Manager Dusty Baker announced his Opening Day lineup on Wednesday, with Chris Heisey nowhere to be found:
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zach Cozart
1B Joey Votto
3B Scott Rolen
RF Jay Bruce
LF Ryan Ludwick
CF Drew Stubbs
C Ryan Hanigan
SP Johnny Cueto
Another notable absence is that of Rookie of the Year hopeful Devin Mesoraco.
This post is about Heisey, though. The 27-year-old has hit .254/.316/.465 in 480 at-bats for the Reds the last two years. It’s not great, but it’s a whole lot better than Ludwick’s .244/.318/.391 line over the same timespan.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker explained the decision by saying he didn’t like how Heisey would match up against Mark Buehrle. For what it’s worth, neither Heisey nor Ludwick has ever faced Buehrle before. Both are right-handed hitters. Heisey, though, has had a big reverse platoon split up to this point of his career.
One game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But this was supposed to be Heisey’s year to prove he can play regularly. That he’s already found himself on the bench hardly bodes well.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.