Whether it’s about a potential long-term contract extension or a possible trade if a contract can’t be worked out, the offseason in Chicago has been filled with Jeff Samardzija talk.
However, team president Theo Epstein said yesterday that he’s done talking to the media about what the Cubs plan to do with their Opening Day starter, telling Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune:
We talked about it early in spring training,. We indulged the questions. Right now we’re just focused on the games and just going out and winning. And when I think of Jeff Samardzija, I think I’m happy he’s our Opening Day starter and look forward to a performance like we saw last year from him.
Samardzija then went out and threw seven scoreless innings. He’s also not a free agent until after the 2015 season, so there’s no huge rush for the Cubs to sign him or trade him, but Gonzales and plenty of other Chicago media members seem convinced he’ll be dealt at some point this season.
I’ll be interesting to see if “I’m not talking about Samardzija” will keep the local reporters at bay until July 31.
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The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.