The Cubs avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever Pedro Strop on Saturday, per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. He’ll get $5.5 million for the 2017 season, a raise of approximately $1.1 million over his salary in 2016. Strop filed at $6 million at the January deadline and was met with a $4.6 million counteroffer from the club.
The 31-year-old righty completed his fourth run with the Cubs in 2016, turning in an outstanding 2.85 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 11.4 SO/9 over 47 1/3 innings. He missed significant time on the disabled list due to a torn meniscus and groin strain, putting up just 0.8 fWAR and finishing the season with fewer than 57 innings for the first time since 2011. He regained full strength prior to the Cubs’ postseason stretch, logging a 3.18 ERA and two holds in 11 1/3 innings as the team worked their way up to another championship title.
The right-hander is scheduled to enter free agency in the fall of 2017. The Cubs have now settled with all four arbitration-eligible players, including right-handers Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon.
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.