FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi is putting the odds of a Hunter Pence deal at better than 50/50 and says the Indians are still involved despite picking up Kosuke Fukudome earlier Thursday.
The Phillies and Braves have reportedly been the more intense pursuers of Pence, but many have inquired. The Red Sox and Reds are among those doing their homework. The Rangers, though, aren’t in the hunt at the moment.
The Astros reportedly backed out of a deal with the Phillies that would have netted them big first baseman Jonathan Singleton and top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart for Pence. Still, it doesn’t sound as though the Phillies have given up on Pence yet.
The Braves have more to offer with a stable of young pitchers that includes Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, but Teheran probably isn’t on the table and it’s doubtful the Braves would give up two of the others in order to get a deal done.
Speculation is that the Braves would send down Jason Heyward if they were able to land Pence to play right field. Still, it’s worth wondering if that would really leave them any better off. Heyward has hit .231/.306/.400 with four homers and 15 RBI in 130 at-bats since coming off the DL on June 15. Pence is at .277/.336/.387 with two homers and 12 RBI in 119 at-bats over the same span. Pence was certainly better during the first two months of the season, but Heyward was easily the superior player last year.
The Braves, though, would have room for both if they so desired. Left fielder Martin Prado may frequently be needed at third base with Chipper Jones dinged up, and either Pence or Heyward could play some center when everyone is healthy.
The Astros want pitching, pitching and more pitching in return for Pence, and no team has more to offer than the Braves. There’s still almost three days left for something to get done.
With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.
Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).
This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.
Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.
Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.
By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).
Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.