Astros, Nelson Figueroa avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Nelson Figueroa was a non-tender candidate heading into his first season of arbitration eligibility, but the Astros have avoided having to make a decision on him before tomorrow night’s deadline by signing him to a one-year, $900,000 contract.

Figueroa has bounced around for a decade in the majors and minors, but pitched well for the Astros and Phillies this season with a 3.29 ERA and 73/34 K/BB ratio in 93 innings.

General manager Ed Wade indicated that Figueroa will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation and he has plenty of bullpen experience if the Astros decide to move him there instead. Despite being 36 years old Figueroa has just now accumulated enough service time to be arbitration eligible. He was claimed off waivers from the Phillies in July.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: