And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 4, Mets 0: Amazingly, the Yankees prove to be a tougher opponent for the Mets than the Orioles and Indians were. Sabtahia was tough and Teixeira’s grand slam took care of all of the day’s scoring.

Red Sox 2, Dodgers 0: It’s a close call given how well the Rangers are playing, but the Red Sox are probably the hottest team in baseball at the moment. Buchholz, Bard and Papelbon combine to shut out the Dodgers giving the Bosox the sweep. I’ll admit, though: I turned this one off fairly early. Two reasons: (1) I was really tired and the game’s slow pace was allowing me to dose; and (2) if I heard one more thing about Manny Ramirez — who was making his return to Boston, I’m told! — I was gonna barf. Really, folks, there was a baseball game happening. Concentrate on it and not the eight or ninth best player in that particular game please.

Braves 8, Royals 5: That’s five straight wins for Atlanta who — no
offense to the Royals — took advantage of the easier opposition this
weekend to put a bit of distance between themselves and the Mets and
Phillies. Lots of credit to Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske who are looking
like the best couple of bargain bin pickups this year.

White Sox 6, Nationals 3: The Sox have won six in a row, sit at .500 and are a relatively reasonable 5.5 games back of the Twins. The Nats are
skidding. I’m going to make it my mission this week to get people to
start calling it the Curse of Strasburg. Because really, they were doing
just fine before they called him up.

Twins 4, Phillies 1: This one sucked for Philly, but they were probably still reeling from Saturday night’s debacle in which they led 9-4
entering the ninth and ended up blowing it 13-10 in 11 innings. Halladay
on the mound yesterday, but Minnesota somehow knocked 11 hits off the
dude. The Phillies have lost six of Halladay’s last eight starts, by the way. I’m
going to make it my mission this week to get people to start calling
it the Curse of Halladay. Because really, they won two straight
pennants before they traded for him.

Brewers 6, Rockies 1: Huston Street comes back on Tuesday. That’s not soon enough for the Rockies, as Manny Corpas gives up five runs without retiring a batter in the ninth inning of a 1-1game. Corpas was beat up on Saturday too, by the way.

Marlins 4, Rays 1: Josh Johnson continues to be ridiculous (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER 9K). Since returning from Tommy John surgery in July 2008, Johnson is 30-8
with a 2.95 ERA in 62 starts. The Rays drop two of three to the Feesh and are now out of first place.

Tigers 3, Diamondbacks 1: The Tigers take two of three from the Dbacks on reunion weekend, with Max Scherzer beating his old mates yesterday, Edwin Jackson beating his old pals on Saturday and Dontelle Willis getting the ND against his former compadres on Friday (but pitching poorly enough to lose). Of course for all we know Scherzer, Jackson and Willis hate their old teammates with an unholy passion, so saying they’re mates, pals and compadres may be totally presumptuous of me.

Giants 9, Blues Jays 6: Freddy Sanchez, Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff all homered for the Giants, after which they went to a local cafeteria where they took advantage of the early bird special. Huff ate Burrell’s corn on the cob because it was tough and irritated Burrell’s partial. Sanchez fell asleep in his pudding. They then talked about their grandchildren for a while.

Mariners 1, Reds 0: The Reds scored one freakin’ run all weekend. Really: one run.  No shame in getting shut out by Cliff Lee, of course. And Felix Hernandez is tough so I understand that too. But the fact that they couldn’t scratch one across against Ryan Rowland-Smith is pretty sad.

Pirates 5, Indians 3: I know a guy who lives in Pittsburgh who took his kids to not one but two games in this series. Last I heard, Pennsylvania Children’s Services had a warrant out for his arrest and the neighbors were holding a candlelight vigil. Sir, I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Josh Hamilton went 5 for 6, with the game-tying RBI in the ninth and the game-winning RBI in the 10th. He’s now hit in 16 straight games and the Rangers have won 11 of 12.

Athletics 3, Cardinals 2: A loss yesterday, but the Cardinals have to be happy that Matt Holliday is heating up. Two homers yesterday and 8 for 12 in the series with four homers and eight RBIs. Kevin Kouzamanoff was 4 for 4 for Oakland.

Cubs 12, Angels 1: Chicago loses 12-0 on Saturday and wins 12-1 on Sunday. Better than the offense for Chicago was Carlos Zambrano giving up one run in seven innings. Joe Saunders got shelled today, giving up nine hits and a couple of walks in 2.2 innings. His post-game quote: “the defense just wasn’t there for me today.” Whatever, dude.

Padres 9, Orioles 4: San Diego fell behind 4-0 in the top of the first and then scored nine unanswered runs. Baltimore hasn’t won consecutive games since May 12-14th. It’s gonna be a battle royale to figure out whether they or Houston will take the 30th slot in the Power Rankings.

Craig’s Father’s Day: Started out with a 28-mile bike ride through the country and ended with steak, some good wine and rhubarb pie. That’s definitely a win.

Marc Rzepczynski signs two-year, $11 million contract with Mariners

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 9: Marc Rzepczynski #23 of the Washington Nationals looks on before pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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After rumors of the deal surfaced on Thursday, the Mariners officially signed veteran reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year, $11 million deal on Friday night. Per a report by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the lefty is due $5.5 million in 2017 and 2018.

The signing marks the left-hander’s fourth trade since July 2015. He bounced from the Indians to the Padres at the 2015 trade deadline, then to the Athletics in the offseason, then to the Nationals in late August of 2016. Last season, he pitched to a career-best 2.64 ERA during 47 2/3 innings with the Athletics and Nationals, but hit an all-time low with 5.5 BB/9 that fed into a 1.59 K/BB rate. While the 31-year-old’s split against right-handed batters are underwhelming (a career .277/.377/.431 line with 123 walks and 24 home runs), he’s held lefties to a respectable .222/.291/.298 line with just 52 walks and eight homers.

Adding Rzepczynski to the bullpen should check off another to-do item for Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto, though FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman notes that the club is still likely to pursue an additional reliever and a No. 4 starter before the offseason comes to a close.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.