OK, so maybe it’s a small sample size, but the Yankees topped the Marlins 10-8 in the first major league game played at Marlins Ballpark on Sunday.
With the roof closed on an 85-degree day, Derek Jeter lined the very first pitch of the game from Ricky Nolasco into right field for a double, setting the tone for the day. There were 26 hits in all, including the first homers of the spring for the Yankees’ Nick Swisher and the Marlins’ Gaby Sanchez.
Fortunately, the nightmare sculpture in center field, which will open a portal to Hell for 15 seconds with each Marlins homer during the regular season, wasn’t operational for this one.
Apart from that, the new park received mostly positive reviews, though one player wasn’t so happy with his day at the beach: “That infield out there is like running in sand,” Swisher said after the game.
Expectations were that the park would suit pitchers better than hitters, particularly with the roof closed, as it’s expected to be most of the time. But while that still might the case, it certainly didn’t hold true today. CC Sabathia gave up three runs in his four innings of work, and Mariano Rivera, pitching the fifth, allowed a run in a spring training game for the first time since 2008.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.