John Clark of NBC Philadelphia was the first guy to track down Cliff Lee since the deal was announced, talking to him in what is either the Philly airport or a Barnes and Noble or something. I can’t tell. The video is below.
Lee doesn’t say anything terribly groundbreaking — I wish he would have made some Voltron references or something — but he does mention that his family enjoyed their time in Philly, that he liked his teammates and all of that.
That’s an angle that has been fun to think about. Everyone — myself included — made light of Cliff Lee’s wife saying that she hated New York, but there are some indications that family considerations had a lot to do with Lee’s choice. His own statements about them liking Philly, sure, but some people are suggesting that Kristen Lee wasn’t as big a fan of Texas as many people assumed. Kyle Scott over at Crossing Broad has a source who claims that while proximity to Arkansas was nice, it may have been too close, actually. Family visiting all the time, don’t you know. As a hermit who doesn’t always play nice with extended family, I can certainly understand that.
Anyway, here’s Lee:
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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.