I’m not calling any race yet because it feels like every time I call a race or, at the very least, count a team out, they go on some run and make me look dumb. The 2010 Giants were the best/worst ever in this regard. I actually had to wear a Giants shirt and cap on an HBT Daily video as a monument to my wrongness.
But even if I won’t make definitive calls like that, I will lean hard on the notion that a given team is in a Goose-level flatspin. The Phillies sorta feel that way to me now. Could they surprise? Sure. I just don’t see what could change to make that happen.
Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com gives me even greater reason to doubt today, noting that no team with a run differential as bad as the Phillies’ at this point (-58) has ever made the playoffs.
Seven and a half games isn’t an insurmountable hill to climb. But the bones of this team have caused it to be outscored by an awful lot, and it’s hard to see how that dynamic changes any time soon.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.