The Orioles have pulled ahead again in Arlington. Adam Jones delivered a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead over the Rangers.
J.J. Hardy led off the sixth by dumping a single into shallow right field before Chris Davis singled to right to move him to third. Jones flew out deep to right field to bring Hardy home. Yu Darvish was then visited by a team trainer and his interpreter, as he looked to be favoring his neck and back, but he stayed in the game to get Matt Wieters to pop out to second base and Jim Thome to strike out looking on a nasty curveball.
Joe Saunders came back out for the bottom of the sixth and retired Josh Hamilton on a ground out and Adrian Beltre on a fly out before Buck Showalter brought the hook. Saunders ended up throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Pretty good. And downright unexpected. Darren O’Day then got Nelson Cruz to fly out to right to end the inning. The Orioles have the lead as we move to the seventh.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.