game,
but when you lose a game and you don’t care about it, we are going to
have a problem. To get your asses kicked like that and all of a sudden,
you’re watching football games? That’s a bunch of [expletive].”
– Ozzie Guillen, after watching his
team blow a 5-0 lead in an eventual 12-5 loss to the Tigers on Saturday
night. The White Sox have dropped eight of their last 10 games.
“When was the last time a 40-year-old pinch-ran for a 39-year-old? That’s what I want to know.”
– Brad Ausmus, after he pinch-ran
for Jim Thome during Saturday’s 8-4 comeback win over the Pirates. With
the victory, the Dodgers secured a trip to the postseason, however,
their magic number to clinch the division is down to two.
“This is fun.
You don’t start making a big deal about it with a week [to go]. I’m not
trying to do that. We’ve got our own destiny in our own hands. That’s
just the way it is. You either do it or you don’t. And I feel very good
where we’re at, but you have to go out and win games.”
– Jim Leyland isn’t letting the
pressure of a pennant race get to him. With Saturday’s win over the
White Sox, The Tigers remain two games in front of the second-place
Twins with eight games left to play. They host a critical four-game
series against Minnesota on Monday.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.