Zack Hample, the Yankees season ticket holder known for catching home runs balls, has changed his mind and will give Alex Rodriguez his 3,000th hit home run … for a price.
According to a statement released by the Yankees, the ball will be given to Rodriguez at a press conference this afternoon and in exchange the team has agreed to donate $150,000 to Hample’s charity Pitch In For Baseball and also give him various tickets and memorabilia.
Hample has caught thousands of home run balls and once wrote a book on the subject. He publicly said he planned to keep Rodriguez’s ball–including an angry, anti-Rodriguez tweet that has since been deleted–but then met several times with Yankees officials and changed his mind.
So, to recap: Ballhawk catches ball and gains attention. Wealthy team pays money to get possession of the ball. Player with 669 career homers gets to keep a particularly memorable one. Everybody wins, I guess?
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.