This afternoon the Red Sox officially introduced Ryan Dempster, who signed a two-year, $26.5 million deal last week, but Mike Napoli’s reported three-year, $39 million contract has yet to become official and general manager Ben Cherington didn’t have much to say about it.
“There’s really nothing to comment on,” Cherington said, via Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “As with any free agent, until it’s done, it’s not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team. I’ll comment on it as soon as I can, but I can’t right now.”
There’s been lots of speculation about the source of the delay with Napoli, who originally agreed to the deal way back on December 3. When asked it the team continues to be in the mix for different first basemen without Napoli officially under contract Cherington replied: “Sure, we’ve got to keep active. Until something is done, it’s not done. Even then we can’t be blind to trying to improve the team in other ways.”
So, basically … who knows. Obviously there’s something holding up the Napoli deal nearly three weeks later and the natural assumption is that it’s health-related, perhaps causing the Red Sox to try to rework some aspects of the contract. But so far at least there’s no indication that either side is going to back out of the deal.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.