Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 4, Mariners 1: And then there were 17.  CC Sabathia carried a perfecto into the seventh — broken up right after he came back following a rain delay — and struck out 14.  The M’s struck out 18 times in all. But then again, they’re horrifyingly bad, so that’s understandable.

Braves 4, Pirates 3: The game ends in the 19th on one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in a major league baseball game. Jerry Meals must have really, really wanted to get back to his hotel room.  Just inexcusable.  Instant. Replay. Now.

Mets 8, Reds 6: Johnny Cueto’s ERA stays sparkling thanks to all six of the runs he gave up being unearned, but it’s not like he pitched well.  The Mets had to get hits and stuff after those errors, and Cueto was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, Jon Niese gave up five runs in five innings and got the win. Baseball is a funny game.

Marlins 11, Nationals 2: HBT’s Macondo correspondent, Old Gator, wired in his report from this one last night right after it ended:

Just a heads-up about something wonderful that occurred during the Feesh game tonight.  Not just that they climbed over the imploding Gnats. Much better. A praying mantis flew into the visitor’s dugout during the late innings and landed on Clay Hensley’s cap, and he carried it around for awhile as his teammates laughed their asses off and he had no idea why. However, as soon as the mantis arrived, the Feesh exploded for five more runs. Eventually the mantis took up a position on the dugout rail – some priceless shots on TV of the ballplayers leaning on the rail with the mantis between them, watching the game – and then the best part: as the inning ended, Logan Morrison swung around to put his cap on, the mantis freaked and flew at him and landed on his back, and LoMo totally freaked out and was jumping up and down and bending and sashaying but the mantis stayed on his back. Someone took it off and put it back on the railing. Some viewer emailed the announcing crew and named it “Mickey Mantis.” It got a lot of play from the announcers who christened it the Mantis Game.

I’m pretty sure this is how the movie “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh” started. Except somewhat differently.

Phillies 7, Giants 2: Philly made short work of replacement starter Barry Zito, who filled in for the scratched Tim Lincecum.  Really short work, as in this game was over in two hours and eight minutes. Zito wasn’t around for all of it, though, as he was knocked out after giving up six runs in seven innings. Vance Worley, on the other hand, looked like an ace (CG, 3 H, 2 ER), though I think the Giants’ bats had a lot to do with that. Inside the park homer for Chase Utley.

Angels 2, Indians 1: Jered Weaver and Josh Tomlin each had strong starts. Each only gave up one big hit too. Except that the one Tomlin gave up — a double to Mark Trumbo — happened with two guys on base and the one Weaver gave up — a homer to Matt LaPorta — came with the bases empty. The Tribe had a chance in the ninth, getting two men on with no one out against Jordan Walden, but couldn’t push a run across.

Orioles 12, Blue Jays 2: J.J. Hardy had two homers, Derrek Lee drove in five and the O’s had no problems with the Jays.  The Jays probably had some problems with the O’s, however, given that Jose Bautista had to leave the game after getting beaned.

Cardinals 3, Astros 1: A two-run homer for Pujols in the first was all the Cards would end up needing thanks to a solid effort by Jake Westbrook.

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: All of the scoring went down in the first inning so the game was either wonderfully front-loaded or else had eight wasted innings, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist. Or if you’re just one of those fascists who only cares about scoring. And actually …

Red Sox 13, Royals 9: … If you’re one of those fascists who only cares about scoring, this was the game for you.  I would think that sitting through this kind of game would be pretty brutal, however.

Twins 9, Rangers 8: Carl Pavano gave up all eight of those runs to Texas, who took the lead into the ninth. Neftali Feliz couldn’t seal the deal, however, allowing a single, a double and watching a run score on an Elvis Andrus error to tie it. Then Joe Mauer pinch hit for Drew Butera and hit a go-ahead RBI double. Nice way to shake off Monday night’s shellacking.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Four wins in a row for the Dodgers and they do it on a night when Clayton Kershaw had nothing approaching his best stuff.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1: Joe Saunders pitched eight and two-thirds innings of a shutout, but allowed a homer to Jesus Guzman with two outs in the ninth. He still finished the Padres off with only 99 pitches.

Athletics 6, Rays 1: The Rays have lost 10 of 14 and the A’s continue their nice little offensive resurgence. Against David Price of all people.

Tigers 5, White Sox 4: New acquisition Wilson Betemit had an RBI single in the eighth and Justin Verlander did his usual thing, throwing eleventy billion pitches and winning, although he wasn’t the sharpest we’ve ever seen him.

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