Marlins celebration

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 7, Nationals 6: Rafael Soriano and a three-run lead in the ninth seems safe. Not last night it wasn’t. The Marlins rallied for four, capped by a Jeff Baker two-run single. The Nats had a 6-0 lead at one point here. This is the kind of game that comes back to haunt later in the season when things are tight. Or at least what this Braves fan’s wishful thinking is telling him.

Mets 7, Phillies 1: A.J. Burnett was probably a decent trade deadline candidate until recently. But he has certainly put the kibosh on that. Seven runs allowed here in five innings and six runs in five innings two starts ago vs. eight shutout innings against the Giants six days ago. You willing to bet a prospect on that anyone? I don’t know that I would be.

Rays 2, Brewers 1: Jake Odorizzi allowed one run and three hits in seven innings and a couple of RBI from James Loney. Also: a kind of compliment by Ron Roenicke to former Angels coaching colleague Joe Maddon: “Joe is out there, but he’s got great common sense and you don’t usually see that in a guy that’s out there.” Thanks?

Braves 2, Padres 0: Ervin Santana was fantastic — 11 Ks in seven innings — but the story here is, or at least should be, Jason Lane pitching six solid innings in his first major league start at age 37. This after seven years in the wilderness when his career as a hitter fizzled out. You don’t make this long, hard climb back unless you are made out of pure, unadulterated desire and unless you love baseball like no one’s business. Jason Lane is a story waiting to be told. Someone please tell it, because I bet it’s fantastic.

Blue Jays 14, Red Sox 1: I guess it was a game until the sixth inning. Then the Jays put up a nine-spot. Which in the metric system is, like, a three-spot I guess. I dunno, I always had a hard time with conversions like that. All I know is that Toronto unloaded hectares and liters and kilos of hurt on Boston. Clay Buchholz couldn’t retire anyone in the sixth and gave up seven runs in all. Five RBI for Mely Cabrera, four for Ryan Goins. R.A. Dickey struck out ten and allowed one run in seven innings. I guess no one ever taught him to pitch to the score.

Cubs 4, Rockies 1: Tsuyoshi Wada picked up his first big league win in his third big league start, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings. Anthony Rizzo drove in two.

Astros 7, Athletics 3: Homers from Chris Carter, Jason Castro, Marc Krauss and Matt Dominguez. Carter’s was a three-run shot. His was of saying ‘ello to this old friends on the A’s. Castro and Krauss went back-to-back in the sixth.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 4, Yankees 2: Two runs on nine hits (scatters, smothered and capped) in seven innings for Yu Darvish. He struck out eight as well. Two homers for Brett Gardner in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Diamondbacks 2, Reds 1: A 15 inning affair that ended a bit before midnight a bit after Nick Ahmed hit an RBI single in the top of the inning. Twelve pitchers used in all, most of whom put up zeroes in the box score. Indeed, Dbacks relievers combined for eight shutout innings after starter Chase Anderson managed to allow just one run in seven. As an Ohioan who has been to Cincinnati an awful lot, I truly have to wonder where the players in this one go out for dinner afterward. Like, it’s Taco Bell I guess. Great town in some respects, but not a night life kind of town. Should make next year’s All-Star Game all kinds of fun.

Pirates 5 vs. Giants 0: 4-0 in the first on a night when Vance Worley needed almost no help at all, tossing a four-hit shutout. It was his second career complete game. His first: against the Giants as well.

 

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.