How times change: Andre Ethier walked to get to Manny

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Manny Ramirez double.jpgI missed this in the recaps, but file this under “wow, that wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago.”

In the seventh inning of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, A.J. Hinch decided to
intentionally walk Andre Ethier with two men on in order to load the bases for Manny Ramirez. And it wasn’t like they were setting up the double play. There were two outs. Ramirez, of course, promptly hit a three-run double off the wall, turning a one-run game into a four-run game, and essentially icing it for L.A.  And, as Vin Scully notes in the video, Manny’s shot would have been a grand slam in just about any other park.

I know Andre Ethier leads the N.L. in everything at the moment, but I think we’ve reached a point where we’ve discounted Manny Ramirez a bit too much.  He’s at .393/.507/.589 on the year.

L.A. has a lot of problems, but they’re only 4.5 out.  If 2010 Manny does a reasonable approximation of 2008 Manny, the Dodgers may jump back into this thing yet.

(thanks to Mike Bogen for the heads up on the IBB)

Report: Cardinals, Contreras agree to 5-year contract

willson contreras
Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Willson Contreras is going to St. Louis to replace Yadier Molina at catcher, agreeing to an $87.5 million, five-year contract with the Cardinals on Wednesday.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical.

The addition of Contreras fills a major void for St. Louis, which won the NL Central this season with a 93-69 record. Molina retired after spending his entire 19-year career with the Cardinals, making 10 All-Star teams and winning nine Gold Gloves.

Contreras was one of the Chicago Cubs’ last holdovers from their 2016 World Series championship. He made his big league debt that year and helped the franchise to its first title since 1908.

The fiery, strong-armed catcher hit .243 with 22 homers and 55 RBIs in 113 games in his last season with his first major league team. He was on the market this summer — leading to an emotional day at Wrigley Field for what looked like his final home game with Chicago — but he remained with the team after the trade deadline.

Contreras was the best option in a thin market for free agent catchers that also included Christian Vázquez and Gary Sánchez.

Contreras also has played first base, third base and the corner outfield spots in the majors. The three-time All-Star made 39 starts at designated hitter this year.

The Venezuela native is a .256 hitter with 117 homers and 365 RBIs in 734 career games over seven seasons. He hit a career-best 24 homers in 2019 and drove in a career-high 74 runs in 2017.