When the Dodgers exercised their half of Scott Podsednik’s mutual option earlier this week the assumption was that the speedy outfielder would soon do the same and accept a $2 million salary for 2011, but today Podsednik declined his half of the option and became a free agent.
Podsednik earned $1.75 million this season and was paid less than $1 million in both 2008 and 2009, so $2 million seemed like a pretty good salary for a 35-year-old left fielder with a .382 slugging percentage.
Of course, it only takes one team focusing on his speed and veteran-ness above his lack of production to make opting out of the Dodgers deal a sound move for Podsednik.
For all his speed Podsednik isn’t a legitimate option defensively in center field and was thrown out on 15 of 50 steal attempts in addition to annually being among the league leaders in times picked off. He gets on base at a decent clip and has good range in left field, but I’m just not sure how many teams are in the market for a .725 OPS left fielder at this point.
He may find another offer in the $2 million range, but sticking with the Dodgers was probably his best shot at everyday playing time.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.