Yoenis Cespedes made his winter league debut in the Dominican Republic last night, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, and afterward the Cuban defector told local reporter Dionisio Soldevila that six teams have expressed “a lot of interest” in signing him.
According to Cespedes those half-dozen teams are the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians.
Miami’s interest is certainly no secret at this point and both Chicago teams have previously been linked to the 26-year-old outfielder, but it’s interesting to note that Washington is not on his list despite plenty of speculation that the Nationals were interested.
Clay Davenport of Baseball Prospectus crunched the numbers on Cespedes’ performance in Cuba and projects him as a .250 hitter with 25-homer power in America, so if the interested teams have a similarly good but not great view of his value–as opposed to his rumored $50 million hopes from a couple months ago–that could explain why he’s risking injury and overexposure by playing winter ball in the hopes of driving his price up.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.