The Astros have reached a middle ground with outfielder Hunter Pence, agreeing Saturday on a one-year, $3.5 million contract for 2010. The talented 26-year-old requested $4.1 million and was offered $3.1 million when arbitration figures were exchanged on Tuesday. He hit .282/.346/.472 last season with 25 home runs, 26 doubles, 72 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
The deal leaves the Astros with only two remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players: left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak and left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez. AOL Fanhouse’s Ed Price “tweeted” Friday that Houston management is “said to be unwilling to do multi-year deals with any of their
arbitration-eligible” players. You know, just in case the fellas were wondering. Fight on, Drayton McLane.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: