Barry Zito was left off the postseason roster all three series for the 2010 world champion Giants. This year, signs point to him being a very important player if the Giants are going to make a run into October.
Former NL ERA leader Ryan Vogelsong gave up seven runs — six earned — in 3 1/3 innings versus the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He’s now allowed 34 earned runs in 29 2/3 innings in his last seven starts, taking his ERA from 2.27 to 3.67 for the season.
Now, that’s still better than Zito’s 4.21 mark. But barring a massive rebound these next two weeks, the Giants aren’t going to have any choice but to pick Zito over Vogelsong next month. The Giants have won Zito’s last eight starts, and while the well-compensated left-hander hasn’t been great in all of them, he has performed very well in holding the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to a combined one run in 13 innings his last two times out. Overall, he has a 4.06 ERA during the streak.
In truth, even though the Giants are going to cruise to an NL West title, they can’t be feeling all that good about things right now. Madison Bumgarner has struggled in his last four starts, and Matt Cain hasn’t been at his sharpest either. While Tim Lincecum is throwing better, it’s come with a lot of walks. It’s the offense that’s been carrying the load of late: the Giants rank third in the NL in runs scored and ninth in runs allowed since the All-Star break.
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.
The Dodgers last owner, Frank McCourt, was a mainstay of the gossip pages. The new administration has been pretty drama free since taking over five years ago. That is, until now.
Multiple outlets, ranging from the New York Post to the Wall Street Journal, have been reporting on a scandal brewing at Guggenheim Partners, the multi-billion investment firm led by Mark Walter, its CEO. Walter is also the head of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the offshoot of the firm which owns the Dodgers. Walter is the Dodgers’ named owner — the “control person” — as far as Major League Baseball is concerned.
The scandal does not directly relate to the baseball team. Rather, it involves allegations that Walter bought a $13 million Pacific Palisades home for a younger female executive named Alexandra Court:
In the past 24 hours, the company has pushed back on multiple reports that CEO Mark Walter will step down; its chief investment officer has claimed on CNBC that there’s “no tumult” at the company; and Guggenheim has denied reports on a real-estate blog and in the New York Post that Walter bought a California mansion for a younger female executive at the company.
The denial regarding who bought the mansion is a bit too cute, though, as the company only denies that Walter bought it or owns it. In fact, the mansion is owned by a holding company that also bought Walter’s personal residence in Malibu. Billionaires don’t go to closings at title company offices, of course. They buy houses through companies and LLCs and trusts and stuff. As such, the claim that Walter didn’t buy the house may be technically and legally true but entirely misleading all the same. For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walter and Court have a “personal relationship.” Walter, who is married, and the company deny this. Court is on an extended leave of absence.
Walter and Guggenheim are denying that Walter is going to step down as CEO. That remains to be seen. The question for our purposes is whether, if he steps down from Guggenheim Partners, he would necessarily have to step down from Guggenheim Baseball Management and thus relinquish control of the Dodgers. I suspect not — they’re distinct legal entities, and his departure from Partners would be unrelated to stuff having to do with the baseball team — but you never know. It’s not like he put up $2 billion of his personal dollars for the team. There are likely a lot of strings attached and contingencies involved to the arrangement.
Something to watch.