I hope you’re enjoying clinch night, everyone.
The Diamondbacks were already assured of at least a tie for the division crown entering tonight’s action, but they just clinched the National League West with a 3-1 win over the Giants. This is the fifth division title in their 14-year history and their first since 2007.
The Diamondbacks were down 1-0 through six innings against Matt Cain, but Chris Young tied the game with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh and rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt put them in front with a two-run triple off Sergio Romo into the right field corner in the eighth. J.J. Putz worked around a leadoff single by Mark DeRosa for his 44th save.
Coming off a last-place 65-97 finish, the Diamondbacks are without question the most surprising team in baseball this season. Kirk Gibson should be a lock for manager of the year, but Kevin Towers’ overhaul of the backend of the bullpen can’t be overlooked. Including tonight’s win, the Diamondbacks are 82-0 when leading after eight innings. And I don’t need to remind you how awful that bullpen was last season.
All three divisions in the National League are now decided, but the Wild Card and homefield advantage between the Diamondbacks and Brewers are still up for grabs.
Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Jake Arrieta‘s agent Scott Boras says they’ll discuss a potential contract extension with the Cubs when they meet in January to hammer out arbitration figures.
Arrieta, 30, is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $10.7 million in 2016. The right-hander followed up his Cy Young Award-winning 2015 campaign by going 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and a 190/76 K/BB ratio in 197 1/3 innings during the regular season. Arrieta pitched well in the postseason, helping the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908.
While Boras clients tend to go to free agency, it’s not always the case. Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Nationals earlier this year.
Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports, citing a source as well as Nikkan Sports, that reliever Koji Uehara is close to signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cubs.
Uehara, 41, finished the 2016 season with a 3.45 ERA and a 63/11 K/BB ratio over 47 innings. He missed some time in the second half with a strained right pectoral muscle. When Uehara returned from the disabled list on September 7, he tossed 11 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and two walks through the end of the regular season. So there’s at least some evidence, albeit in a very small sample size, that Uehara has stuff left in the tank.
The Cubs recently acquired closer Wade Davis from the Royals. Uehara would join Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Jr., Justin Grimm, and Mike Montgomery in what is once again a very deep bullpen.