When you fire your GM, you give his replacement carte blanche to burn it all down and sell everything off. You do that in the middle of the season when you actually have some useful relievers, you’re definitely gonna make some trades because everyone wants bullpen help in the middle of the year. That’s where the Padres find themselves right now. Even though they don’t yet have a replacement for the fired Josh Byrnes.
Jon Heyman reports that the Padres are receiving calls about Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit. Both of them are having excellent seasons, with Street posting a sub-1.00 ERA and Benoit doing almost as well. Each have closing experience and each would be attractive targets for contenders seeking help for the back end of the pen. Contract-wise, Street is making $7 million this season with a $7 million club option for 2015 and Benoit is making $6 million this season and $8.5 million in 2015 and a 2016 club option. Both of those represent relative bargains for closers these days and the deals are quite tolerable even if they’re used as setup men.
Heyman has the Tigers, Angels, Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers and Marlins as possible landing spots for Street and Benoit. But really, almost any and every contender at least kicks the tires on bullpen arms in July most years.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.