UPDATE: As expected, the White Sox have non-tendered Jenks.
Throughout the past year or so there’s been speculation about the White Sox non-tendering closer Bobby Jenks this offseason. He made $7.5 million in 2010 and would be in line for a raise through the arbitration process, and his performance has deteriorated to the point that he’s simply no longer an elite reliever.
In addition to his save total dropping in four straight seasons Jenks’ opponents’ batting average and walk rate have also risen in all four of those years and he has a 4.08 ERA in the past two seasons. He’s still a good reliever, but he’s no longer a great one and certainly isn’t valuable enough to be worth the $9 million or so he’d be due via arbitration.
All of which is why it’s no surprise that Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com reports that the White Sox “are prepared to sever ties” with Jenks at tonight’s non-tender deadline. Padilla notes that Jenks’ increasingly poor relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen has also played a part in the decision, but it would be a no-brainer move for the White Sox based strictly on his performance.
Chicago would likely plug Matt Thornton into the closer role if they indeed non-tender Jenks, although Chris Sale could also get a shot at ninth-inning duties if he’s not moved to the rotation full time.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.