Orioles general manager Dan Duquette is planning on taking right-handers Kevin Gausman and Brad Brach and catcher Caleb Joseph to arbitration hearings next month, according to comments made by the GM during FanFest on Saturday.
Gausman, 26, returned to a full-time starting role with the Orioles in 2016. He went 9-12 with a 3.61 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 8.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings, a substantial improvement over the 4.25 ERA he posted as a swingman in 2015. He filed for $3.55 million and was met with a $3.15 million offer by the team, but the two have been unable to compromise on a midpoint in the weeks following the deadline.
Right-handed reliever Brad Brach had a stunning season in Baltimore, earning his first career All-Star nomination and touting a career-best 2.05 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.5 SO/9 through 79 innings. The 30-year-old requested $3.05 million, which was countered by a $2.525 million sum from the Orioles.
Things weren’t so hot for 30-year-old part-time backstop Caleb Joseph, who sustained a severe testicular injury on a wayward foul tip and lugged a .174/.216/.197 batting line and three doubles through 141 PA with the club last year. Joseph is expected to serve as the primary backup for catcher Welington Castillo in 2017. The team offered $700,000 to Joseph’s $1 million request.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.