Curtis Granderson hit his 30th and 31st homers Wednesday to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 win over the Angels.
The second homer gave him a new career high with 47 games left to play. He hit 30 homers in 160 games in his final year with the Tigers in 2009.
Granderson had already long blown past his career high for RBI. He knocked in four more runs tonight, giving him 91 RBI for the season. His previous high-water point was 74 in 2007.
Granderson, though, still has a ways to go in runs scored. Even though he leads the majors with 104 runs scored — 20 more than Jacoby Ellsbury in second place — he’s 18 short of matching his high total of 122, also from 2007.
Besides new highs in homers, RBI and likely runs and OPS this season, Granderson could also set a personal best in steals. He’s at 22 right now, leaving him four shy of his total from 2007. He also needs 14 walks to match his high of 72 from 2009.
But tonight wasn’t all about Granderson: Robinson Cano missed the cycle by a single and rookie Ivan Nova improved to 7-0 in his last eight starts. The Yankees also beat a pitcher making his major league debut for the first time in seven tries. Granderson’s three-run homer off young Angels right-hander Garrett Richards set the tone in the first, and the Yankees ended up knocking him around for six runs in five innings.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.