Dan Uggla

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 9, Phillies 6: This one was gonzo. A pitchers duel for seven innings, with Ervin Santana striking out 11 in six and Roberto Hernandez only allowing two himself. Then all hell broke loose. The Braves hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the eighth to go up 5-1, the Phillies socked back at ’em for five runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 6-5 and then the Braves scoring four more on a Dan Uggla grand slam in the ninth to win it. Two homers for Uggla. Two for Evan Gattis. No-shows from Jonathan Papelbon, who has pitched a lot lately, and Craig Kimbrel, who hasn’t, but had a sore shoulder. A leadoff four-pitch walk to B.J. Upton in the ninth, which I’m pretty sure is classified as a crime against humanity. Really, if gamblers were orchestrating this game it wouldn’t have gone off any less crazy than it did. Man, baseball is fun.

Oh, almost forgot. Check out the line of the pitcher who got the win for the Braves:

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Yeah, baby. Wins!

Cardinals 4, Brewers 0:  Jhonny Peralta with a solo shot and Jon Jay with a three-run bomb. Some of my correspondents told me that the Cardinals broadcasters (a) criticized Carlos Gomez for “swinging too hard” in the early innings, as if that were some sort of Cardinals-special unwritten rules violation; and (b) were getting on Ryan Braun’s case for PEDs while Peralta sat there in Cardinal red hitting bombs with no criticism whatsoever. I need confirmation on this, folks. Because if it’s true, the Cardinals have gone way beyond self-parody.

Nationals 9, Marlins 2: Two doubles and an RBI for Bryce Harper and Jordan Zimmerman rebounded from a bad start against Miami last week. The Marlins have dropped eight straight, which sorta kills that “the Marlins are frisky!” storyline I and many others were partial to in the early going.

Orioles 7, Rays 1: Wei-Yin Chen allowed one run in six and a third and the O’s teed off on Chris Archer. Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy each had three hits. The O’s built a 6-0 lead early and had 13 hits total, including five doubles.

Pirates 7, Reds 7: SUSPENDED: Following a metric butt-ton of rain and soggy conditions, they’ll pick this one up at 5:30 PM today before the scheduled game this evening. As it stand now, ten homers have been hit in this incomplete game, including two by Gaby Sanchez and two by Neil Walker.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Mariners 7, Rangers 1: Colby Lewis ran out of gas in the sixth and then once he was gone his defense ran out of skillz. Seattle scored six runs on six hits and three errors that inning and that was all she wrote.

Athletics 3, Angels 2: John Jaso hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri. He has done this sort of thing against the Angels before. I’d call him an “Angel killer” but that seems so dark and evil. Here’s what he said after the game:

“Donaldson hit that ball hard to start off the inning, and it kind of started there,” Jaso said. “I think Cespy just missed a pitch, too, so we definitely had some good swings going and some good momentum against Frieri.

Wait, he calles Yoenis Cespedes “Cespy?” OK, he’s even more evil than an Angel killer. That’s just the worst.

Mets 7, Diamondbacks 3: A win, but a costly one as both Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares left the game with injuries. Lagares’ is more serious — a hamstring — while Granderson just banged his forearm against the wall. In brighter news, the Mets rattled off 13 hits against the Dbacks, who have been just awful so far this year.

Padres 5, Rockies 4: The second time in less than a week we’ve had a game decided by a wild pitch/bad throw back to the pitcher covering home/two runs score play. This happened in the eighth, with Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers on the mound. Best part: he walked the bases loaded with two outs first to set up the clown shoes ending. So no, not the best night for that guy.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

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Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.