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Astros, Wandy Rodriguez agree to three-year, $34 million extension

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Astros and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a three-year, $34 million contract extension.

The deal also includes a vesting option for 2014 which could net him as much as $44.5 million, according to Alyson Footer, Sr. Director of Social Media for the Astros. Rodriguez, who turned 32 last week, was arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter, so the Astros have at least bought out his first two years of free agency.

Rodriguez has a 4.18 ERA over his first six seasons in the major leagues, but while he doesn’t look like a front-line starter on paper, only 10 pitchers (with more than 500 innings pitched) have a lower ERA since the start of the 2008 season.

1. Roy Halladay – 2.67 ERA

2. Adam Wainwright – 2.68 ERA

3. Felix Hernandez – 2.69 ERA

4. Tim Lincecum – 2.83 ERA

5. Johan Santana – 2.85 ERA

6. Cliff Lee – 2.98 ERA

7. CC Sabathia – 3.07 ERA

8. Zack Greinke – 3.25 ERA

9. Matt Cain – 3.27 ERA

10. Jon Lester – 3.29 ERA

11. Wandy Rodriguez – 3.36 ERA

Rodriguez figures to be a big part of the rebuilding process in Houston — and with Brett Myers, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris and (eventually) top prospect Jordan Lyles, they may actually be better than you think  — but this contract isn’t necessarily something that would scare off another club should they decide to explore a trade sometime down the road.

Marlins defeat the Mets, then pay their respects to Jose Fernandez on the pitcher’s mound

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Miami Marlins players all wearing jerseys bearing the number 16 and name Fernandez honor the late Jose Fernandez before the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Rob Foldy/Getty Images
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The Marlins were somehow able to muster up the strength not only to play Monday night’s game against the Mets, but also win it convincingly one day after losing Jose Fernandez in a tragic boating accident. The Marlins and Mets helped pay tribute to Fernandez prior to the start of the game as outlined here.

When the game started, the Marlins came out of the gate with a bang. Dee Gordon homered in his first at-bat, then the club hung a four-spot in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning to chase starter Bartolo Colon and take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Mets chipped away for two runs in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run homer and tacked on one more in the eighth, but ultimately fell short by a 7-3 margin.

Gordon finished 4-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. Justin Bour went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, and a walk along with an RBI and two runs scored.

A.J. Ramos, who closed out the win, placed the ball on the pitcher’s mound for Fernandez. The Marlins huddled around the mound and said a prayer. The players huddled closer to the rubber on the mound, then left their hats behind as they retreated to the clubhouse as fans at Marlins Park chanted, “Jose, Jose, Jose.”

In a post-game interview, Gordon called his first-inning home run “the best moment of my life,” as NBC 6 Sports reports.

Indians defeat Tigers, clinch AL Central for first division title since 2007

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 7: Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Progressive Field on September 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
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The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.

Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.

In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.

Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.

The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.

Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.

The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.

The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.