Andres Torres

Cardinals beat Mets after controversial call in ninth inning

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Andres Torres had a leadoff double erased on appeal to start the top of the ninth Monday as the Cardinals edged the Mets 5-4.

First-base umpire David Rackley ruled that that Torres did not touch the bag as he rounded it on his way to second base, giving the Cardinals a big out in a one-run game. Replays weren’t conclusive, but it did appear as though Torres caught the corner on the way by. Torres didn’t argue the call afterwards, but he said after the game that he “definitely” touched the bag.

Here’s the video.

After the call, Cardinals closer Jason Motte struck out Ronny Cedeno, walked Ruben Tejada and got Daniel Murphy to fly out to end the game.  The win ensured that the Cardinals would stay ahead of the Dodgers in the wild card standings. They’re one game ahead of Los Angeles for the second wild card, with the Dodgers hosting the Padres tonight.

As for Rackley’s call, he must have been awfully sure in his mind, even though it’s hard to see how he could have been. Umpires have to make most of their tough calls an instant after the play happens. However, in this case, Rackley had plenty of time to think about it, given that the out was only called after the play was over and the Cardinals made the appeal to first.

Report: Mark Trumbo signs three-year, $37.5 million contract with Orioles

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.

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Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.

Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.

Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.