Jason Bay decided to make Larchmont, New York his in-season home. According to this sweet story in Sunday’s New York Times, he’s the talk of the village. The author’s young son decided to reach out to the superstar slugger:
For his part, Gabriel decided to write Mr. Bay a letter and wrap it
around a baseball. I quote in part: “I am a huge Mets fan (like die-hard
even in the years when they weren’t so good!) Here is a baseball. Can
you sign it and return it to your mailbox this week between 2:25 and
3:15 (so I can retrieve it).” He was going to put it in the Bays’
mailbox, but it was locked, so he stuck the letter and baseball between
boards in their white picket fence.
Yep, you guessed it: a couple of days later the ball was placed back in the fence, signed by Bay. My warm fuzzies over this story will probably last a good while.
Indeed, I like the story so much that I’ll do everything in my power to pretend that sad-sack grownup memorabilia hounds won’t ruin it all by staking out Bay’s home, sticking balls and photos in his fence accompanied by fake letters from “kids” in the hopes that they’ll have new stuff to place on the shelf of their seedy collectibles shops next to their very rare Mary Worth comics.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.