A couple of easy decisions here for the Giants …
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the San Francisco front office has officially declined an $18 million club option on left-hander Barry Zito and a club option of unknown value on outfielder Andres Torres. The players are now free agents.
Zito, 35, posted a brutal 5.74 ERA (58 ERA+) across 133 1/3 innings during the 2013 regular season — the final chapter of that seven-year, $126 million free agent contract that he received in December 2006.
Torres, also 35, hit .250/.302/.342 with two home runs in 300 plate appearances this past summer.
Zito got a $7 million buyout from the Giants. It’s not clear whether Torres got anything.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.