Oakland has exercised its 2013 option on Grant Balfour, bringing the right-hander back for $4.5 million after he emerged as the team’s closer this season, but the A’s have declined their half of Stephen Drew’s mutual option for $10 million.
That makes Drew a free agent, although it’s possible the A’s could try to re-sign him in what is a pretty weak year for available shortstops. Drew hit .250 with five homers and a .707 OPS in 39 games for the A’s after struggling for the Diamondbacks. He gets a $1.35 million buyout.
Balfour had never saved more than four games in a season previously, but emerged as the A’s closer at age 34 and converted 24 saves with a 2.53 ERA in 75 innings. Combined during the past five seasons Balfour has a 2.78 ERA in 318 innings, striking out 9.6 batters per nine frames while holding opponents to a .191 batting average.
Major League Baseball announced that the starting time of Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday night has been moved up to 7:08 PM EDT due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain late in the night, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports.
Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs against the Indians’ Trevor Bauer, assuming his finger injury doesn’t prevent him from doing so.
While an 8 PM start puts the game in a better TV slot, most of the playoff games have been ending around midnight or later. That makes it difficult for kids on the East coast to watch and enjoy the entirety of the games. As we know, baseball has a looming problem in that its viewing audience is getting steadily older. Having playoff games start at 7 PM consistently — or even 6 PM, for that matter — might be good for the future of the game.
The last time the Cubs were in the World Series was 1945, two years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. As such, until Tuesday night, the Cubs never had a black player play for them in the World Series.
Dexter Fowler changed that, leading off the ballgame at Progressive Field against the Indians. Fowler was made aware of this fact three days ago by Rany Jazayerli of The Ringer:
Fowler, in that at-bat, went ahead in the count 2-1 but ended up striking out looking on a Corey Kluber sinker.