“Seven years for a pitcher is a lifetime. It’s just scary, and any general manager who tells you it isn’t, well, I’m not sure what calculations they are going by.”
— Kevin Malone, former Dodgers general manager who signed Kevin Brown to a seven-year, $105 million contract in 1999.
That quote comes in the course of an article in today’s New York Times looking back at the history of long deals for pitchers. It’s not a good history. At least Kevin Brown gave L.A. some decent, albeit sporadic production for five of those years. Add to the list Mike Hampton and Wayne Garland. Haven’t heard of Garland? Exactly.
CC Sabathia is the only pitcher mentioned among those seven-year+ deals who strikes me as someone who will ultimately have been worth it. But then again, he’s a beast of a man with no injury history and an uncomplicated delivery who relies on power more than a fine touch. Oh, and he was much younger when he signed his deal. Someone like that, sure, maybe it’s worth it.
Cliff Lee for seven years? Yikes.
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.