Overheard this morning in the lobby at the Winter Meetings: Scott Boras didn’t even do the “thank you for your offer; let us assess it and get back with you thing” with the Nationals when they went to seven years, $126 million. It was just — bam — “where do we sign?!”
That was all said in a half-joking way — I’m sure Boras played it cool — but the sense among the chattering insiders here was clear: even the agent who likes to take his time and work everyone against everyone in negotiations was surprised that the Nats gave Werth as many years and as many dollars as he got.
It’s such a crazy deal that I’m starting to come off the notion that everyone has about how much Carl Crawford will demand or ultimately will get. I mean, yes, baseball free agency is a market, but it’s a less than perfect market with hardly an infinite amount of bidders. Just because the Nats are nuts doesn’t mean there are other nuts out there waiting to overpay people. If Crawford says he wants ten years and $190 million or something, wouldn’t the proper response for suitors be “sorry, the only insane team has already signed its big fish this winter. We’re not insane.”
I think Werth’s deal will ultimately mean that Crawford gets paid well, but the sheer lunacy of his contract may actually cause negotiations to drag on longer than they otherwise would have due to just how far out of a rational frame of reference it is. There will be push back from teams, I bet. At least a bit, and at least for a little while.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.