Play of the Day: Ryan Zimmerman avoids bat shard, starts double play

2 Comments

Much was made about Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s inability to make throws recently before it was revealed he has been dealing with an arthritic shoulder. The shoulder didn’t appear to be an impediment at least for one play he made on Friday night against the Braves.

In the bottom of the fifth inning with a runner on first base and no outs, Nationals starter Tanner Roark got B.J. Upton to swing at a fastball high and inside. Upton offered, sending a weak grounder Zimmerman’s way. Upton’s bat broke and a giant shard was flung with a frightening amount of velocity in nearly the same path as the ball. Zimmerman ducked, fielded the ball, and threw to second base from his knee. Anthony Rendon whipped it around to first baseman Adam LaRoche just in time to complete the double play.

You can watch the incredible play here.

Zimmerman also launched a three-run home run in the fifth inning just for good measure. The Nationals, however, couldn’t hang on, losing 7-6 to the Braves in 10 innings.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

Getty Images
7 Comments

Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

Getty Images
3 Comments

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.