And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Giants 7, Padres 3: Round one goes to the Giants, who pull to within one game of the lead. And they did it in an unexpected way for this team in this park: the long ball. Huff, Posey, Burrell and Uribe all went yard. Matt Cain — who has had some serious issues vs. the Padres recently — took a three-hitter into the ninth. He worked the corners and threw lots of strikes. Jon Garland didn’t have so great a night:  “Terrible, terrible, especially to start a series. I
guarantee you no person in San Diego feels worse than I do, and I get to
go home and sleep on it. It’s going to be a fun night.”  Poor, poor baby.  And he’s wrong anyway: my brother lives there, and he’s got kidney stones right now. He feels way, way worse.

Rockies 6, Reds 5: Colorado gains a game as well.  And they took the lead in this one in awesomely spectacular style.  Check it out. Reds pitcher Nick Masset was on some other planet on that play, it seems. Or was he? “Before I was about to throw that pitch, I was going to fake to third and go to first,” Masset said. What a shame. If that’s really true, it would have been the first time in recorded baseball history that the fake-to-third-throw-to-first play had ever worked.

Tigers 6, White Sox 3: Chicago is six back with 22 games to play. The only glimmer of hope they seem to have is that the Twins were 5.5 back with 22 to play last year and forced a tie. Countering that: unlike the 2009 Tigers, the 2010 Twins don’t seem like a team that is going to struggle down the stretch.

Cardinals 11, Braves 4: Braves fans may be the only people on the planet who don’t mind that the whole world was all Brett Favre-crazy last night, because this was some embarrassing stuff. Colby Rasmus was 4 for 4 with two homers and four RBI.  FOX’s Dayn Perry — a Cardinals fan — on Twitter last night: “Let’s hope that wasn’t Colby’s Braves audition.” I don’t care if he was joking. That’s the only thing that made me feel remotely good about this one.

Rangers 4, Blues Jays 2: Colby Lewis won for the first time in forever. Jose Bautista hit his 44th home run.

Astros 3, Dodgers 2: Yay! John Lindsey got to bat! He flied out to center while pinch hitting for Ted Lilly, but an at bat is an at bat. And he probably had a lot of family in the stands, as he’s from nearby Mississippi. Lindsey is about the only thing interesting or, at the very least, non-despressing about the Dodgers these days.

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.