Buster Olney tweeting last night:
When Alex Gonzalez walked into the Atlanta
clubhouse the Braves’ players gave him a standing ovation.
First thought: wow.
Second thought: Buster only knows that because someone on the inside in Braves land made a special point to tell him about it. Which seems kind of sad to me, actually, because it means someone is really going out of their way to bury Yunel Escobar in the press.
Lots of someones actually, because it’s not just Buster with this stuff. Talking casually to other writers over the past day or two and the most striking thing is that almost everyone has talked to someone with the Braves who has had something bad to say about the guy. There’s always a bit of an analyst/reporter split in evaluating a trade, but the degree to which reporters with team sources all love the Gonzalez deal so much and analysts don’t is (a) uncanny; (b) almost certainly a function of hearing negatives about him from Braves sources.
I’m not saying that the Braves are on some orchestrated campaign against Escobar, but really, the sheer amount that has been put out there on this subject is getting to be a bit much. We know Atlanta didn’t like the guy, but at some point people need to be professionals and let it go, don’t they?
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.