When productive veteran outfielders like Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye are having trouble finding work it makes sense that not-so-productive veteran outfielders like Darin Erstad may be headed for retirement.
Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register recently spoke the Erstad, who “sounded like a happy father, perfectly content if he never plays another major-league game.” Here’s more from the 36-year-old who hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2004:
I’m at peace with with whichever way it goes. Things can happen in a hurry. I’m just staying in shape and keeping an open mind to anything. At this point, I’m just living life. I’m going to be ready if it comes. If not, I’m going to be the best dad I can be. I’m pretty sure if I don’t sign with anyone, I’m still going to be pretty busy in March.
Erstad remains a good defensive outfielder, but his bat has gone from overrated and mediocre to just plain bad. He hit .194 in 150 plate appearances off the Astros’ bench last season and has batted .247/.299/.344 in 374 games over the past four years. During that time the only outfielders with more plate appearances and a lower OPS are Joey Gathright and Carlos Gomez.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.