The Athletics have already traded for Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill and signed Coco Crisp and Jonny Gomes this offseason. But do you know what they could really use? Another outfielder.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A’s still have some interest in bringing back Conor Jackson. The 29-year-old was mentioned as a possibility even before the club re-signed Crisp earlier this month.
Jackson, a first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2003, had an impressive .292/.371/.451 batting line and an .822 OPS over his first three full seasons in the big leagues. However, he hasn’t been the same player since missing most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever, posting an ugly .241/.320/.336 batting line and a .656 OPS over the past two seasons. He has also battled numerous injuries, including a banged up knee after the A’s traded him to the Red Sox prior to last year’s August waiver deadline.
Jackson bats right-handed, has solid plate discipline and can also play some first base, so most teams would likely jump at the chance if he’s willing to accept a minor-league deal. Though there’s nothing to suggest the Rays are legitimately interested, our own Matthew Pouliot mentioned them as a potential fit earlier this week.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.