UPDATE: Talk about great timing. Ortiz just slugged his first home run of the season to the “Monster Seats” in center field.
7:11 PM: Prior to Friday’s game against the Orioles, David Ortiz told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he was embarrassed when Mike Lowell pinch-hit for him against left-hander Darren Oliver on Tuesday:
“It was just embarrassing, getting pinch-hit for,” Ortiz said. “I
understand. I’m not swinging the bat good, with a lefty and whatever.
I’ve got to come through and do my thing and get that out of people’s
heads. When I’m swinging the bat good that’s not going to happen.
Basically it was a wake-up call to say, ‘You better start hitting or
you’re going to get pinch-hit for.'”
Or benched altogether. Francona started Lowell over Ortiz on Wednesday and Thursday as the Red Sox faced consecutive left-handers. With right-hander Jeremy Guthrie on the mound on Friday, the .146 hitting Ortiz is back in the starting lineup, batting sixth.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.