And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Athletics
3, Pirates 2
: Kurt Suzuki should have been out number three in the
eighth inning, but Pirates’ catcher Jason Jaramillo dropped a pop foul
and two pitches later Suzuki hit the game winning dinger. Losing like
that would be a total back breaker for Pirates fans if their bones
hadn’t been ground to dust as a result of the team’s futility already.

Yankees 8, Dodgers 6: Talk about a bullpen implosion. Jonathan Broxton blew a 6-2 lead in the ninth and then George Sherrill gave up the game-winning homer to Robinson Cano in the 10th as the Yankees take two of three from the Dodgers.

Orioles 4, Nationals 3: Break up the O’s! Four straight wins including a sweep of the, well, sure, why not, rival Nationals.  And they’re guaranteed not to lose tonight because they got the day off!

Indians 5, Reds 3: Shin-Soo Choo hit two bombs as the Indians win their first game since a week ago Friday. Matt LaPorta has been up and down, but this was his first start as the unequivocal starting first baseman. His functional debut: 0 for 4, two strikeouts and he grounded into a
double play. Excelsior!

Angels 10, Rockies 3: Brandon Wood hit a grand slam, and I still can’t
get used to seeing the name “Francisco
Rodriguez
” in the Angels’ box score and have it not be K-Rod. Each
time he shows up I think it’s 2008 again, both my kids are in preschool
and I still work at the law firm.

Padres 4, Marlins 2: Will Venable has had a number of key homers in the past week and his two-run job in the eighth yesterday turned out to be the game winner. What say you, Will?  “Yesterday he struck me out with three straight splitties so I knew I
had to be patient. He came with the splitties again and I
was able to go deep enough in the count that he was forced to try
something else and threw a fastball middle-in and I was able to get a
good swing on it.”  We comfortable with “splitties?” I don’t think I am, frankly.

Phillies 11, Blue Jays 2: Jamie Moyer gave up a homer and now owns the all-time record for dingers allowed all by himself, but as was the case with the start in which he tied the mark, he pitched damn well: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7K. The Jays committed four errors leading to six unearned runs. The hometown fans probably didn’t like that one bit.

Diamondbacks 2, Rays 1: The Rays were no-hit on Friday and two-hit on Sunday. What’s more, they came close to engaging in fisticuffsmanship with each other in the process. Not a good weekend for Tampa Bay.

Mets 6, Twins 0: Homers from Frenchie, Wright and Ike were more than enough given Jon Niese’s six shutout innings and three additional zeros from the bullpen. With the Braves loss the Mets are once again knocking on the door in the East, a mere half game back.  The Twins, on the other hand, are a mere half game up on the Tigers after having lost seven of ten.

Tigers 10, Braves 4: Heyward, Strasburg and a bunch of other guys have gotten all the ink, but there may not be anyone having a better rookie year than Brennan Boesch. Boesch goes 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBI, and now sits at .338/.389/.621 on the season. It might be time for the Braves to worry about Tommy Hanson as the kid got shelled for the second straight start.  But hey, they get to face Stephen Strasburg tonight, so that’s fun.

Cubs 8, White Sox 6: The Chisox finally lose a game, but they had a little rally at the end to make it interesting for a bit. Four RBI for red-hot Tyler Colvin.

Brewers 3, Mariners 0: Chris Narveson shut out the M’s over eight innings. Every time I see his name I think of Kal Varnson. The Brewers should get a relievers named Pennypacker and Vandelay.

Royals 10, Cardinals 3: The Royals take two of three from the Cards after beating up on Jaime Garcia to the tune of five runs on four hits. Jose Guillen has a 21-game hitting streak going right now. Not that this makes him Superman or anything. The last Royal to have a hit streak this long was Rey Sanchez, and no one is carving his visage into any malleable metals. Also worth noting that 27 of his 31 hits during the course of the streak have been singles.

Rangers 10, Astros 1: Josh Hamilton has a 21-game hitting streak of his
own. His has more pop to it than Guillen’s, however, including a homer in the second inning last night that is still flying, I think. And while I like to think teams’ scouting is more sophisticated than this, you have to wonder if the fact that Roy Oswalt got lit up for eight runs on seven hits in four and two-thirds isn’t the kind of thing that’ll make the Rangers less likely to want him.

Red Sox 5, Giants 1: A 103-pitch complete game for Jon Lester with nine strikeouts. Tim Lincecum was knocked out after giving up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings. Big Papi hit one into McCovey Cove. According to the game story, it was picked up by a kayaker. With Barry gone, I’m surprised anyone still floats around out there. Oh, and because the Sox haven’t had enough injuries lately, Victor Martinez fractured his left thumb.

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer¬†signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.