Jonny Gomes is still searching for a better offer

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General manager Walt Jocketty said today that he expects Jonny Gomes to accept or decline the Reds’ offer by Sunday. “He wants to come back, but he’s taking a last look at what’s out there,” Jocketty said.
It’s tough to blame Gomes for continuing to shop around, because despite hitting .267/.338/.541 with 20 homers in 314 plate appearances last season to rank second on the team in OPS behind Joey Votto the Reds have offered him only a minor-league deal. Worse yet, that seems to be his best offer.
Gomes would likely be able to secure a minor-league deal from multiple other teams, but no one seems willing to hand him guaranteed money or a 25-man roster spot and Cincinnati appears to be his best chance for playing time. By re-signing with the Reds he’d likely platoon in left field with Chris Dickerson, getting another 200-300 plate appearances in a role that maximizes his strength against left-handed pitching.
The market for defensively challenged right-handed hitters who’re best suited to platoon against lefties hasn’t been very strong this offseason, with Marcus Thames, Mike Sweeney, Robb Quinlan, and Kevin Millar signing minor-league deals, Ryan Garko, Andruw Jones, and Fernando Tatis getting under $1 million, and Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield still looking for work.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.