Even though Ryan Madson, Francisco Cordero and Brad Lidge remain available in free agency, much of the recent closer talk has been regarding trade possibilities. Now perhaps Brandon League can be added to the list of available closers that includes Andrew Bailey and maybe Joel Hanrahan.
According to FOXSports.com, the Mariners are getting hits on League and may choose to move him closer to spring training. Such a move could hinge on the Mariners’ pursuit of Prince Fielder; if the Mariners land Fielder, they may prefer to keep League and make the club as competitive as possible. If not, then there’s really no sense of having a $5 million closer on a 65-win team.
FOXSports reports that the Dodgers are one of the teams that have asked about League, though they’re not believed to have serious interest.
League will be eligible for free agency for the first time after next season. He had a 2.79 ERA and was 37-for-42 saving games for Seattle in 2011, his first year as a closer. He won nine games and finished with a 3.42 ERA in 79 innings in 2010.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.