2008 first-round pick Ike Davis hit a long grand slam in the bottom of the eighth Thursday as the Mets beat the Cardinals 17-11 in early Grapefruit League action.
The bomb made up for an error the previous half-inning that helped the Cardinals score four times and get within one run of the Mets in 11-10.
It was already the second error for Davis this spring, as he failed to get in front of a grounder today. On Tuesday, he let a throw get by him at first base. Davis, though, has gone 4-for-6 with two walks at the dish as he attempts to give the Mets something to think about at first base. Daniel Murphy is currently penciled in at the position.
The game also featured homers from David Wright and the Cards’ Ryan Ludwick. It was a sloppy contest, with Omir Santos at one point getting credit for a two-run single after a 35-foot popup down the first-base line. Of the 10 pitchers used by the teams, just one, the Mets’ Sean Green, is slated to begin the season in the majors, and he was actually charged with four runs — two earned — in two-thirds of an inning.
– Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia turned in two scoreless innings apiece as the Phillies and Yankees faced off in a much-hyped World Series rematch.
OK, that’s probably stretching it. The Phillies won 3-2 after both teams scored two runs in the ninth. Wilson Valdez had the infield single in the bottom of the ninth that ended it.
– The Astros beat a Nationals split-squad 15-5 behind a pair of homers from Hunter Pence. He also doubled, and he finished with four RBI.
– The Marlins topped the Nats’ other split-squad 10-4, with a couple of prospects playing key roles. Bryan Peterson homered and scored three times, while first-base hopeful Logan Morrison tripled in three runs.
– The Rays, avenging a 12-2 loss on Wednesday, edged the Orioles 6-5, with Sean Rodriguez hitting his second homer in as many days. Orioles starter Brian Matusz fanned four, but those were the only outs he recorded as his pitch count caused him to be lifted in the second. He allowed two runs, one of which was earned.
– Young catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a tiebreaking homer in the top of the ninth as the Jays prevailed over the Tigers 9-7. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised, because it would have been really nice to see how Tigers pitchers Rick Porcello (perfect for 2 IP), Max Scherzer (3 ER, 6 H in 2 IP), Dontrelle Willis (0 R, 2 K in 2 IP) and Armando Galarraga (4 ER in 1 IP) looked in their spring debuts.
Also notable is that Austin Jackson, who is slated to lead off for the Tigers, had a very nice game, with a single and two walks in three plate appearances.
– The Braves defeated the Pirates 4-2, even though Jason Heyward went 0-for-2 with a HBP to send his average plummeting from .667 to .400. Then again, he still outshined fellow top prospect Pedro Alvarez, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for the Pirates.
As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger.
This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.
Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.
Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.
These kind of after-the-ink-has-dried reports have to be taken with a grain of salt for a variety of reasons, but they’re fantastic conversation-starters …
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Cardinals “finished runner-up” to the Red Sox in the bidding for free agent left-hander David Price, who signed with Boston on Monday for a record seven years and $217 million.
There were reports early on that the Red Sox were going to have to overpay on Price because he wanted to either stay in Toronto or make the move to the more pitcher-friendly National League. And maybe they did go significantly above and beyond the next-best offer to land him.
But the report from Nightengale serves as an indication that the Cardinals are ready and willing to spend big money ahead of next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville. Does that chunk of change now get directed toward Jason Heyward? Or might the Cardinals pounce one of the falling dominos in this still-loaded starting pitching market? What about both?
St. Louis lost Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery last month and both Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha carry some injury concerns into 2016. There’s money to spend there with a new billion-dollar local television deal about ready to kick in.
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has become the king of the reclamation project. And it sounds like he’s about to take on another big one …
Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates have expressed interest in free agent Justin Masterson. The expectation is that it will be a one-year deal with the goal of rebuilding the right-hander’s value in an environment where many other struggling veteran pitchers have executed significant career turnarounds.
Masterson earned his first (and only) All-Star nod in 2013 when he registered a 3.45 ERA, 195 strikeouts, and three shutouts in 32 appearances with the Indians. But he had a 5.88 ERA in 128 2/3 innings between Cleveland and St. Louis in 2014 and he continued struggling to the tune of a 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox in 2015.
It’s not clear whether the Bucs would try him as a starter or reliever.
Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers on Sunday for five years, $110 million. David Price signed with the Red Sox on Tuesday for seven years, $217 million.
Two big dominos have fallen in this loaded free agent market for starting pitchers, and another big one is about to go …
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says a deal for Zack Greinke “could come soon” and it’s currently “Dodgers vs. Giants” at the top of the bidding ladder.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick confirms that both the Dodgers and Giants are looking for an answer from Greinke, adding that the 32-year-old right-hander seeks a five- or six-year deal with a greater average annual value (AAV) than what Price just secured from Boston. That number would be $31 million, so we’re talking something close to $32 million through 2020-2021.
Greinke opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million contract with Los Angeles in October after posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP across 222 2/3 regular-season innings in 2015. He finished second to the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta in the National League Cy Young Award balloting.