We’re only nine games into the season, but this weekend we have what you might consider to be the first big series of the season: Braves vs. Nationals at Nats Park.
Atlanta is 8-1, their best start since winning 13 of 14 to begin the 1994 season. It’s hard to get a true gauge on them seeing as their last six games came against the lowly Marlins and Cubs, but they’re certainly hot. The Nationals, most experts’ pick to win the NL East, are fresh off a sweep of the White Sox and stand at 7-2. They’ve won all six of their home games so far this year.
The matchups shape up like this:
- Friday: Julio Teheran vs. Ross Detwiler;
- Saturday: Tim Hudson vs. Stephen Strasburg; and
- Sunday: Paul Maholm vs. Gio Gonzalez
Of note: Rafael Soriano is likely unavailable to close tonight since he’s pitched in the last three games. In his place will be Drew Storen. So I guess you can say advantage Atlanta, at least for this evening.
It’s too early to worry about the standings and stuff. But it’ll be great fun to see the first round of what should be a season-long dogfight for the NL East.
In a column published on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Padres are “aggressively shopping” third baseman Yangervis Solarte. The 29-year-old is entering his first of three years of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $2.7 million next season.
This past season, Solarte hit a solid .286/.341/.467 with 15 home runs and 71 RBI in 443 plate appearances. It’s quite impressive factoring in that he plays in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Given that Solarte is team-controlled for three more years and he offers lots of versatility with previous experience playing first and second base as well as corner outfield, the Padres should receive a fair amount of interest.
Update (6:52 PM EST): The deal is expected to be one year for $13 million, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms the report.
The Yankees are close to signing veteran free agent Matt Holliday, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports.
Holliday, who turns 37 years old next month, was limited to 110 games in 2016 with the Cardinals due to a fractured left thumb suffered in the second half. He finished the season hitting .246/.322/.461 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 426 plate appearances.
Holliday is likely looking at spending the majority of his time in the DH role. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann handled the DH role for a majority of the time last season but all three have moved on — Rodriguez was released in the second half, Beltran just signed with the Astros, and McCann was traded to the Astros last month.