Yoenis Cespedes, Sam Fuld, Josh Reddick

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 8, Twins 3: These guys just wear you out. Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, Jed Lowrie. Just no real breaks and they all just grind on you. Kind of like those 90s Yankees teams in a lot of ways. Not the big-bopping bombers of the A-Rod years, but the Bernie/Tino Martinez/Scott Brosius Yankees. When you look at them and say “OK, I should be able to get these guys out,” but you just can’t because no one in the lineup is an easy out.

Angels 9, Astros 1: Child’s play for C.J. Wilson, who gave up one run in eight innings. Raul Ibanez drove in three. Basically, he and LaTroy Hawkins have to keep on doing what they’re doing, because they’re older than me and as long as there are dudes older than me still making it work as major leaguers I won’t be old yet. I tell myself.

Yankees 4, Orioles 2: Hiroki Kuroda was sharp. Jeter loafed, but he’s Jeter, so we’ll let that slide.

Cardinals 5, Reds 3: A good outing from Michael Wacha and a three-run double from Yadier Molina in the first made for a good home opener. Not to pick on him because there were many failures by the Reds here, but it’s worth noting that Billy Hamilton: leadoff man is not getting off to a great start for the Reds. He’s got an OBP of .111 so far. He can steal second and third at will, but he can’t steal first.

Red Sox 5, Rangers 1: This “John Lackey is a good pitcher” thing is lasting into another season, apparently. Good for him. One unearned run was all he allowed while Jackie Bradley, Jr. Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski each had three hits. Both of these teams are 3-4. I had them down as my ALCS matchup, so really guys, get on the stick.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Royals 4, Rays 2: Jason Vargas: one run over eight. That one run came in the ninth, though, as he gave up a homer to Ben Zobrist to lead things off and then was quickly replaced by Greg Holland. Who gave up a run of his own, actually, which is crazy given that he throws freakin’ napalm.

Rockies 8, White Sox 1: Jordan Lyles went 3 for 3 with a couple of RBIs. Oh, and he pitched a little too, allowing one run in six and two-thirds. The rest of the Rockies didn’t really need to show up.

Padres vs. Indians: POSTPONED; Brewers v. Phillies: POSTPONED:  Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the release of my favorite movie of all time. Like, favorite by a long shot and it ain’t even close. In honor of that — and in honor of two rainouts — I provide you with a picture of its protagonist wearing a raincoat:

source:

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.