Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick apologizes for showing up Ryne Sandberg

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Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick was throwing well through five innings in Saturday’s start against the Giants, holding them to one run. He entered the sixth with a 5-1 lead, but all hell broke loose. Buster Posey led off with a single, then Pablo Sandoval hit a mile-high pop-up to the right side of the infield. Both second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard came after it, but the ball dropped between them. Utley picked up the ball and quickly made a back-hand flip to second base in attempt to secure the force out, but it was wide and dragged shortstop Jimmy Rollins off of the bag, allowing both runners to reach safely. Mike Morse followed up with an RBI double to make it 5-2 and put runners on second and third.

Manager Ryne Sandberg came out to the mound to get Kendrick. As is customary, the pitcher waits on the mound before handing off the ball to his manager, but a frustrated Kendrick was already on his way off the field before Sandberg could reach the mound. Lefty reliever Mario Hollands came in, but the Giants kept scoring, and the Phillies ultimately lost 6-5.

Kendrick apologized for showing up his manager and explained his frustration afterwards. Via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

“We talked,” Kendrick said before Sunday afternoon’s game. “I know it wasn’t the right thing to do.”

[…]

“Obviously you want the ball caught, but I was just upset at coming out of the game,” he said. “The ball falling in had nothing to do with it. I didn’t handle it right.”

[…]

“He wanted to see where I was at,” Kendrick said. “I didn’t want to come out of the game. I wasn’t trying to show up Ryno. That wasn’t my intention. I was upset and I wanted to get where no one could see me as quick as possible.

“Everything’s been kind of building up. It’s been a tough year for us and me personally. You’ve got to keep fighting, but little stuff irritates you.”

Following Saturday’s start, Kendrick has a 5-11 record with a 4.90 ERA and a 91/44 K/BB ratio in 154 1/3 innings over 25 starts. He can become a free agent after the season. Given the Phillies’ status as non-contenders for the foreseeable future, it seems unlikely that the team would bring him back in 2015. As a result, Kendrick is essentially auditioning for prospective teams over the remaining month and a half of the season.

Report: The Nationals are still in on Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning on September 5, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.

In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.

The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: