Cardinals offer arbitration to Holliday, Pineiro, and DeRosa

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St. Louis has offered arbitration to Matt Holliday, Joel Pineiro, and Mark DeRosa while passing on Troy Glaus. Obviously the Holliday decision was a no-brainer, but there was quite a bit of speculation that the Cardinals might pass on offers to Pineiro or DeRosa.
Both players are Type B free agents and the Cardinals wanted to secure draft picks if they sign elsewhere, but the risk is that Pineiro and DeRosa may simply accept one-year deals via arbitration. Of course, that’s hardly a bad thing. And it’s not very likely, either.
Pineiro is coming off a career-year, thriving under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan while going 15-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 214 innings. His minuscule strikeout rate and spotty track record make a regression likely for 2010, but the Cardinals should be happy to welcome him back for a one-year commitment and odds are that at least a few teams will offer him multi-year deals.
DeRosa may have a harder time finding a multi-year contract because he struggled through a wrist injury while batting just .250/.319/.433 in 139 games and turns 35 years old soon. Still, he seems likely to get a two-year deal somewhere and if not retaining him for a one-year commitment would hardly be disastrous for St. Louis. In fact, generally speaking teams are far too risk-averse when it comes to offering arbitration to solid veterans.
Unless there are some significant payroll limitations in place and the player accepting arbitration would throw the entire offseason plan out of whack, the possibility that a solid veteran will accept a one-year deal is often a positive thing. When the Cardinals acquired DeRosa from the Indians at midseason they’d surely have jumped at the chance to lock him up for 2010 at a reasonable price, and that’s exactly what the “downside” to offering him arbitration entails.

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez killed in a boating accident

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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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.

The Nationals are NL East champs once again

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after clinching the National League East Division Championship after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park on September 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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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  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.