The Plain Dealer has a story this morning about Indians’ closer Kerry Wood and the flashing red neon “trade bait” sign floating over his head. He makes $10.5 million this year on a team that doesn’t look to contend and which has no compunction about dumping salary. If he finishes 55 games, an $11 million option for next year vests. The odds of that coming to pass are akin to Damon’s Gold Glove contract incentive paying off.
In the meantime, he’s the Indians’ closer, and they’re going to try to get as much out of him as possible:
Acta says he’ll use Wood in more four-out save situations. He did it twice last year, saving one game and blowing another. “With Kerry’s experience as a starter, we feel he can handle that,” said Acta.
Said Wood, “We talked about that Monday. Manny said he’s not opposed to
a four or five-out save. Obviously, it won’t happen a lot, but I’m not
opposed to that.”
How sad is it that we’ve reached a point where a closer getting four or five outs is such an oddity that it’s worth mentioning.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.