Well, it’s official.
The Marlins have made a couple of questionable moves so far in this young offseason and continued that trend Wednesday with the finalization of an odd three-year, $18 million contract for free agent catcher John Buck.
Buck slugged 20 home runs for the Blue Jays in 2010 and represents a legitimate offensive upgrade over the carousel of catchers that the Marlins employed this past year, but the 30-year-old backstop is a .243/.301/.421 career hitter and is likely to regress back to that poor career line.
His .335 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) suggests that luck had a whole lot to do with the numbers that he posted this past season and Miami’s Sun Life Stadium is not nearly as hitting friendly as Toronto’s Rogers Centre. On top of that, Buck hasn’t played more than 120 games in a season in his entire career.
There’s a chance that everything will work out just fine, but at the moment it appears that Marlins’ new starting catcher was overpaid both in salary and years.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.