A couple of updates here on Cliff Lee and his big free agent decision.
We know that the Yankees have offered the left-hander a seven-year deal worth around $161 million. And we know that the Rangers have offered six guaranteed years with some kind of option for a seventh. Now we’re just waiting for Lee to pick one.
Sadly, it may be another 24 hours or so before that pick is made.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Rangers president Nolan Ryan is under the impression that Lee is going to spend the entire weekend in thought and won’t announce which team he is signing with until Monday.
“I’ve run all my traps and don’t know anything,” Ryan said, “so we’ll just wait and see.”
Lee, 32, turned in a sparkling 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts in 2010, racking up 185 strikeouts and only 18 walks along the way. The average velocity on his fastball has risen steadily over the last five seasons. In 2006 and 2007, he clocked in at 89.0 MPH. In 2008, that saw a slight bump to 90.5 MPH. Then in 2009 he averaged 91.1 MPH, and this past year he was at 91.3 MPH.
Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.
Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”
“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”
Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.
Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.
The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.
The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.
The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.
The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.
Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.