The Cardinals really need to take Carlos Marmol out for a steak dinner.
After being held scoreless over the first eight innings this afternoon, the Cardinals were handed two runs in the bottom of the ninth as part of a dramatic 2-1 win over the Cubs.
In another one of his trademark implosions, Marmol walked Ryan Theriot with the bases loaded to force in the tying run and then uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop which allowed pinch-runner Adron Chambers to score with the winning run. Marmol walked three and threw just 13 out of 30 pitches in the inning and now has a major-league worst 10 blown saves this season.
The Braves lost to the Nationals 4-1 this afternoon, so their lead over the Cardinals in the Wild Card is down to two games with four games remaining.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.