I know a lot of you are at-work-only readers and actually try to have lives and/or watch football on the weekend. Whatever, I can’t stop you from doing silly things.
If you are one of those people with bad priorities, however, we would like you to know that there was all kinds of fun playoff activity over the weekend, we were writing about it, and here is a little rundown of what you missed:
- The Rangers and Braves are gone thanks to the wild card game, the A’s and Giants are down 0-2 to the Tigers and Reds, respectively, the Yankees hold a 1-0 lead on the Orioles and the Nats have the same on the Cards.
- There was an awful infield fly rule call in Atlanta on Friday which, for some reason, Braves fans are starting to believe was the reason they lost that game as opposed to Braves players throwing the ball all over the infield and leaving runners in scoring position. Whatever. That call was bad, but it didn’t cost the Braves the game. The Braves cost the Braves the game.
- That awful call caused Braves fans, for the first time in living memory, to display passion. So I guess something good came out of it all! Actually, no: that was just pathetic, Braves fans. Just uncalled for bull, and I was rather embarrassed to count myself in your number on Friday night. There is never an excuse to throw stuff on the field. I doubt baseball would do it in a playoff game, but that’s the kind of thing that could have caused a forfeit. Go back to watching Georgia football, you jerks, and let us few dozen real Braves fans continue to root for our team in a quiet, but far more dignified manner.
- Despite last night’s ninth inning implosion against the Yankees, the O’s have had something to celebrate in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
- In contrast, the Rangers skipper and star player caught some heat. And the star suggests that he’s played his last game for the Boys from Arlington.
- And in contrast to that, Dusty Baker hinted that he will be back with his team next year.
- The Atheltics are wearing a logo in memory of Pat Neshek’s son. Pat Neshek showed heart supreme by taking the ball and pitching. The A’s bats were silenced by Justin Verlander.
- The Reds’ ace? Not as good. Johnny Cueto threw eight pitches and left with back spasms in Game 1 of the NLDS. No worries, though, the Reds had it all along.
- In Game 2, the A’s pen shows that all the work its been getting of late may be taking its toll. Don Kelly, meanwhile, plays hero.
- Oh, and the A’s are not a big fan of Al Albuquerque, who planted a wet one on a baseball before making a putout. Hey man, let no one judge someone else’s love.
- The Nats — despite Gio Gonzalez acting like he was the singer in a Rick Ankiel cover band — beat the Cardinals.
- Bronson Arroyo stymied the Giants in Game 2. People still say “stymied,” right?
- CC Sabathia shows us all the value of an ace. The Orioles’ bullpen shows us that the post season is a whole new ballgame.
- The San Francisco Giants’ offense is on the side of milk cartons, asking “have you seen me?”
And we keep on going today: the Nats and Cardinals play in St. Louis at 4:37 PM Eastern time. The Orioles and Yankees play in Baltimore at 8:07 PM.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.
Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.
Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.
As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.
Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe …
Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.
Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.
Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.
Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.
Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.
His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …
It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?
Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.
Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.
Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.
Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.