Boston’s big investment comes with big ramifications, and since the market’s top position player is off the board, several pieces should fall into place over the next couple of weeks.
– The Yankees pretty much have to do what it takes to land Cliff Lee now, and that probably means upping the ante to seven years. After all, that’s what Crawford and Jayson Werth received. The only viable plan B for the Bombers is Zack Greinke, and the Yankees would face stiff competition for him as well.
– The top remaining position player on the board, Adrian Beltre, seems destined for Anaheim. The Angels have plenty of money to spend and a clear need at third base. All indications were that Crawford was their top priority, and they’re going to be very disappointed to have missed out on him. However, they could end up spending $14 million per year on Beltre and use the rest of the money earmarked for Crawford on bullpen help. They’re the clear favorites for Rafael Soriano now.
– The Rangers could be left with a lot of money and nothing to spend it on. Signing Beltre and trading Michael Young might work in theory, but it’d be difficult to pull off. Beltre presumably prefers the West Coast anyway. The Royals aren’t happy with what they’ve offered for Greinke. The return of Vladimir Guerrero to Arlington is appearing more and more likely.
– Now that the Red Sox have already committed their first-round pick to signing Crawford, expect them to go hard after Scott Downs. They might not have wanted to give up a first-rounder for a reliever, but a second-rounder is just fine, particularly since they’ll be getting two picks apiece for losing Victor Martinez and Beltre.
The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.
Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.
After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.