The market for Jermaine Dye

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When Vladimir Guerrero agreed to terms with the Rangers on Saturday
night, it dealt a heavy blow to the market for free agent outfielder
Jermaine Dye. The Rangers maintained dialogue with Dye even as
they negotiated with Guerrero, offering both similar base salaries in
the area of the $3-5 million. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas
Morning News, manager Ron Washington met with Dye in California as recently as Friday.

Dye, who turns 36 later this month, now finds himself in a free agent
market with few remaining opportunities. Let’s take a quick look at a couple
possible fits.

Yankees: The World Champions
have denied interest in the past and Dye wouldn’t really fit in their
outfield — he’s only played 27 games in left field in his career and
rates as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the major leagues — but he
would come at half the price of Johnny Damon and projects as a powerful
right-handed bat off the bench or insurance for the oft-injured Nick
Johnson. That said, the versatile Jerry Hairston
Jr. would probably be a better fit for the team’s needs.

Giants: Probably the most
logical destination for the California-native, the Giants may be
willing to live with his shoddy defense if it means he can add some
punch to their lineup. There are a lot of moving parts in San
Francisco, as Mark DeRosa could possibly play third base with Pablo
Sandoval sliding over to first base and the recently re-signed Juan
Uribe returning to a super utility role. As it stands right now, the
Giants are still trying to sign a first baseman (they’ve been linked to
Adam LaRoche), a plan that would likely send DeRosa to the

Braves: It’s a sentimental
choice since Dye was originally drafted by the Braves in 1993, but
don’t count on it happening. His addition would not only cripple their
defense, but it would make their lineup too right-handed. It would also
block top prospect Jason Heyward, who has primarily played right field
in the minor leagues.

As you can see, not much out there. Dye’s value couldn’t be much lower
after his second-half collapse, but remember that he has hit at least
24 home runs in six out of the last seven seasons. Someone will take a
chance on a rebound.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.