Are the Phillies a better team without Burrell?

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Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times writes that the Phillies say they are a better team without Pat Burrell, however his former teammates steer clear of actually saying that.



“I can’t say it’s the right move,” (Jimmy) Rollins said. “It’s not a wrong move. It was really just a business decision.”



“That’s probably not a fair question,” rightfielder Jayson Werth said.
“Pat always will be missed around here, but, that said, we made a great
addition with Raul Ibanez. He filled a great void not only in leftfield
but in the clubhouse.”




General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. took
some criticism when he signed Ibanez to a three-year, $31.5 million
contract last December, but the 37-year-old outfielder responded by
batting .272/.347/.552 with a career-high 34 homers to go along with 93
RBI. Meanwhile, Burrell, who signed a two-year, $16 million contact
with the Rays, struggled with a neck condition, batting just
.221/.315/.367 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI.




Ibanez was a legitimate MVP
candidate in the first-half, but after the All-Star break, he and
Burrell were below average offensively:




Ibanez: .232/.326/.448 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and a .774 OPS



Burrell: .212/.292/.383 with 10 home runs, 36 RBI and a .675 OPS



There’s no way to know how the
Ibanez contract will look this time next year, as he continues to age,
but for now, it looks like Amaro made the right move.




Ibanez is batting .226/.333/.387 with one home run and nine RBI in his first postseason appearance since 2000.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.