And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights


Padres 3, Dodgers 2:
Oscar Salazar had a pinch-hit walkoff single. During the game they
traded for Miguel Tejada and got $1 million in the deal from Baltimore.
Tejada is “meh” but I hope they went out for a party on that million
bucks after the game. I also hope they continued to wear the awesome
throwback mustard and brown jerseys after the game ended, because that
would make the party really hop.

Marlins 5, Giants 0: Anibal Sanchez was almost untouchable: CG, SHO 1 H, 1 BB, 8K.  Buster Posey’s hitting streak ends. The Giants should totally protest this one, though. Jorge Cantu reached twice and scored twice even though he was basically traded already as the game was going on. Let’s create an unwritten rule about that, in fact, shall we?

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I only made up that rule above so we can somehow include Adam Dunn and Matt Capps in it. I mean, sure, I know they weren’t traded during the game or anything, but Capps was traded a mere seven or eight hours after the game ended and there have been a moderate amount of rumors about Dunn, so the Nationals should have sat them out of an abundance of caution. Why no, it has nothing to do with the fact that Dunn hit a homer and Capps got the save in a game in which my rooting interest was on the losing end. Why do you ask?

Mets 4, Cardinals 0: R.A. Dickey shuts down the Cards. Where the hell has this season come from for this guy?  He couldn’t get anyone out in his previous big league stints and wasn’t even all that sharp in the minors, and now he’s 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA. I love guys like this.

Phillies 3, Diamondbacks 2: On a day they get Roy Oswalt for a song in terms of both talent and cash, they get a walkoff win in the 11th inning too. Phillies get everything they want [kicks at stuff, pouts]. For the Dbacks, Joe Saunders had a better start than any Dan Haren has had since July 4th.

Yankees 11, Indians 4: It’s pretty telling when your most effective pitcher of the night is an infielder. That was the case for Cleveland, who pressed Andy Marte into service in ninth inning of a rout. Dude threw a scoreless inning, striking out Nick Swisher. He’s had about 100 chances to stick as a third baseman in various places. Why not try to make a career out of being a mop-up man?

Rays 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers are skidding out of control. David Price gets his 14th win.

Rockies 9, Pirates 3: Ubaldo Jimenez gets his 16th win to help the Rockies snap their eight-game skid.  One more win and he ties the Rockies’ franchise record.

Orioles 6, Royals 5: Kansas City has lost 14 of 17. This bad stretch began at almost the exact moment everyone started talking about how Ned Yost had the team turned around and flying right and all that jazz. Damndest thing.

White Sox 9, Mariners 5: I was on 950 KJR in Seattle last night as this game was going on. Before they called me, I did a quick brushup on the Mariners because, hey, you never know. As soon as my spot started the host said “Mariners are playing the White Sox, but we are NOT going to talk about them because no one wants to hear anything that depressing,” or words pretty close to that. I can see that.  Two home runs for Raul Castro, by the way.

Rangers 7, Athletics 4: The Rangers complete a nice 5-2 homestand against the two teams who think they can challenge them. Only disappointment: Jorge Cantu didn’t hop a flight and pull the “two games in one day for two different teams” stunt. Because that woulda been cool.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.

Braves and Jim Johnson reunite on a one-year contract

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jim Johnson #53 of the Atlanta Braves throws a ninth inning pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: The deal is official. Bowman adds that Johnson will make $2.5 million in 2016.

6:11 p.m. ET: Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen in 2015 until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in late July, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.

It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.