Giants 6, Padres 2: Aaron Harang has now shut out the opposition for two straight starts totaling 13 innings, and each time the Padres have lost. I imagine there have been some “I’m just trying to give my team a chance to win” quotes in there someplace, but it’s too depressing to look for ’em. Aubrey Huff homered to tie it at one in the ninth inning and then the Giants erupted for five runs in the top of the 12th, including an RBI infield single from Huff. But hey, at least the Padres looked good in their mustard and brown throwbacks.
Marlins 6, Cubs 3: Carlos Marmol came in to close out a 2-0 lead in the ninth and was rocked for five runs. He did it by walking the bases loaded — he threw only one strike to those three hitters — and then giving up a bases-clearing double (though an error helped). He walked another guy before getting yanked. Oy.
Rangers 5, Mariners 0: Derek Holland with the five-hit shutout. That’s eight straight wins for Texas, though you’d be forgiven for forgetting that what with the eighteen months off we’ve had due to the All-Star Break. At least that’s what it has felt like.
Blue Jays 16, Yankees 7: The Blue Jays scored 16 runs — eight off Bartolo Colon in the first inning — all without the benefit of a homer. Is Colon turning back into a pumpkin?
Twins 8, Royals 4: Plouffe, Young and Mauer combine to lead the offensive charge for Minnesota. In other news, “Plouffe, Young and Mauer” sounds like the name of a mid-sized auditing firm.
Rockies 12, Brewers 3: Ryan Spilborghs had four hits including a homer. Twenty hits in all for Colorado, who made relative short work of Yovani Gallardo. Francisco Rodriguez did not play, which confounded my “shiny new toy” theory of baseball personnel use (i.e. if a manager gets a shiny new toy, he’ll almost always use it the first chance he gets).
Indians 8, Orioles 4: Let no one say the Orioles lost focus during the All-Star break. Nope, they picked up exactly where they left off.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.