Report: Indians offered Shane Victorino $44 million

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Finally out from under Travis Hafner’s deal, the Indians tried going big for once, offering free agent Shane Victorino a four-year, $44 million deal, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

Victorino instead signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox, netting him an extra $2 million annually.

The $44 million would have been the biggest contract ever handed out in free agency by the Indians, and the second biggest deal in team history, behind Hafner’s four-year, $57 million deal that just expired. Kerry Wood’s two-year, $20.5 million pact signed four years ago rates as the team’s biggest outside expenditure to date.

It’d seem to be a good sign that the Indians have the money to spend, though one wonders where they might redirect it now. They don’t appear to be in on Michael Bourn or Nick Swisher (who would likely prefer an ocean view anyway). Adam LaRoche would make sense, but they haven’t been mentioned in connection with him. They could go after Cody Ross or Ryan Ludwick. It’s possible they’ll be in the market for two outfielders since Shin-Soo Choo is on the block.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.