Not that Albert Pujols, the Cardinals, or any Cardinals fans care much after last night, but his streak of consecutive seasons with a .300 batting average, 30 homers, and 100 RBIs came to an end at 10.
And just barely, as Pujols finished with a .299 batting average and 99 RBIs to go along with his 37 homers.
That he came so close is pretty remarkable considering Pujols got off to a career-worst start, spent time on the disabled list with a fractured forearm, and then came back much sooner than expected from the injury.
Had the Cardinals and Braves remained tied for the Wild Card the statistics from a Game 163 tiebreaker would have counted towards Pujols’ season totals. As is he hit .355 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 26 September games.
Not only is Pujols tied with Lou Gehrig and Manny Ramirez for second place on the all-time list with 10 seasons of .300-30-100, they were the first 10 seasons of his career. Babe Ruth holds the record with 12.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.