Adam LaRoche has seen the reports about the Nationals’ pursuit of Prince Fielder, but the would-be starting first baseman told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he understands if the team tries to replace him:
All I can tell you is, I don’t hold any grudges either way. If [Fielder doesn’t sign with the Nationals] and I’m the guy, I’ll be out there every day and [will] do everything I possibly can. If it does [happen] and I need to move on, hey, it’s a business move. They are trying to put the best possible team on the field. I think they feel like their time is now to get to the top of the division. Hopefully, I’ll be a part of it. If not, that’s life.
It probably helps LaRoche’s attitude that he’ll be paid $8 million in 2012 either way, but he’s also coming off shoulder surgery that cost him most of last season and is no doubt focused on simply getting his own career back on track. He played just 43 games, hitting .172 with three homers before going under the knife in June.
Ladson speculates that even if the Nationals do sign Fielder they would hold on to LaRoche until spring training, so he could show interested teams that his shoulder is healthy. In the meantime he’s “feeling great” and has been throwing and hitting for several weeks. Presumably the Nationals would have to eat some of his $8 million salary to move LaRoche regardless of when it happens.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.