With closer Bobby Jenks struggling Ozzie Guillen said before last night’s game that he’d go with matchups in the ninth inning, but Jenks ended up getting the save anyway after Guillen used southpaw Matt Thornton in the eighth inning versus left-handed hitters Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Thornton may have gotten the save chance had Minnesota’s big lefty bats been up in the ninth inning instead, but clearly Jenks hasn’t totally lost his grip on the job. And clearly he thinks that’s the way it should be, because here’s what Jenks had to say about the whole situation after notching his sixth save of the season:
That’s the thing I don’t understand, all the stuff going on. I mean it’s one game. Everyone is hitting the panic button in f***ing April. Chill out. I don’t want to say everything I want to say, but it was one bad game. The game before that I gave up a solo home run, the wind is blowing out 20 mph, what are you going to do? I really don’t want to comment on it too much because I really don’t want to start anything, but it was one game. It was one f***ing game. Things happen.
I’m not normally someone who sticks up for White Sox, but Jenks is absolutely right. He’s no longer the elite, dominant closer he was a few years ago and may pitch himself out of the job at some point, but he certainly hasn’t done it yet with just one blown save in seven tries and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.
I also liked this Jenks quote, about giving up a double to former teammate Jim Thome last night: “He keeps doing that, I know where he lives. I’ll just toilet paper his house.”
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.