On Thursday, it was reported that the Indians and starter Justin Masterson hit an impasse on negotiations for a contract extension. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that Masterson was asking for a three-year deal below Homer Bailey’s $17.5 million average annual value (thus, less than $52.5 million total). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports heard that the Indians countered with a two-year deal that included a third-year option worth approximately $14 million.
Masterson took the hill on Friday afternoon against the Rockies as a player inexorably headed towards free agency after the season. Or so we thought. After contributing to the team’s 14-3 victory, Masterson said regarding extension talks, “It’s just for right now. There’s still time. The season doesn’t end hopefully until the World Series is over.” The quote comes from MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.
So, maybe there is hope after all. Masterson, who will start on Opening Day as the undeniable ace of the pitching staff, represents the Indians more than anyone else on their roster and keeping him around shows their fan base that the front office is committed to putting together a competitive roster. Further, the Indians are ill-equipped to handle replacing Masterson and would likely have to go out onto the free agent market and spend more money replacing Masterson than they would by retaining him with a contract extension.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.