The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo does a bang-up job during hot stove season and he has an article today about 2010’s biggest breakout star, Jose Bautista.
Bautista, 30, posted a stellar 995 OPS and 124 RBI this past season while leading all major leaguers with 54 home runs. He’s in line for a big payday this winter via salary arbitration, so it would seem that the Jays might have interest in discussing a long-term contract with the slugger. But, as of now, no such negotiations have taken place.
“Right now, there are no talks about a multiyear contract, but I suppose we may hear something about that in December,” he told Cafardo. “We have a great team and if our players and pitching can take the next step, we’re going to be a team that can go for the AL East title.”
Why no talks? Because the Blue Jays probably have the same concerns that the rest of us have. Bautista never hit more than 16 home runs in a season before this year and batted just .235/.349/.408 in 2009. It’s not all that rare for players to suddenly blossom in their late 20s and early 30s (Ryan Ludwick comes to mind), but Bautista has all the leverage right now because of his impressive 2010 numbers and it’s fair that the Jays have their doubts about his ability to post consistent MVP-like stats.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.