Angel Pagan

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 14, Marlins 7: There have been times over the past couple of years when the Giants wouldn’t score 14 in a week. And when he played in New York and Atlanta, there were weeks when Melky Cabrera wouldn’t drive in four, but here we are. Angel Pagan did the same. The Marlins bullpen gave up nine runs in less than four innings.

Phillies 10, Cardinals 9: Given that the Cardinals lost, I assume that Rally Naked Guy (warning: man-butt) isn’t going to take off like the Rally Squirrel, but I like his pluck and moxie. Three RBI a piece for Shane Victorino and Freddy Galvis.

Padres 11, Mets 5: What’s gotten into these low-powered west coast teams? San Diego broke out the whuppin’ sticks too, rapping out 18 hits. Eric Stults (hmm?) gave up one run over five.

Reds 6, Braves 3: The Reds swept the Braves in a four game series and have won six in a row overall.  Devin Mesoraco hit a grand slam. There were approximately 467 home runs — give or take — in this series. All of the Braves’ pitchers are likely suffering from Great American Ballpark PTSD.

White Sox 11, Twins 8: Speaking of home runs, the White Sox had five of them. One of them was by Alejandro De Aza in the sixth inning. He had what was initially called a home run in the fifth as well, but it was overturned on replay.

Indians 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander was near perfect in his previous start. He would have had to be again to win this one. Despite giving up only two runs — one a tape measure shot in the first from Shin-Soo Choo — he and the Tigers lost because Justin Masterson gave up only a run in seven innings despite walking five dudes. The sweep for the Indians, who would like you all to know that, yes, they are for real.

Angels 3, Mariners 0: Albert Pujols was 3 for 3 with a homer.  Folks, El Hombre is back. Deal with it.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.