Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has an update on the Yankees’ odds of re-signing Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui:
Multiple sources have indicated that the Yankees would like to bring Johnny Damon back on a two-year deal, but Hideki Matsui’s time in pinstripes is likely over as they would prefer to keep the DH slot open for Damon, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada.
Should Damon bolt for a new team, however, Matsui could be brought back on a short-term deal to remain the Bombers’ DH, since Cashman has made it clear he no longer considers the World Series MVP to be an outfielder, even on a part-time basis.
Last week Scott Boras suggested that Damon is looking for a four-year deal, but like many things said by the hyperbole-fueled agent that has zero chance of happening. Damon hasn’t lost anything offensively and has played at least 140 games in 14 straight seasons, but he turned 36 years old earlier this month and has seen his range in the outfield diminish significantly to go along with his always horrendous throwing arm.
With that said, Feinsand speculates that the Yankees are unlikely to jump heavily into the mix for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, and Damon is one of the best options among the second-tier outfielders in a weak crop of free agents. If not him and not Matsui, then the Yankees would be left to choose from other aging veterans like Vladimir Guerrero and Jermaine Dye. A two-year deal seems like a worthwhile fit for both sides.
Horrible news: Miami Marlins ace starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boat crash off of Miami Beach late last night.
No details have been released yet, apart from the fact that Fernandez was one of three people killed. The Marlins have issued a statement confirming Fernandez’s death, stating that the organization is devastated and that their thoughts and prayers were with Fernandez’s family. Today’s Marlins game against the Braves has been canceled.
Fernandez was only 24 years old. Though only in his fourth season in the majors, he was easily one of the best and most exciting pitchers in the game. In his four seasons he won 38 games and posted a fantastic ERA of 2.58 while striking out 11.2 batters per nine innings. He was an electric presence on the mound and was poised to become one of baseball’s most highly-paid and entertaining superstars.
His baseball exploits seem trivial now, however. His loss at such a young age, tragic. Our thoughts today are with Fernandez’s family, the Marlins organization and those who knew and loved him.
Another day, another division title in the bag. The Nationals coasted to a 6-1 finish over the Pirates on Saturday evening; coupled with a Mets’ loss later that night, the NL East title was theirs for the third time since 2012.
The Nationals put up a three-spot in the first and fourth innings, scoring five of six runs on productive outs while Washington starter Joe Ross tossed 2 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in his second start off the disabled list. Prior to the game, manager Dusty Baker seemed reluctant to delegate a set number of pitches to the right-hander, opting instead to base Ross’s workload on his performance.
Washington’s bullpen carried the team the rest of the way, combining for 6 ⅓ scoreless frames to preserve their five-run lead. When Anthony Rendon snared a liner from Andrew McCutchen to end the game, all eyes turned to the clubhouse TVs:
Murphy had sufficient cause for worry: After trailing 10-0 through four innings, the Mets returned with an eight-run drive that culminated with Jay Bruce‘s solo shot in the ninth inning. Had Bruce hit the home run after Philadelphia closer Michael Mariot issued a pair of walks, and not before, the Mets would have edged out the Phillies, 11-10. Instead, their late-game rally ended on a fastball down the middle, and the Phillies’ 70th victory confirmed the Nats’ place atop the NL East.
While Max Scherzer donned his two-toned goggles and Bryce Harper braved the champagne showers in U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky’s swim cap, Baker was already thinking about Sunday’s start. Against the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, Baker announced his plans to start 24-year-old A.J. Cole, whose seven starts have yielded a 4.68 ERA and 0.2 fWAR in 32 ⅔ innings this year.
Cole hasn’t displayed the sharpest stuff in his sophomore season, touting a high 3.03 BB/9 and 1.93 HR/9, but with the division locked down and the Cubs in sole possession of home field advantage through the NLCS, the Nationals have bigger concerns as the playoffs draw near.