So far Reds’ speedster Billy Hamilton has been deployed as a pinch runner/secret weapon. Last night he got a start, however, and boy what a start it was.
Hamilton went 3 for 4 — his first three major league hits — with two walks and four stolen bases against the Astros. He is the first player to get four stolen bases in his first major league start. One of his stolen bases led to the run which broke a 4-4 tie in the 13th inning. He’s now nine-for-nine in stolen base attempts.
In just one start and a couple of pinch running appearances Hamilton is tied for 37th in the NL in stolen bases. At the rate he’s going he could finish in the top ten despite being a September callup. That would be pretty trippy.
More significantly, he has to be putting the Reds in mind of placing him on the postseason roster. Sure, he’s not going to start much, but I feel like he’d be more valuable than a couple of the back-of-the-bullpen arms Dusty Baker may otherwise be inclined to carry around.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.