The Yankees were mentioned as the favorites to sign Carlos Beltran earlier this week, but the Royals haven’t given up hopes of reuniting.
According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals “insist” that they will pursue Beltran and appear willing to meet his preference of a three-year contract. This comes on the heels of CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman pegging the club as a “serious threat” last weekend.
“We’d love to have him in,” one Royals official said. “One thing about Carlos Beltran is he’s a money player. He’s an RBI guy. He produces.”
As these things usually go, it will all come down to money. With that in mind, the Royals would likely have to shed payroll in order to make room for Beltran. Dutton speculates that Billy Butler could be at the top of the list of available players, along with some of their high-priced relievers. Still, with the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles and Mariners all in the mix for Beltran, the bidding could climb higher than the Royals are willing to go.
Beltran, who turns 37 in April, batted .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI over 145 games this past season. He spent the first seven years of his career in Kansas City, so if he can return to his roots and remain healthy and productive into his late-30s, it would pretty much clinch him going into the Hall of Fame in a Royals cap.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.