Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Tigers 4, Indians 0: If often seems like the game Justin Verlander is playing is unfairly easy when the game everyone else is playing is so damned hard. A no-hitter into the eighth, a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts overall.

Rays 4, Red Sox 0: James Shields with a five-hit shutout. Carl Crawford’s return to Tampa Bay was probably a lot like seeing your ex at a party: your joy at seeing her is inversely related to the figure she cuts as she walks into the room. If she looks like a million dollars and has a suave and swarthy young man on her arm, you don’t want to see her. If she’s not at her best and is attached to a frumpy and disheveled older gentleman, well then, let’s go say our hellos.  Carl Crawford was 0 for 3 with a strikeout in his return to Tampa Bay, so I assume that because of that the Rays crowd greeted him more and more warmly as the night went on, even going to far as to engage the older gentleman accompanying him in conversation, offering him a subtle reminder that his date once had it much, much better.

Angels 4, Mariners 0: Five hit shutouts must have been contagious last night, because Jered Weaver had one too.

Mets 4, Braves 3: Jose Reyes continues to be ridiculously good, going 3 for 5, stealing two bases and scoring twice, and Jair Jurrjens has his worst outing of the year (5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 5 BB). But really, with all of those Mets on base, it should have been way worse for Atlanta.

Nationals 8, Cardinals 6: St. Louis had a 6-1 lead after five innings and blew it, primarily on the power of Miguel Bautista imploding for five runs in two-thirds of the six-run seventh inning. Only one of the Nats’ runs came on an extra base hit. The rest were singles, fielder’s choices, wild pitches, and other small stuff.

Pirates 1, Astros 0: Just your standard six-pitcher shutout, with Jeff Karstens leading the way (6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Let’s be charitable to the Astros too and give new pitching coach Doug Brocail credit for the nice showing by Bud Norris and the pen. No I don’t believe he had anything to with that, but if we as a group are going to believe that midseason coaching changes matter, let’s go all the way with the charade.

Phillies 9, Marlins 1: Chris Volstad fooled no one (5.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER). Cole Hamels fooled many (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).  For Philly, it was mostly a homer-fest, with four guys in red pinstripes going yard, Domonic Brown doing so twice.

Yankees 12, Rangers 4: Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer and a two-run single. Pretty much everyone else for the home team hit too. I suppose that they were inspired emotionally by Derek Jeter’s tragic death.  Wait, what? You mean he didn’t die?  He just went on the disabled list? Hmm. I guess I need to actually read the news stories instead of merely gleaning their emotional tone when trying to determine what happened.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: Adam Lind walks off with an 11th inning homer. He also led off the Jays’ scoring with an RBI double in the first.

Reds 3, Dodgers 2: The Reds have gotten great starting pitching over the last week and a half or so, and Johnny Cueto’s outing last night continued it, as he allowed only a single unearned run in seven innings.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 5: San Francisco jumped out to a 5-0 lead but the snakes clawed back. Wait: snakes don’t have claws. That makes no sense. Anyway, the comeback came a bit short.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: According to the game story, Jim Tracy held a closed-door meeting before the game, the Rockies won and all is right with the world.  I always wondered what would happen if baseball teams were run like British Parliament. If, say, after the closed-door meeting the team came out and performed lackadaisically, would that be akin to a no-confidence vote and would the general manager have to dissolve the team, the manager resign and elections be held?  And what the hell is a Chancellor of the Exchequer anyway?

Cubs 5, Brewers 4: Starlin Castro had three hits, including a walkoff hit in the 10th inning, capping the Cubs’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit in the eighth. Aramis Ramirez had a two-run bomb in the eighth to tie it up at 4.

Royals 7, Athletics 4: From the AP game story:

Kansas City pitcher Danny Duffy didn’t see much need to celebrate his first victory in the major leagues. His teammates thought otherwise and gave the Royals rookie a milk shower.

I hope that wasn’t a euphemism.

White Sox vs. Twins: POSTPONED:  The rain cooled about half-past three to a damp mist, through which occasional thin drops swam like dew. Gatsby looked with vacant eyes through a copy of Clay’s ECONOMICS, starting at the Finnish tread that shook the kitchen floor, and peering toward the bleared windows from time to time as if a series of invisible but alarming happenings were taking place outside. Finally he got up and informed me, in an uncertain voice, that he was going home.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.

David Price said to care about more than just the money

David Price

Every year free agency brings with it its own set of politics and talking points and spin. Factors which are said to be more important to players than the money being offered.

And, to be fair, there is one big factor that is likely more important than money for many of them: winning. I truly believe players want to win. They say it all the time and there’s no reason to think they’re being disingenuous about that, especially the ones who have been around the game a long time.

I’ll note, however, that given how success cycles work in baseball (i.e. teams that aren’t close to being true contenders aren’t likely to be spending big in free agency anyway) that consideration often washes out of the system. Every year you hear of one or two losing teams making a big, competitive offer to a free agent, but it’s not that common.

What I’m talking about more here are the truly soft factors. Factors which often anchor hot stove rumors, but which rarely if ever truly stand out as determining factors when it comes to where a free agent ends up. Examples of these include geographic proximity to where the player grew up, his wife grew up, he went to college or what have you. Remember how CC Sabathia was going to play in California? And Mark Teixeira was going to play for Baltimore? Heck, I’m so old I remember when Brandon Webb was gonna break the bank playing for the Reds.

It’s pretty rare, though, for that to pan out. Sabathia and Teixeira went to New York. If Brandon Webb’s shoulder had cooperated it’s not likely he would’ve ended up in Cincinnati. Money talks for free agents, much louder than any of the soft considerations. Even when, like Mike Hampton and his Denver-public-school-loving self claimed that he signed with the Rockies for reasons other than the fact that they unloaded the money truck for him.

I think we’re seeing a new soft factor emerge. Today Peter Gammons reported this about David Price:

Cities are fairly strong as soft factors go, I reckon. Somewhere south of money and winning but north of “my wife’s family lives there.” Money can make up the difference between a fun city and a lame city, but if things are equal, going someplace you want to be likely is a factor.

But that second one — being able to hit — seems a bit suspect. This is not the first time I’ve heard that this offseason. Zack Greinke was said to prefer the NL because he likes to hit. I’ve heard this about other pitchers too. I question how important a factor that truly is — the actual hitting part actually affecting a free agent decision — as much as I suspect it’s a negotiating tool designed to get AL teams to pay a premium to get the guy to “give up” hitting. Or, more likely, that it’s code for “it’s WAY easier to pitch in the NL because I get to face a pitcher who can’t hit for crap 2-3 times a game.”

On some level I suppose this is all unknowable. I doubt David Price or some other free agent pitcher is ever going to hold a January press conference in which he says the following:

“Well, the money was absolutely equal between the final two suitors and, as you know, both made the playoffs last year and play in cities with copious cultural resources for my family and me. And, having plotted the two cities on Google Maps, I discovered that the two cities are each EXACTLY 347 miles from my Aunt Tilly’s house! What are the friggin’ odds?

Ultimately, though, I signed here so I could bat.”

Like I said, not likely. But wouldn’t it be something if that happened? If so, I’d probably cast a 12-inch statue of Mike Hampton and start giving out an annual award or something.

Player pool for MLB postseason shares is a record $69 million

television money

MLB just announced the postseason shares for this year and the players’ overall pool is a record total of $69.9 million. Nice.

That total gets divided among playoff participants, with Royals receiving $25,157,573.73 for winning the World Series and Mets getting $16,771,715.82 for finishing runner-up. That works out to $370,069.03 each for the Royals and $300,757.78 each for the Mets.

Jeffrey Flanagan of reports that the Royals have issued full playoff shares to a total of 58 people, plus 8.37 partial shares and 50 “cash rewards.” In other words: There was a whole bunch of money to go around if you were in any way involved in the Royals’ championship run.

According to MLB public relations the previous high for the overall player pool was $65.4 million in 2012 and the Mets’ playoff share is the highest ever for a World Series-losing team, topping the Tigers’ share of $291,667.68 in 2006. Kansas City’s playoff share is slightly less than San Francisco received last year.

Here are the individual postseason share amounts by team:

Royals – $370,069.03
Mets – $300,757.78
Blue Jays – $141,834.40
Cubs – $122,327.59
Astros – $36,783.25
Cardinals – $34,223.65
Dodgers – $34,168.74
Rangers – $34,074.40
Pirates – $15,884.20
Yankees – $13,979.99