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Twins unhappy Orioles’ Chance Sisco bunted for a hit

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Twins starter Jose Berrios was working on a one-hit shutout in the ninth inning against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. After getting Pedro Alvarez to pop out, Chance Sisco came to the plate and dropped down a bunt to the left side for a single. Berrios would then walk Chris Davis and Manny Machado to load the bases, but finished his shutout by getting Jonathan Schoop to pop out and Adam Jones to strike out.

The Twins won 7-0. Berrios got his shutout. They should be happy, right? The Twins were actually pretty upset with Sisco’s choice to lay down a bunt. Second baseman Brian Dozier said, via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “Obviously, we’re not a fan of it. He’s a young kid. I could’ve said something at second base but they have tremendous veteran leadership over there. I’m sure they’ll address that. It’s all about learning. You learn up here.”

Berrios said, “I don’t care if he’s bunting. I just know it’s not good for baseball in that situation. That’s it.”

Outfielder Eddie Rosario said, “Nobody liked that. No, no, no. That’s not a good play.”

In baseball’s rather large book of unwritten rules, there has traditionally been a section that says hitters shouldn’t attempt to bunt for a hit to break up a pitcher’s no-hitter. I’ve never heard an unwritten rule prescribing that same behavior when a pitcher is working on a one-hitter.

As Matthew Pouliot points out, the Twins were shifting Sisco pretty hard to the right side when he came to the plate in the ninth inning.

The game wasn’t over yet. Sure, overcoming a seven-run deficit with one out in the ninth is a tall order, but players aren’t taught to just roll over once the deficit reaches a certain threshold. They play until the last out is officially recorded. Furthermore, if the Twins expected Sisco to play standard, why weren’t they playing standard defense? If it’s okay to defensively shift up by seven, then it’s okay to bunt down by seven — even if there’s a one-hitter in progress.

This is just tremendously petty on the Twins’ part. The two clubs don’t meet up again until July 5 in Minnesota, so we’ll see if the Twins carry a grudge for three months.

What do the losers of the Gerrit Cole derby do now?

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Gerrit Cole is now a New York Yankee. Nine years and $324 million make that so. But though the Yankees are the only team who gets him, they weren’t the only team interested in him. So let’s take a look at what the losers of the Gerrit Cole derby — the Dodgers and the Angels — can do now that they know they’ve lost.

Dodgers

The Dodgers were hopeful they had a shot due to Cole’s Los Angeles ties. Welp, that didn’t pan out. Which is not a shock. I’m struggling to think of the last time that whole “he’s from [place] so he’ll want to sign with [team near place]” thing worked out. It didn’t happen with CC Sabathia in the Bay Area. It didn’t happen with Mark Teixeira in Baltimore. It didn’t even work out with Brandon Webb in Cincinnati. Money talks, geography walks.

But the Dodgers wanted Cole. They wanted to bolster a pitching staff that has relied on an aging and now free agent Rich Hill and on free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu. There’s a hole to fill, and without Cole available to fill that hole, they’ll have to do something. What is the something they can do?

How about sign their chief rival’s last big pitching star?

It’s certainly a decent plan. But it’s one that might get expensive for Los Angeles. USA Today reported on Monday that Bumgarner was seeking five years and $100 million-plus. Some raised their eyebrows at that report, but given how much Stephen Strasburg and Cole commanded, it seems downright reasonable now. That’s especially the case given that the Giants — despite being on the brink of a rebuild — probably don’t want to see their franchise hero sign with the hated Dodgers:

So it’ll be a bidding war. A war that will make Madison Bumgarner a very large amount of money.

 

Angels

The Angels made no secret of their desire to land Cole. Joe Maddon talked openly about him in his press conference here at the Winter Meetings on Monday. Cole talked openly during the 2019 season, and since it ended, about his connection to Orange County and the Big A.

But the Angels didn’t have the talent to entice Cole and to make him believe that they could contend like the Yankees can. If they made a competitive offer — and we don’t know if they did — they still would’ve had to convince him that they could win. And, really, there is no real basis to believe that they could make a credible case for that.

So where do the Angels go?

General Manager Billy Eppler said on Tuesday that the Angels did not have Gerrit Cole tunnel vision and that they could spend in excess of $20 million a year on multiple players, none of which had to be Cole. On Tuesday the Angels shed the contract of Zack Cozart and, with his $12 million+ and roster spot opened up, the Halos are said to be interested in third baseman Anthony Rendon or, as a fallback, Josh Donaldson.

As for pitching, the Angels will likely prove to be competition for  Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and perhaps free agent Dallas Keuchel. They could also pursue trade options such as affordable pitchers like Miami’s Caleb Smith or Detroit’s Matthew Boyd or less-affordable — but less-costly in a trade — options like David Price, who the Red Sox were rumored to be shopping in the name of salary relief. Which is to say, the Angels have options, even if their top option is off the table.

But both they and their counterparts up in Los Angeles County, now have to go back to the drawing board now that Gerrit Cole is New York bound.