Cubs Celebrate

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Cubs 17, Cardinals 5: There’s a score that’ll lead to some deceptive stats for a little while. Team ERAs and averages and run differentials and things like that. Doesn’t make the Cubs good nor the Cardinals bad, but it creates temporary analytical chaos and that’s always a good thing. Anyway, 17 runs in support of Travis Wood is fun. Especially considering that Jeff Samardzija has gotten 15 runs of support over his eight starts. Junior Lake drove in six.

Tigers 4, Orioles 1: Benches cleared after Bud Norris plunked Torii Hunter following an Ian Kinsler home run. No punches or anything or really any shoving and stuff, but it does seem like Norris was throwing at Hunter out of frustration. Rick Porcello won his fifth start in a row and sixth game overall.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 5: Arizona carried a 5-4 lead from the sixth to the ninth but then Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa each hit solo homers and that was that.

Mets 9, Yankees 7: The Mets continue to own the Yankees for some reason. This time after overcoming three-run deficits twice. Four Mets homers, some shaky Yankees relief, a successful bullpen debut for Jenrry Mejia and a gimpy Mark Teixeira — who couldn’t make it to second base on a ball to the wall and then turned into the first out of a game-ending double play — all factored in this one.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 5: Yasiel Puig hit his third homer in four days — this a three-run job — and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He has 26 career homers. This one was the 12th that came on the first pitch. I’m sure that means he’s doing something wrong and destructive to the team. Dan Haren allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings without walking anyone.

Blue Jays 7, Angels 3: Mark Buehrle wins his seventh of the season. He’s the first guy in the bigs to do that. Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie each hit homers. The Jays avoided a four-game sweep. In other news, weekend series that wrap around to Monday were invented by fifth columnists back in the 1940s in order to destabilize society and annoy game recappers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Giants 4, Braves 2: Tim Lincecum had his best start of the year, striking out 11. A lot of pitchers have had their best starts of the year facing the Braves lately. Tyler Colvin and Freddie Freeman each hit homers into McCovey Cove. It was the first time two homers hit the water in the same game since Barry Bonds did it twice himself on May 18, 2002.

Rangers 4, Astros 0: Colby Lewis tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings, striking out eight, and the pen finished the job. Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit homers. Odor’s first as a big leaguer.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4: Jesse Chavez went eight innings and the A’s won their fifth straight. A Jed Lowrie double, a Josh Reddick triple and a Josh Donaldson homer accounted for Oakland’s scoring.

Mariners 12, Rays 5: Felix Hernandez took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a three-run double, but he got staked to a 9-0 lead after three innings and notched his first win in a month anyway. Then he got ejected as he was barking at the umpire while leaving the game, which is probably the best time to get ejected if you have to do so.

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty
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Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.

David Price said to care about more than just the money

David Price

Every year free agency brings with it its own set of politics and talking points and spin. Factors which are said to be more important to players than the money being offered.

And, to be fair, there is one big factor that is likely more important than money for many of them: winning. I truly believe players want to win. They say it all the time and there’s no reason to think they’re being disingenuous about that, especially the ones who have been around the game a long time.

I’ll note, however, that given how success cycles work in baseball (i.e. teams that aren’t close to being true contenders aren’t likely to be spending big in free agency anyway) that consideration often washes out of the system. Every year you hear of one or two losing teams making a big, competitive offer to a free agent, but it’s not that common.

What I’m talking about more here are the truly soft factors. Factors which often anchor hot stove rumors, but which rarely if ever truly stand out as determining factors when it comes to where a free agent ends up. Examples of these include geographic proximity to where the player grew up, his wife grew up, he went to college or what have you. Remember how CC Sabathia was going to play in California? And Mark Teixeira was going to play for Baltimore? Heck, I’m so old I remember when Brandon Webb was gonna break the bank playing for the Reds.

It’s pretty rare, though, for that to pan out. Sabathia and Teixeira went to New York. If Brandon Webb’s shoulder had cooperated it’s not likely he would’ve ended up in Cincinnati. Money talks for free agents, much louder than any of the soft considerations. Even when, like Mike Hampton and his Denver-public-school-loving self claimed that he signed with the Rockies for reasons other than the fact that they unloaded the money truck for him.

I think we’re seeing a new soft factor emerge. Today Peter Gammons reported this about David Price:

Cities are fairly strong as soft factors go, I reckon. Somewhere south of money and winning but north of “my wife’s family lives there.” Money can make up the difference between a fun city and a lame city, but if things are equal, going someplace you want to be likely is a factor.

But that second one — being able to hit — seems a bit suspect. This is not the first time I’ve heard that this offseason. Zack Greinke was said to prefer the NL because he likes to hit. I’ve heard this about other pitchers too. I question how important a factor that truly is — the actual hitting part actually affecting a free agent decision — as much as I suspect it’s a negotiating tool designed to get AL teams to pay a premium to get the guy to “give up” hitting. Or, more likely, that it’s code for “it’s WAY easier to pitch in the NL because I get to face a pitcher who can’t hit for crap 2-3 times a game.”

On some level I suppose this is all unknowable. I doubt David Price or some other free agent pitcher is ever going to hold a January press conference in which he says the following:

“Well, the money was absolutely equal between the final two suitors and, as you know, both made the playoffs last year and play in cities with copious cultural resources for my family and me. And, having plotted the two cities on Google Maps, I discovered that the two cities are each EXACTLY 347 miles from my Aunt Tilly’s house! What are the friggin’ odds?

Ultimately, though, I signed here so I could bat.”

Like I said, not likely. But wouldn’t it be something if that happened? If so, I’d probably cast a 12-inch statue of Mike Hampton and start giving out an annual award or something.

Player pool for MLB postseason shares is a record $69 million

television money

MLB just announced the postseason shares for this year and the players’ overall pool is a record total of $69.9 million. Nice.

That total gets divided among playoff participants, with Royals receiving $25,157,573.73 for winning the World Series and Mets getting $16,771,715.82 for finishing runner-up. That works out to $370,069.03 each for the Royals and $300,757.78 each for the Mets.

Jeffrey Flanagan of reports that the Royals have issued full playoff shares to a total of 58 people, plus 8.37 partial shares and 50 “cash rewards.” In other words: There was a whole bunch of money to go around if you were in any way involved in the Royals’ championship run.

According to MLB public relations the previous high for the overall player pool was $65.4 million in 2012 and the Mets’ playoff share is the highest ever for a World Series-losing team, topping the Tigers’ share of $291,667.68 in 2006. Kansas City’s playoff share is slightly less than San Francisco received last year.

Here are the individual postseason share amounts by team:

Royals – $370,069.03
Mets – $300,757.78
Blue Jays – $141,834.40
Cubs – $122,327.59
Astros – $36,783.25
Cardinals – $34,223.65
Dodgers – $34,168.74
Rangers – $34,074.40
Pirates – $15,884.20
Yankees – $13,979.99

Marc Anthony gets into the agent business, signs Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

There is a somewhat mixed history of entertainers and musicians getting into the sports agent business. Sometimes it works out (Jay-Z has done OK). Sometimes it doesn’t (Master P says “Hi”).

Add another one to the list. A pretty big one. Ken Rosenthal reports that Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media is getting into sports. And the company, Magnus Sports, just signed a new client: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. From Rosenthal:

The company said in a news release that it will team with a baseball agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management — and that the group’s first major client will be Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Praver Shapiro represents a number of Latin players, including Marlinsshortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, Reds pitcherRaisel Iglesias and free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.

Chapman is on the trading block right now but 2016 is his walk year, and barring injury he’ll due for perhaps the biggest payday a closer has ever seen. Whether he’ll actually get it depends on the negotiating skills of the biggest salsa artist the world has ever seen.

Gentlemen: you have a year to get some song title pun/headlines ready.