Back in August during a radio interview Tigers manager Jim Leyland accused the A’s of stealing signs:
I still think that they were getting something somewhere. I’m just not believing. I know we made a lot of bad pitches, but I just don’t believe you wear the ball out like that. I’ve seen a lot of games and a lot of series and I’ve seen teams get hot, but I’m a little suspicious that somewhere along the line they were getting something somewhere.
He later backed off those comments, at least publicly, but obviously the A’s still remember. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle followed up on the topic before the two teams match up in the ALDS and here’s what Josh Donaldson told her:
We haven’t stolen a single sign all year. We don’t have a guy in here who even wants a sign–some teams will steal pitch location and we don’t even do that. We laugh when catchers are changing signs because we don’t want them, anyway.
Of course, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a player who says “yeah, we’re constantly stealing signs and everyone on the team would love to have that help all the time.” And if the A’s knock around one of the Tigers’ stud starting pitchers during this series you can be sure Leyland will be asked to revisit the sign-stealing quotes.
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.