Jon Jay

Cardinals outlast Dodgers to reclaim wild card lead

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This weekend’s series in Los Angeles settled nothing, as the Cardinals beat the Dodgers in 12 innings Sunday to split a four-game series.

Shelby Miller, long the Cardinals’ No. 1 pitching prospect, earned his first major league victory and John Ely, the Dodgers’ ninth pitcher of the day, took the loss in a 5-2 game Sunday.

The win gave the Cardinals the same one-game lead over the Dodgers for the second wild card they held when the series started Thursday.

The Cards jumped right out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first today, but the Dodgers tied it back up in the third on an Andre Ethier homer. That was the end of the scoring until the 12th, when Jon Jay doubled in Matt Carpenter to make it a 3-2 game. The Cards added insurance runs on an Allen Craig single and a Yadier Molina bases-l0aded walk.

The Dodgers got a strong spot start from Stephen Fife in place of injured ace Clayton Kershaw. He struck out nine in his five innings of work. After that, seven relievers combined on six scoreless innings. Only Ely, who gave up all three runs in the 12th, struggled. Josh Wall was brought in to finish the frame, making him the Dodgers’ franchise record 10th pitcher of the game.

The Cards used just five pitchers. Adam Wainwright pitched six innings of two-run ball, and then Trevor Rosenthal and Fernando Salas pitched two innings apiece. Miller probably would have gone two or three innings himself had the game remain tied, but after the Cards took the lead, Jason Motte came in to work the bottom of the 12th for his 35th save.

The Cardinals and Dodgers both have 15 games left, and the Cards would seem to have a big advantage when it comes to the schedule. Their next nine games are versus the Astros and Cubs. The Dodgers are set to go on a nine-game road trip that includes the Nationals, Reds and Padres. Other teams are in the mix as well, with the Brewers and Pirates sitting two games back of the Cards in the loss column.

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.