Padres, Eric Stults avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres and left-hander Eric Stults have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.75 million contract.

This is the first major payday for Stults, who has thrived since he was claimed off waivers from the White Sox in May of 2012, posting a 3.62 ERA over 47 starts and four relief appearances. The 33-year-old southpaw threw a career-high 203 2/3 innings this past season.

Stults is far from dominant, but he throws strikes and should do well enough as a backend starter as long as he calls PETCO Park home. As of now, he projects to enter 2014 with a rotation spot alongside Andrew Cashner, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross, but that could change in the weeks ahead. Over the weekend, Bill Center of UT-San Diego speculated that the Padres could potentially deal Stults, Burch Smith, or Robbie Erlin to upgrade in other areas.

Watch: Brian McCann’s incredible tag nails Greg Bird at home plate

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Things got a little wild in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday. With one out and runners at the corners, Astros’ right-hander Charlie Morton fired a 1-1 fastball to Todd Frazier. Frazier returned the ball to third baseman Alex Bregman, who tossed a perfect throw over to Brian McCann at the plate just as Greg Bird came charging home. McCann’s setup was flawless, nailing Bird as he slid into the plate and nullifying the Yankees’ first real attempt to get on the board.

That’s as close as the Yankees have come to scoring so far. The Astros took an early 1-0 lead with Evan Gattis‘ 405-footer off of CC Sabathia in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Altuve chimed in with an opposite-field solo shot in the fifth, while McCann followed his lead-preserving tag with an equally jaw-dropping two-out, two-RBI double. Houston currently leads 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth.