Alfonso Soriano booed heavily in The Friendly Confines

23 Comments

Here’s something a little uncommon for Wrigley Field. Or anywhere, really. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com’s CubsTalk describes the scene:

There were two runners on and two outs in the sixth inning when [Alfonso] Soriano hit a rocket line drive at Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who appeared to have secured it in his glove. Soriano stood at home plate with the bat in his hands before Middlebrooks dropped the ball and threw to first.

That set off a very loud chorus of boos from the 40,766 fans inside Wrigley Field – and an equally strong and opposite reaction from those inside the clubhouse.

“They don’t understand the game,” Soriano told reporters Saturday after the 4-3 loss to Boston. “It’s a line drive. There’s nothing you can do about it. If it’s groundball and I don’t run, they can do whatever they want. But a hard line drive, right off the glove? I don’t know what they want.”

Soriano signed an eight-year, $136 million deal with Chicago in 2006. He has a weak 110+ OPS ever since.

“Obviously, that contract comes into play sometimes with that kind of reaction,” contended first-year Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “But the fact of the matter is everybody in this clubhouse knows how hard Sori works and how hard he’s played this year. … That’s one of those things where 100 percent of every player in the history of baseball would do the same thing. You’re mad because you just crushed the ball and the guy should have caught (it) and you take your eye off it.” Sveum’s Northsiders are 22-43 this season.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

Getty Images
8 Comments

Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

Getty Images
4 Comments

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.