ATH Express: Last night's scores and highlights

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This isn’t a full-blown And That Happened. Too much other stuff going on for that. But baseball games did occur last night, so you all should have a place where you can discuss them. So . . .

Nationals 8, Phillies 1: Not even 10 AM yet and all of the “see, I told you Roy Oswalt was no savior” people are coming out of the woodwork. Didn’t hear any of that yesterday afternoon.  Personally, I think the Phillies should never have traded away the ace they used to have. Of course I’m talking about Kevin Gross. Floyd Youmans is NOT the answer people!

Braves 6, Reds 4: Jason Heyward with a big two-run RBI in the 10th. When that happened I went “yay!”  Then, when Martin Prado was writhing in pain due to injuring his finger I curled up into a fetal position.  I’m still in that position actually, and won’t be out of it until we hear that it’s OK. Hell of a way to type, though.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: 0 for 4 for A-Rod. Man, that guy is just never gonna make it in New York.

Diamondbacks 9, Mets 6: This fall, as the Mets are watching the playoffs from their homes, they’ll probably be thinking of just how badly they were abused by the Dbacks this year.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 5: Detroit takes the first game in the battle of the What Coulda Beens. Yes, that’s the second time in three days I’m writing off the Red Sox. Wanna fight about it? Jose Valverde got a shaky as all hell save, throwing nearly 60 pitches. John Hiller nods approvingly.

Blue Jays 8, Indians 1: Jose Bautista hits a grand slam. I can’t decide if his continued power display means that the Jays should keep him or be even more intent on trading him as his value peaks.

Astros 5, Brewers 0: J.A. Happ shuts out the Brewers on two hits over six innings in his Houston debut.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: After learning what we learned last night about the Edwin Jackson thing I think the Twins should call Kenny Williams and tell him that they’d totally trade him Joe Mauer — and send cash in the deal — if only he could find some way to get Barry Zito or Carlos Lee or someone to flip back in a trade.

Royals 7, Orioles 5: FOX and TBS were seriously considering broadcasting this series nationally this weekend, but then those kill-joy human rights groups chimed in, putting the kibosh on the deal.

Cardinals 1, Pirates 0: The rain dealy (2:22) was almost as long as the game (2:38) as Chris Carpenter, Jeff Karstens and all of the relievers not named Javier Lopez kept the opposition scoreless.

Twins 5, Mariners 3: Matt Capps makes his debut for the Twinkies. He comes out to Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” by the way. He got the save!  So maybe the Twins didn’t make a huge mistake.

Rockies 17, Cubs 2: Sometimes I miss the old Coors Field. Nice to see it come back once in a while.

Angels 9, Rangers 7: First loss of the year for Tommy Hunter, who got shelled.

Marlins 4, Padres 2: Miguel Tejada’s presence somehow didn’t will the Padres to victory. Huh.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5: Brian Wilson wasn’t available due to back spasms, so Jonathan Sanchez, Chris Ray, Denny Bautista and Sergio Romo combine to handle the ninth inning and create/fend off a late Dodger rally.

Eh. This feature is way more fun to write at 11PM the night before while half-crocked on Maker’s Mark.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.