This ultra-active day on the hot stove continues.
According to beat writer Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are “closing in on” a two-year contract with free agent first baseman Justin Morneau. No word yet on the financial terms.
Morneau struggled mightily throughout the 2013 season, batting .259 with a .741 OPS in 127 games with the Twins and then .260 with a .681 OPS in 25 games with the Pirates after a late-summer trade. The Rockies will hope that the 32-year-old can return to his old offensive form and serve as a productive replacement for Todd Helton, who retired at the end of the regular season. Michael Cuddyer will presumably stay in right field, where he played 113 games in 2013.
UPDATE, 10:53 p.m. ET: The two sides have officially agreed to terms, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Morneau’s two-year contract with the Rockies will be worth about $13 million total.
Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.
Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.
Aaron Judge hit a monster home run in last night’s win over the Mets, but he also set a dubious record. Judge struck out for the 33rd consecutive game, setting a new mark for a position player in a single season.
Yes, that’s qualified. No pitchers, of course, as I assume many of them have struck out in more than 33 straight games. Also, Adam Dunn once struck out in 36 straight games, but that straddled two seasons: he struck out in the final four games of 2011 and the first 32 games of 2012. Still, Judge’s feat is impressive, and given the nature of his game and the state of baseball these days, it’s not hard to imagine him striking out in three or four more straight games anyway.
None of which, by the way, should be all that much of a slight on Judge. The guy is still hitting .291/.420/.614, even with his second half slump. If I was a manager I’d happily accept his whiffs in exchange for everything else he brings to the table. It’s not 1959 anymore, and strikeouts are not the worst thing that can happen.