When a pitcher “wears one,” it means he takes one for the team in a blowout, helping preserve the other arms in the bullpen to fight and pitch another day. Vin Mazzaro did that last night in the Royals’ 19-1 loss to the Indians, and he did so in epic fashion. According to Joe Posnanski, this was the single worst performance by a pitcher. Ever. In baseball history. As Posnanski notes, no reliever since World War II had allowed 14 runs in a game and no pitcher has ever allowed 14 runs in less than three innings.
Mazzaro was sent down to Omaha after the game. And in this case, he’s probably happy for the demotion. Not out of shame, but for his own good and the good of Ned Yost who, for reasons that baffle me, let Mazarro take that abuse. Especially considering that the very purpose such abuse is supposed to serve — saving the pen — didn’t even happen. Nope, Yost still used Tim Collins, Joakim Soria and three other relievers in this one, which makes no sense to me at all. Don’t you put your utility infielder in to pitch a couple of innings at some point?
Mazzaro said all of the right things after the game, but man, at some point you’d hope your manager would save you from all of that.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.