Roger Maris honored in North Dakota

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Roger Maris AP.jpgA billboard company in North Dakota has decided to give Roger Maris his due:

A North Dakota billboard company has erected a pair of
signs in Fargo honoring local hero Roger Maris, whose record 61 home
runs in 1961 have long been clouded with an asterisk.

Because he clubbed the homers in more games than Babe Ruth’s record
60, the baseball Hall of Fame has never recognized his feat, much less
admitted him to Cooperstown . . .The billboards feature a picture of Maris during his days as a New
York Yankee and the slogan, “Fargo’s Maris ‘Legitimate’ Home Run King.”

Apart from the fact that (a) there never was any asterisk applied to Maris’ record; (b) the Hall of Fame has most certainly recognized his feat; and (c) if the billboard copy mentioned above is accurate, this is a wonderful example of superfluous quotation marks, which always seem to warm my heart for some reason, this is just fine.  Certainly beats a big empty billboard with a “rent me” sign on it.

Blue Jays acquire Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals

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The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.

Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.

Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.

Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.

Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.