I realize that some of you were watching the Tony Awards, the NBA Finals and other things that don’t really matter all that much, but the smart ones among you were watching the Cubs-White Sox game. If you did, you watched a pretty damn spiffy pitching matchup, with Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd matching no-hit bids until late in the game.
Lilly still had his going in the eighth when White Sox’ second baseman Gordon Beckham tried to lay down a bunt to break it up. This did not sit well with the fans in Wrigley, who booed the attempt, most likely because they perceived it as a violation of baseball’s unwritten rules. Or maybe they were just booing the fact that Old Style sales were cut off. You never can tell with a Wrigley crowd. Either way, Ozzie Guillen weighed in on it all:
“You bunt in the ninth, that’s unprofessional. But the
eighth, Wrigley Field people; the only thing they can do is boo. They
boo for every freakin thing here.”
The Cubs fans were ridiculous to boo, but I’d argue even with Ozzie on this point: in a 1-0 game you can bunt whenever the hell you want if you think it’s your best chance to get on base. I mean, sure, we can talk what’s bush league and what isn’t if the score is 6-0, but in a close game on a rainy night, when the pitcher is starting to think more about his impending accomplishment? Damn skippy I’m asking a speedy player to lay down a bunt if he thinks he can reach on it.
Of course, I’d also be curious to hear what Guillen would say if the situation was reversed and Starlin Castro was laying one down on Floyd. Something tells me he’d take issue with it, and that he wouldn’t confine his adjectives to the word “freakin’.”
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.