Remember when I said that the Yankees and Mets should be treated like movie slashers when it comes to the pursuit of a free agent? That you can’t count them out until they’re truly, truly dead, and that even then you should pour gasoline on the corpse and light it just to be sure? I should have included the Red Sox in that, because this is what I meant:
The Red Sox, who maintained radio silence before signing free-agent pitcher John Lackey and were almost as circumspect in their pursuit of free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre before signing him, are conducting another stealth operation, this time
in their attempts to sign Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman.
Contrary to reports that have pegged the Angels and Blue Jays as
favorites to sign the 22-year-old pitcher, the Red Sox remain very much
in the picture, one major league executive predicting that either the
Sox or Yankees will sign him.
They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse or fear. And they absolutely will not stop until they have signed all the big free agents.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.