Roy Halladay endorses Cole Hamels as Opening Day starter

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I get the sense that there is some sort of controversy about Roy Halladay not being the Opening Day starter for the Phillies. Not that anyone is arguing he should, really, but that there is some sort of kabuki theater dance going on in which the Phillies are trying to finesse the idea that he’s not as though people will argue it later. Saying things like “you gotta split up the lefties in the rotation” when that’s actually a pretty silly justification.

Whatever is going on there — be it actual concern or concern about potential concern — Roy Halladay himself has no concern about it at all. From Jim Salisbury, here’s Halladay talking about Cole Hamels as the Opening Day starter:

“He deserves that and I think that’s the way it should be. It’s his time. It should have been his spot a long time ago. It’s time for him to establish himself as the head of the staff.”

What, you were expecting him to be a diva or something? He’s Roy freakin’ Halladay. He’s probably the closest thing baseball has to Dr. Manhattan from “Watchmen.” The petty concerns of mortals — or in this case, sports gabbers — really don’t concern him.  He’ll be on Mars building new civilizations if you need him.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.