You have to work extra hard to hate on A-Rod these days

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I don’t know why I read Lupica, but I do. I suppose there’s no helping me and that I get everything I deserve. Today’s is fun, though. It’s basically a scene-setter, focusing on A-Rod battling his former team, the Texas Rangers.

What makes it fun? The way in which Lupica tries to paint A-Rod as one of the people who “sent the Rangers into bankruptcy,” before nothing that, well, he wasn’t the only one [note: A-Rod has zero responsibility for that; if Tom Hicks offered you that crazy money, you’d take it too and if Tom Hicks hadn’t otherwise mismanaged his affairs the Rangers could have afforded it].  The way that Lupica feels it necessary to reference  A-Rod’s postseason woes before mentioning that, actually, he’s been outrageously clutch in recent years. You can tell that he’s disappointed that he can’t write this up as “Greedy A-Rod seeks redemption.” Despite the fact that he’s already won rings and MVPs and, for whatever quirks and issues he has, has been a fantastic baseball player who has now played longer in New York than he did anywhere else. Query: is he even a True Yankee yet?

Whatever. I hate storylines. I hate the manufacturing of interpersonal drama. It’s baseball. What’s so hard about looking at this series in those terms?

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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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.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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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.