Rafael Soriano has had a fantastic season overall. Really, if back in April you told the Yankees Universe that Mariano Rivera was gonna miss almost all of the season because of a torn ACL, people would have assumed disaster. Instead, Soriano has nailed down most saves — he’s 33 for 36 where even Mariano River blew five saves last year — and has kept the bullpen humming.
But he got lit up last night and then he bolted the clubhouse before the press got there. John Harper says that’s bad news. Of course, because this is Harper, the notion is put forth with enough sanctimony and drama to choke a horse:
One thing for sure: Soriano doesn’t handle himself in defeat the way his predecessor did. Nobody was more accountable or classier when he did blow one than Rivera … He was gone before the Yankees’ PR people could even find him to ask if he would answer questions from the media. And don’t get this wrong: it’s not a media issue, it’s an accountability issue. It’s about being a professional in a clubhouse that has oozed professionalism since the day Derek Jeter showed up some 16 years ago.
Overwrought phrasing aside, he’s not wrong. I personally think that to a lot of reporters it is a media thing, but Harper correctly notes that players hate it when the guy everyone wants to talk to because of his screw up leaves and they have to give the quotes for the next day’s unhappy stories.
Harper wants to make it into some harbinger of doom and by the constant comparison to Rivera he wants to make it much larger than it is, which is kinda silly. But it’s not nothing. Soriano probably annoyed his teammates with that.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.