And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights


kids at Huntington Park small.JPGRays 11, Royals 1: The Rays are good the Royals are bad and you all know
that, so there’s no sense in dwelling on it here. Let’s take things in a
different direction: My wife and I took the kids to the Columbus
Clippers-Charlotte Knights game last night, which the Clippers won 9-7. 
My daughter is six, and she thought it was quite hilarious and a little
bit cute that there was a
player with the last name of “Flowers”
and a
player with the first name of “Shelley”
playing in the game. My son,
who is 4, decided that he wanted to boo the Charlotte Knights because
“they’re not from around here.” Later he decided to boo a couple that
came in and sat down three innings into the game “for bein’ late to the ballgame.”  I was a bit uneasy with the former booing, but
strongly approved of the latter.

Tigers 3, Twins 0:  D-Train beats the Twins’ Morneau and Mauer-free lineup, shutting them out over six innings. Given that he couldn’t even get the ball over the plate this time last year I got nothin’ but kudos for the guy, and would even if it was an American Legion lineup from Minnetonka.

White Sox 7, Rangers 5: Paul Konerko homered twice, the second of which put the Sox’ lead out of reach. That brings him up to 10 which leads the league. Great Moments in Energy Conservation: Michael Young checked his swing in the fifth, and the ball traveled so short a distance that A.J. Pierzynski was able to pick it up and tag Young before he had even left the batter’s box.

Yankees 4, Orioles 0: Robbie Cano had two homers and Marcus Thames had three hits, but after all these years we’re used to those two legends carrying this storied franchise on their broad shoulders.

Blue Jays 6, Athletics 3: John Buck was a 50% better hitter than Paul Konerko and Robbie Cano last night, blasting three bombs. The Athletics have lost seven of 10, shifting them back towards the “not for real” side of the ledger. The Jays can tell them all about it. And bad news for the Athletics as Justin Duchscherer had to leave the game with an injured hip, which appears to be serious.

Reds 4, Astros 2: Four in a row for the Redlegs. Pfun Pfact, courtesy of Red Reporter: despite the fact that Bronson Arroyo and Roy Oswalt have pitched in the same division for the past 4 seasons, last night was the first time they have faced each other in nine years, back when Arroyo was with the Pirates. How they’ve avoided each other for so long is just one of them things, I guess.

Diamondbacks 13, Cubs 5: Kelly Johnson was 4 for 5 with a homer — his NL-leading 9th — and three RBI. Adam LaRoche hit two homers and drove in five.  We’re basically one Mark DeRosa hitting streak and a Jason Marquis no-hitter away from me becoming more interested in rooting for the Braves alumni club more than I root for the Braves themselves.

Cardinals 10, Braves 4: A six RBI day for David Freese as the Cardinals win easily. Again. It’s bad enough that the Braves have dropped nine straight, but now they’re racking up injuries to go along with their futility. Jair Jurrjens left the game with a sore hamstring. Yunel left with a strained left adductor. Bobby Cox has a blown gasket: “It was a lousy trip. It’s been a horrible experience to endure,” Cox
said of the Bravos 0-7 road trip.

Padres 9, Brewers 0: Death by a thousand cuts: the Padres had seven straight singles in the fifth inning.  In fact, all 13 of the Padres hits in the game were singles, a good number of them which were chancey kind of things like the ball hitting off someone’s shoe and stuff.

Pirates 2, Dodgers 0: The Pirates score both of their runs when Matt
Kemp O-lays what should have been a single off the bat of Ryan Doumit
into a two-run “triple.” It’s a shame that Kemp would go from where he
was a year ago to
revert back to when the ball goes up in the air and you’re not sure
where it’s going, or if it’s going to get caught.

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty
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Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.

David Price said to care about more than just the money

David Price

Every year free agency brings with it its own set of politics and talking points and spin. Factors which are said to be more important to players than the money being offered.

And, to be fair, there is one big factor that is likely more important than money for many of them: winning. I truly believe players want to win. They say it all the time and there’s no reason to think they’re being disingenuous about that, especially the ones who have been around the game a long time.

I’ll note, however, that given how success cycles work in baseball (i.e. teams that aren’t close to being true contenders aren’t likely to be spending big in free agency anyway) that consideration often washes out of the system. Every year you hear of one or two losing teams making a big, competitive offer to a free agent, but it’s not that common.

What I’m talking about more here are the truly soft factors. Factors which often anchor hot stove rumors, but which rarely if ever truly stand out as determining factors when it comes to where a free agent ends up. Examples of these include geographic proximity to where the player grew up, his wife grew up, he went to college or what have you. Remember how CC Sabathia was going to play in California? And Mark Teixeira was going to play for Baltimore? Heck, I’m so old I remember when Brandon Webb was gonna break the bank playing for the Reds.

It’s pretty rare, though, for that to pan out. Sabathia and Teixeira went to New York. If Brandon Webb’s shoulder had cooperated it’s not likely he would’ve ended up in Cincinnati. Money talks for free agents, much louder than any of the soft considerations. Even when, like Mike Hampton and his Denver-public-school-loving self claimed that he signed with the Rockies for reasons other than the fact that they unloaded the money truck for him.

I think we’re seeing a new soft factor emerge. Today Peter Gammons reported this about David Price:

Cities are fairly strong as soft factors go, I reckon. Somewhere south of money and winning but north of “my wife’s family lives there.” Money can make up the difference between a fun city and a lame city, but if things are equal, going someplace you want to be likely is a factor.

But that second one — being able to hit — seems a bit suspect. This is not the first time I’ve heard that this offseason. Zack Greinke was said to prefer the NL because he likes to hit. I’ve heard this about other pitchers too. I question how important a factor that truly is — the actual hitting part actually affecting a free agent decision — as much as I suspect it’s a negotiating tool designed to get AL teams to pay a premium to get the guy to “give up” hitting. Or, more likely, that it’s code for “it’s WAY easier to pitch in the NL because I get to face a pitcher who can’t hit for crap 2-3 times a game.”

On some level I suppose this is all unknowable. I doubt David Price or some other free agent pitcher is ever going to hold a January press conference in which he says the following:

“Well, the money was absolutely equal between the final two suitors and, as you know, both made the playoffs last year and play in cities with copious cultural resources for my family and me. And, having plotted the two cities on Google Maps, I discovered that the two cities are each EXACTLY 347 miles from my Aunt Tilly’s house! What are the friggin’ odds?

Ultimately, though, I signed here so I could bat.”

Like I said, not likely. But wouldn’t it be something if that happened? If so, I’d probably cast a 12-inch statue of Mike Hampton and start giving out an annual award or something.

Player pool for MLB postseason shares is a record $69 million

television money

MLB just announced the postseason shares for this year and the players’ overall pool is a record total of $69.9 million. Nice.

That total gets divided among playoff participants, with Royals receiving $25,157,573.73 for winning the World Series and Mets getting $16,771,715.82 for finishing runner-up. That works out to $370,069.03 each for the Royals and $300,757.78 each for the Mets.

Jeffrey Flanagan of reports that the Royals have issued full playoff shares to a total of 58 people, plus 8.37 partial shares and 50 “cash rewards.” In other words: There was a whole bunch of money to go around if you were in any way involved in the Royals’ championship run.

According to MLB public relations the previous high for the overall player pool was $65.4 million in 2012 and the Mets’ playoff share is the highest ever for a World Series-losing team, topping the Tigers’ share of $291,667.68 in 2006. Kansas City’s playoff share is slightly less than San Francisco received last year.

Here are the individual postseason share amounts by team:

Royals – $370,069.03
Mets – $300,757.78
Blue Jays – $141,834.40
Cubs – $122,327.59
Astros – $36,783.25
Cardinals – $34,223.65
Dodgers – $34,168.74
Rangers – $34,074.40
Pirates – $15,884.20
Yankees – $13,979.99

Marc Anthony gets into the agent business, signs Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

There is a somewhat mixed history of entertainers and musicians getting into the sports agent business. Sometimes it works out (Jay-Z has done OK). Sometimes it doesn’t (Master P says “Hi”).

Add another one to the list. A pretty big one. Ken Rosenthal reports that Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media is getting into sports. And the company, Magnus Sports, just signed a new client: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. From Rosenthal:

The company said in a news release that it will team with a baseball agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management — and that the group’s first major client will be Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Praver Shapiro represents a number of Latin players, including Marlinsshortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, Reds pitcherRaisel Iglesias and free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.

Chapman is on the trading block right now but 2016 is his walk year, and barring injury he’ll due for perhaps the biggest payday a closer has ever seen. Whether he’ll actually get it depends on the negotiating skills of the biggest salsa artist the world has ever seen.

Gentlemen: you have a year to get some song title pun/headlines ready.