While a disaster outing from ace Clayton Kershaw and a lack of offense against Michael Wacha were the main reasons for the Dodgers’ season coming to an end last night, Yasiel Puig naturally received plenty of attention after the game for his three defensive miscues in right field.
According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged in his postgame comments that the club still has some work to do with the 22-year-old outfielder.
“Sitting there watching it tonight, and it’s what we’ve kind of watched all year long, it’s like you don’t have time to work on it, really,” Mattingly said. “You kind of go over it and you try to teach. You just continue to try to teach. Not just him, but all of us, really, you know? Yasiel gets excited. He’s going to try to make plays all the time, and that’s the way he is. But we’ve got to do a better job, I think, of helping him to mature and understand what we want done and the way to do it.”
Mattingly’s concerns are valid. Sure, Puig’s aggressive style is a lot of fun to watch and it often leads to brilliance, but we saw last night that it can also result in extra bases for the opposition. This isn’t lost on Puig, who said through his interpreter after the game that the biggest thing he noticed during his rookie season is the importance of “every run, every at-bat, every play in the field.” Cliched, yes, but a comment like that at least shows that he is aware of the repercussions of his mistakes. Nobody is asking Puig to shed his exuberance — it’s what makes him so much fun — but getting him to adhere to basic fundamentals rather than trying to do too much shouldn’t be considered reining him in, either. It’s easy to forget that has has only been in the country for a little over one year, so there’s still plenty of room for growth on that end.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.