There’s been some speculation that the Tigers will fire Jim Leyland if they don’t make the playoffs, and yesterday the 67-year-old manager told reporters that he hasn’t talked about his contract status with the team and doesn’t want to until the season is over:
Here’s more from Leyland, via Anthony Odoardi of MLB.com:
I don’t think about that. I think about beating Oakland. That’s not going to have any effect on me. I think about beating the Oakland Athletics tonight and get into the playoffs. That situation will take care of itself at the proper time, and now, obviously, is not the proper time.
If I had information for you, I would give it to you, but I have none. I haven’t discussed my situation with anyone nor has my situation been discussed with me. And I don’t want to discuss my situation with anyone nor do they want to discuss it with me right now. We’re trying to win a division.
Leyland’s contract status was actually a popular topic way back in spring training, when he discussed it with reporters on March 30 and then ended the media session by saying: “But that’s the end of that stuff for the whole year. I’m not talking about that.”
And that’s mostly been true. Until now, at least.
This is Leyland’s seventh season as Tigers manager and his record with Detroit is 597-523 (.533) with two playoff appearances, including an American League title in 2006. This year, however, the Tigers were picked to win the AL Central by just about everyone and instead sit 3.0 games back of the White Sox at 78-69 for the league’s seventh-best record.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.