Author: Aaron Gleeman

Jeremy Affeldt

Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt announces retirement


Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt has decided to retire after an injury wrecked year, calling it a career at age 36 following 14 seasons in the majors with the Giants, Royals, Rockies, and Reds.

Affeldt was a top prospect as a starting pitcher in the Royals’ farm system, but mostly struggled as a starter in the big leagues and posted a 4.91 ERA in 427 innings through age 27.

He shifted to the bullpen full time in 2007 with the Rockies, found success, and then found a long-term home with the Giants as a free agent in 2009. Affeldt spent the final seven seasons of his career in San Francisco’s bullpen, throwing 360 innings with a 3.05 ERA in a setup role. He also had a 0.86 ERA in 31.1 playoff innings, quietly ranking among the best postseason relievers of all time while helping the Giants win three World Series.

Affeldt finishes with a 43-46 record, 28 saves, and a 3.97 ERA in 772 games spanning 925 innings, earning $42 million after being a third-round draft pick out of a Washington high school in 1997.

Re-setting the American League’s second Wild Card race

Mike Trout

It’s time to check back in on the American League’s second Wild Card race, which is basically the only playoff spot up for grabs in either league.

There’s still a slim chance that the Rangers could self-destruct and go from winning the AL West division to grabbing the second Wild Card spot, but short of that happening it’s a three-team race among the Astros, Angels, and Twins.

Yesterday the Twins split a doubleheader with the Indians, the Angels lost to an AL-worst A’s team that started Barry Zito in his career sendoff, and the Astros escaped Seattle with a win against the Mariners.


Astros: 84-75, — GB
Angels: 83-75, 0.5 GB
Twins: 82-76, 1.5 GB

Here’s where FanGraphs sees the current Wild Card odds with four days to go in the regular season:

Astros – 65%
Angels – 25%
Twins – 4%

That leaves 6% remaining, which belongs to the Rangers in case they tumble out of the division lead. And that’s still possible because the Rangers finish the season with a four-game series versus the Angels, in Texas.

Here are the remaining schedules:

Astros: 3 at Diamondbacks
Angels: 4 at Rangers
Twins: 1 at Indians, 3 vs Royals

They’re all fighting for a chance to play the Wild Card game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, the winner of which goes on to play the AL-best Blue Jays or Royals in the ALDS.

Report: Red Sox plan to keep John Farrell as manager

lovullo, farrell getty

Torey Lovullo took over as interim Red Sox manager in August when John Farrell went on a leave of absence following news that he’d been diagnosed with stage one lymphoma.

Lovullo has managed the Red Sox to a 28-16 (.636) record compared to the team’s 50-64 (.439) record under Farrell this season, leading to lots of speculation about Farrell’s job status, but according to Sean McAdam of the revamped front office intends to keep Farrell as manager for next season “as long as he’s healthy enough to do so.”

There are two key issues at play here. One is that Farrell has a 121-155 record as manager since 2014, so regardless of his health status there was speculation that the Red Sox might have looked to make a change. Beyond that, Lovullo has frequently been in the running for manager jobs–including finishing runner-up to Paul Molitor in the Twins’ search last offseason–so it’s very possible that his helping to turn around the Red Sox in Farrell’s absence could lead to him finally getting his own gig. In other words, it may truly be choosing between Farrell and Lovullo because the odds of Lovullo sticking around in the same bench coach role may be slim.

Farrell signed a two-year contract extension during spring training that covers 2016 and 2017. And of course he’s not even two years removed from winning a World Series. McAdam reports that in new team president Dave Dombrowski’s first meeting with the staff in August he “said Farrell’s job would be waiting for him next spring.”