Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers

Zack Greinke becomes first pitcher with two stolen bases in a season since 2007

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Zack Greinke is having a great year on the mound, but what has been more impressive is what he has accomplished offensively. He entered this afternoon’s start against the Padres with an .809 OPS, easily the best mark among pitchers at the dish this season. Cubs pitcher Travis Wood has a .717 OPS, the second-best mark among hurlers.

In the bottom of the fifth, with the score tied 1-1, Greinke singled to center with two outs against Padres starter Tyson Ross. With Carl Crawford batting, Greinke stole second base, his second stolen base of the season. Greinke is the first pitcher with two stolen bases in a season since Orlando Hernandez accomplished the feat in 2007 with the Mets. He is the first Dodger to steal two bags since Orel Hershiser in 1987.

Player Year SB Age Tm Lg G PA CS OPS
Orlando Hernandez 2007 2 41 NYM NL 28 54 0 .375
Greg Maddux 2006 2 40 CHC/LAD NL 34 77 0 .317
Adam Eaton 2004 2 26 SDP NL 38 76 0 .594
Adam Eaton 2000 2 22 SDP NL 23 45 0 .742
Mike Hampton 1998 2 25 HOU NL 32 76 0 .676
Kevin Foster 1995 2 26 CHC NL 33 68 0 .636
Doug Brocail 1993 2 26 SDP NL 30 44 0 .364
Rick Sutcliffe 1989 2 33 CHC NL 37 90 0 .421
Tom Browning 1988 3 28 CIN NL 41 98 0 .362
Orel Hershiser 1987 2 28 LAD NL 40 102 1 .495
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/1/2013.

On the mound, Greinke went seven innings, allowing just the one run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven. He lowered his ERA to 2.78 with the effort. Yasiel Puig blasted a solo home run to left field in the sixth to give him a 2-1 lead before departing. Relievers Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez teamed up for a scoreless eighth before closer Kenley Jansen shut the door in the ninth for his 24th save.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.