That veteran right-hander Josh Banks signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Tuesday will go unnoticed by most and rightfully so, but there was an interesting footnote to the story: Banks’ deal was negotiated by former major leaguer Gary Sheffield.
“[Sheffield] brought him here,” Baltimore VP of baseball operation Dan Duquette said, “because he sees the opportunity for pitchers to help our major league team. So Gary’s been paying attention, I’ll tell you that.”
According to the Baltimore Sun article, Sheffield also represents Pirates right-hander Jason Grilli.
Sheffield may seem an unlikely agent given his lack of a college education and his occasional clashes with management as a player, but he does have experience: he negotiated his own three-year, $39 million deal with the Yankees in the 2003 offseason.
Sheffield retired from baseball a year ago after sitting out the 2010 season. A nine-time All-Star, he hit .292/.393/.514 with 509 homers and 1,676 RBI in 22 seasons.
Banks, for the record, is 4-8 with a 5.66 ERA in parts of four major league seasons.
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.