UPDATE: The deal, she is done, and it’s a minor league deal as Heyman reported last night. I presume this will lead to a lot of chatter, but really, he’s not going to be a factor any time soon. He hasn’t pitched all spring and the season starts in less than a week. It’s a depth move — potentially a smart one, depending on how he looks after he’s in baseball shape — but for not it’s of little consequence.
Thursday, 11:49 PM: From Jon Heyman of SI.com comes word that the Yankees are close to signing right-hander Kevin Millwood to a minor league contract.
Millwood, 36, had been holding out for a guaranteed big league roster spot, but it never came and spring training is now nearing it’s wrap-up stage.
Heyman says the contract is “incentive-laden,” meaning it is packed with around a million (or two) in performances-based bonuses. Those probably won’t click in, of course, if he’s not on the major league roster. And the Yanks are almost certain to send him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre initially.
Millwood is durable but he posted a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts last year for Baltimore, netting only four wins (if wins are your thing). We’ll call him insurance in case both Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia go down with injuries. That’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.