And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Red Sox 0: Cliff Lee.  Cliff Phifer Lee.  Cliff effin’ Phifer Lee throws his third straight shutout and completes his 32nd straight scoreless inning. Some may downplay this by claiming that this was against a weak Red Sox lineup, but a weak Red Sox lineup is still better than a great many other major league lineups at full strength. Either way, Lee is entering seldomly-navigated waters now, approaching the Hershiser Zone.

Mets 14, Tigers 3: Jose Reyes was 4 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base and three runs scored and Carlos Beltran drove in four. Clearly both should be traded.

Rays 4, Reds 3: Evan Longoria hits the walkoff jack. Which the Associated Press likes to call a “game-ending homer” for reasons that are unclear but are likely rooted in a love of buzz-killing bore-speak. Johnny Damon homered and drove in three. The Rays are on fire, having won nine of 11 and now stand a single game behind the Red Sox for second place in the East.

Pirates 7, Blue Jays 6: The Pirates roughed up Jo-Jo Reyes to take a 6-1 lead and then just held on as the Jays clawed back with the help of two homers from Edwin Encarnacion.  Kevin Correia gets his 10th win, though, becoming the first Pirate to win 10 games before the All-Star break since Bob Walk did it back in 1993. No one knows who did it before that because no one except some random scientists and academics had the Internet before then.

Cardinals 6, Orioles 2: St. Louis gets back on the winning track, helped by five shutout innings from Kyle Lohse. He had to leave a bit early due to a half-hour rain delay, but by then things were under control.

Giants 13, Cubs 7, Giants 6, Cubs 3: It’s not often that the Giants’ bats carry the day, but they did in this twin bill. They broke out for a baker’s dozen in the first game, saving Ryan Volgelsong from an uncharacteristically meh start. In the nightcap, two RBI a piece from the fearsome duo of Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford made it more or less the same story.

Yankees 12, Brewers 2: I toyed with the idea of writing this one up as “a possible World Series preview!” because everyone else was saying that about the Red Sox-Phillies, ignoring the fact that, unlike the series going on down in Philly, at least both of these teams were in first place. But really, my heart wasn’t in it, because I’m not sure I take Milwaukee 100% seriously yet. Certainly the Yankees don’t, as they smacked Zack Greinke around. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher each drove in four.

Rangers 7, Astros 2: C.J. Wilson didn’t allow the Astros’ offense to do much and, given how bad the Astros’ pitching is, a two-run game from their bats is basically a death sentence.

Twins 6, Dodgers 4: Yesterday, one of the Dodgers’ lawyers actually said, in open court, that the bankruptcy can’t possibly be affecting the Dodgers seeing as though they won 15-0 on Monday night.  If I were the judge I’d call his office this morning and demand that he file a supplemental brief explaining the result of last night’s game.  Don’t get cute with the baseball, Mr. Lawyer Man. That’s my gig.

Rockies 3, White Sox 2: Ty Wigginton hit the game-winner — a bloop single — in the 13th. Again, AP goes with “game-winning hit.” Maybe ESPN or someone copyrighted “walkoff” and that’s why AP style won’t allow for it. I kind of hope that’s it and that every time I use it I’m offending some ESPN lawyer or something.  And that the cease and desist letters keep getting lost in the mail.

Diamondbacks 6, Indians 4: Cerrano hit the curve! Wily Mo Pena with a pinch-hit, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for yet another walkoff (walkoff, walkoff, walkoff) win last night. Necessitated, however, by a rocky outing for J.J. Putz, so it’s not all Skittles and beer in Dback land.

Padres 4, Royals 2: The Padres stay hot, winning their sixth game in seven tries. Kansas City, in contrast, has lost eight of 10.

Braves 5, Mariners 4: Brian McCann may be the hottest hitter in baseball right now. Four hits for the Braves’ catcher, including a two-run single that put Atlanta up for good. He also threw out Adam Kennedy on an attempted double steal, blowing a hole in the middle of what could have and should have been a Mariners rally.

Athletics 1, Marlins 0: Gio Gonzalez and Javier Vazquez were both on point, but Gonzalez was pointier, allowing only one hit over eight innings while striking out nine.

Angels 11, Nationals 5: Vernon Wells went 4 for 5 with a homer and a couple of RBI on a rare night of big offense at home for the Halos. Davey Johnson just doesn’t know how to win.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.