Russell Martin

Yankees hit three grand slams, pummel A’s 22-9


It wasn’t a pretty game, but the Yankees avoided what would have been a rare three-game sweep at home by scoring 20 runs between the fifth and eighth innings and made some history in torching the A’s 22-9.

The game featured grand slams from Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson.  It’s the first time ever that a team has hit three slams in a game.

It was just the fourth time in Yankees history that the team has hit multiple grand slams in the same game and the first time they’ve done it at home.  Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill were the last Yankees to accomplish the feat, doing so on Sept. 14, 1999.

Martin finished the game a remarkable 5-for-5 with two homers, six RBI and a walk.  Yankee Stadium is the only place in the world that he has opposite-field power, and both of his homers were out to right field today.  According to Baseball-Reference data, just three of his previous 69 career homers had gone out to right.

The Yankees ended the game with 21 hits and 13 walks.  Only one of those walks came in Rich Harden’s 4 1/3 innings; the rest were from the pen.  Jordan Norberto gave up four runs on five walks and one hit in two-thirds of an inning.  Bruce Billings, making his fourth major league appearance, walked four in 1 1/3 innings.

The 13 walks surrendered by A’s pitching were two more than any other team had given up in a nine-inning game this season and matched the high for a game of any length.

All three slam hitters ended up with at least five RBI for the Yankees.  Granderson also scored four runs to go along with his five RBI.  Derek Jeter actually had three hits and hit with the bases loaded four times, but his lone RBI came on a walk.  Every Yankees starter except Alex Rodriguez drove in at least one run, and A-Rod finished 2-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored.  Just to punctuate things in the eighth, Andruw Jones followed up Granderson’s slam with a homer in his lone at-bat off the bench.

The one bit of bad news for the Yankees: Phil Hughes had to be pulled in the third having given up six runs and seven hits.  A.J. Burnett did his best to punch his ticket to the pen with last weekend’s ugly outing against the Twins, but Hughes really hurt himself today.  Oddly enough, both of his terrible performances since returning from the DL have come against the A’s; he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his other seven starts.

With the game having turned into a laugher, Jorge Posada made his major league debut at second base in the ninth.  He was originally a second baseman in the minors, and he made the game-ending play today on an Anthony Recker grounder, though he bounced the throw to first.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

AP Photo/Ben Margot
Leave a comment

New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
Leave a comment

It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

AP Photo/John Bazemore
Leave a comment

The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.