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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 8, Indians 2: I keep hitting refresh on the scoreboard but nothing changes so, apparently, this is correct and the Royals actually won a game.  Billy Butler hit two homers as Kansas City beat up on Ubaldo Jimenez.

Mets 5, Marlins 1: David Wright hit a two-run homer, giving him 735 RBI in his career, which pushes him past Darryl Strawberry for the all-time Mets RBI crown. Strawberry needed around 300 fewer plate appearances to do it. Wright, however, was not coked out of his mind, so this is really an apples-oranges comparison.

Rangers 7, Yankees 3: Phil Hughes is a wreck. He gave up four runs in two and two-thirds, bringing his year to 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA while allowing 26 hits and six walks in 16 innings.  That is … not acceptable. Adrian Beltre seems to be feeling just fine: 3 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBI.

Reds 4, Giants 2: Barry Zito had a shutout going through six, but then Scott Rolen hit a homer, the bullpen came into play again, bad defense went down and the Giants laid another egg in Great American Ballpark, where they have dropped seven straight.

Nationals 7, Padres 2: Washington continues to cruise behind great starting pitching. The Nats, overall, are 14-4. The starters are 8-2 with a 1.71 ERA with 103 strikeouts and only 22 walks.

Mariners 9, Tigers 1: Felix Hernandez was Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but for once he got run support. Imagine. Detroit has lost five of six.

Rockies 2, Pirates 1; Pirates 5, Rockies 1: I wrote up the first game yesterday (short version: tough luck for James McDonald). In the nightcap, the Bucs rode a five-run fifth inning — complete with Pedro Alvarez’s second homer of the day — to earn the split. I guess the Rockies earned the split too by losing the second game, but we tend not to ever say that for some reason.

Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 2: Cole Hamels drove in two runs with an RBI single. Oh, and he also pitched a little (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K).

Cardinals 5, Cubs 1: Lance Lynn — who wasn’t even gonna be in the rotation before Chris Carpenter’s shoulder went wonky — now leads all of baseball with four wins following yet another strong outing. David Freese hit a two-run homer and an RBI double. The Cards avoid the sweep.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 0: Jason Hammel, who came over from Colorado in the Jeremy Guthrie deal, said after the game “I am still learning a new league and seeing what everybody else is doing.” Mostly they’re busy not hitting Jason Hammel. Hammel tossed seven four-hit shutout innings. He’s 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA on the season. Matt Lindstrom worked a perfect eight inning and has still yet to give up a run on the year. He too came over in the Guthrie deal.

Astros 7, Brewers 5: His name is Jose Altuve.  And he’s the man whose big day helped Houston beat the Brewers for the first time in 12 tries.

Rays 3, Angels 2: I am the conductor of the Don’t Worry About Albert Pujols Because He’s Gonna Be Just Fine Orchestra, but it is probably still worth noting that he’s 0 for his last 19. C.J. Wilson struck out 11 in seven innings. But dude, when your offense goes 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, good is not good enough.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4: Someone tweeted at me yesterday and asked why I don’t have many funny or insightful things to say in White Sox recaps. Well, when the team in question goes 13 innings in a 2-2 game, takes a two run lead in the 14th and still end up losing, well, that sort of limits my options. Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer in the 14th and Kila Ka’aihue hit the game-winning single a few minutes later. That erased Alexei Ramirez’s go-ahead two-run double in the top of the 14th. It also rendered Paul Konerko’s 400th career homer a mere footnote.

Red Sox 7, Twins 6: Not news: Clay Buchholz stunk (5.1 IP, 10 H, 1 ER). News: The Sox’ bullpen shut the opposition down. And they did it by committee: six relievers combined to throw the last three and two-thirds, allowing no runs. Although the ninth inning did get dicey, as Alfredo Aceves loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batsman before striking out Denard Span to end it.

Braves 4, Dodgers 2: L.A. took a 2-1 lead into the ninth but then the Braves hit five straight singles — including those of the RBI variety by Dan Uggla, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward — to rally Atlanta.  Jones, in addition to the go-ahead RBI — made a couple of solid plays at third base and didn’t seem at all like a creaky 40 year-old on a retirement tour. He said:

“I was like a school kid out there. I mean, that’s what you play the game for — moments like that.”

Great. Now he’s Brett Favre. See you in spring training next year, Chipper.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.