And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 12, Athletics 2: Lose your starter after two innings? No problem. Because the Tigers have a Hulk. Miguel Cabrera hit two homers and drove in six, starting the A’s hella road trip off in poor fashion.

Reds 3, Cubs 1: Homer Bailey took a two-hit shutout into the eighth over what was likely some very tired Cubs. Cincy’s magic number is four.

White Sox 3, Royals 2: Five straight wins for Chicago. And a rare win against the Royals, relatively speaking. Really: the defining characteristic of the 2012 AL Central is the leaders not taking care of business against the cupcakes.

Marlins 4, Braves 3: Atlanta rallied for three in the ninth to force extras, but Jose Reyes’ two-run single in the 10th won it. The Braves are already have a gimpy Andrelton Simmons, and now they’ve lost Paul Janish, who dislocated his shoulder in this one. PLAY CHIPPER AT SHORT, FREDI! LET HIM LEAVE THIS GAME THE SAME WAY HE CAME IN.

Cardinals 4, Astros 1:  Kyle Lohse threw seven scoreless innings. See, Philly, this is how you beat a bad, bad team that you’re supposed to beat in order to stay in the wild card race.

Brewers 6, Pirates 0: Yovani Gallardo won his eighth straight decision over the listless Pirates. Wait, that’s not right. They have list. A strong list to starboard, not unlike the Lusitania just before she went down.

Twins 6, Indians 5: The battle for fourth place has become heated! The Indians used ten pitchers, by the way. Including David Huff, who only pitched for a minute and a huff. This is just barely identifiable as real baseball at this point.

Red Sox 7, Rays 5: Looking at the schedule back in April and I bet you though this series would matter. Oh well. Fourth straight loss for the Rays and seventh of eight.

Orioles 4, Mariners 2: Let’s play two! Or at least two games worth of baseball. Eighteen innings ended, effectively anyway, with a Taylor Teagarden RBI single and yet another Orioles’ extra-inning win.  Thanks to the Yankees being off for two straight days, the O’s have moved into a virtual tie for first.

Giants 6, Rockies 3: Six and a third scoreless innings with six strikeouts for Tim Lincecum. If he’s right come playoff time, lookout National League.

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2: After dropping six straight to the Padres at home, the Dbacks finally prevail thanks to a strong Ian Kennedy start. They lost Chris Young again, however, who aggravated his quad injury. Which stinks.

Angels 11, Rangers 3: An eight-run fourth inning helped seal a necessary win for Anaheim, who keeps pace with Baltimore, remaining three back in the wild card. They need some help, though. Jered Weaver won his 100th career game.

Phillies vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Been down to the corner, about once or twice. I don’t know but it’s been nice. I ain’t got no money, I can’t buy a damn thing that I might like. Let’s go down to the dime store on some moonless night and look at the rain.

Dodgers vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: And if you see us on the corner and we’re dancing in the rain. I join my friends there when I see them outside my window pane. Shadows in the rain, shadows in the rain.

Blue Jays vs. Yankees: POSTPONED: This one goes out to Yunel Escobar:

Humidity is rising – Barometer’s getting low
According to all sources, the street’s the place to go
Cause tonight for the first time
Just about half-past ten
For the first time in history
It’s gonna start raining men.

It’s Raining Men! Hallelujah! – It’s Raining Men! Amen!
I’m gonna go out to run and let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet!
It’s Raining Men! Hallelujah!
It’s Raining Men! Every Specimen!
Tall, blonde, dark and lean
Rough and tough and strong and mean

MLB Network airs segment listing “good” and “bad” $100 million-plus contracts

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On Wednesday evening, Charlie Marlow of KTVI FOX 2 News St. Louis posted a couple of screencaps from a segment MLB Network aired about $100 million-plus contracts that have been signed. The list of “bad” contracts, unsurprisingly, is lengthier than the list of “good” contracts.

As Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus pointed out, it is problematic for a network owned by Major League Baseball to air a segment criticizing its employees for making too much seemingly unearned money. There’s a very clear conflict of interest, so one is certainly not getting a fair view of the situation. MLB, of course, can do what it wants with its network, but it can also be criticized. MLB Network would never air a similar segment in which it listed baseball’s “good” and “bad” owners and how much money they’ve undeservedly taken. Nor would MLB Network ever run a segment naming the hundreds of players who are not yet eligible for arbitration whose salaries are decided for them by their teams, often making the major league minimum ($545,000) or just above it. Similarly, MLB Network would also never think of airing a segment in which the pay of minor league players, many of whom make under $10,000 annually, is highlighted.

We’re now past the halfway point in January and many free agents still remain unsigned. It’s unprecedented. A few weeks ago, I looked just at the last handful of years and found that, typically, six or seven of the top 10 free agents signed by the new year. We’re still at two of 10 — same as a few weeks ago — and that’s only if you consider Carlos Santana a top-10 free agent, which is debatable. It’s a complex issue, but part of it certainly is the ubiquity of analytics in front offices, creating homogeneity in thinking. A consequence of that is everyone now being aware that big free agent contracts haven’t panned out well; it’s a topic of conversation that everyone can have and understand now. Back in 2010, I upset a lot of people by suggesting that Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125 million contract with the Phillies wouldn’t pan out well. Those people mostly cited home runs and RBI and got mad when I cited WAR and wOBA and defensive metrics. Now, many of those same people are wary of signing free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer and they now cite WAR, wOBA, and the various defensive metrics.

The public’s hyper-sensitivity to the viability of long-term free agent contracts — thanks in part to segments like the aforementioned — is a really bad trend if you’re a player, agent, or just care about labor in general. The tables have become very much tilted in favor of ownership over labor over the last decade and a half. Nathaniel Grow of FanGraphs pointed out in March 2015 that the players’ share of total league revenues peaked in 2002 at 56 percent, but declined all the way to 38 percent in 2014. The current trend of teams signing their talented players to long-term contract extensions before or during their years of arbitration eligibility — before they have real leverage — as well as teams abstaining from signing free agents will only serve to send that percentage further down.

Craig has written at great length about the rather serious problem the MLBPA has on its hands. Solving this problem won’t be easy and may require the threat of a strike, or actually striking. As Craig mentioned, that would mean getting the players all on the same page on this issue, which would require some work. MLB hasn’t dealt with a strike since 1994 and it’s believed that it caused a serious decline in interest among fans, so it’s certainly something that would get the owners’ attention. The MLBPA may also need to consider replacing union head Tony Clark with someone with a serious labor background. Among the issues the union could focus on during negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement: abolishing the draft and getting rid of the arbitration system. One thing is for sure: the players are not in a good spot now, especially when the league has its own network on which it propagandizes against them.