Manny Ramirez’s agent Scott Boras said Monday that he’s looking for an incentive-laden one-year contract. Specifically he said:
“It’s just like Vlad Guerrero. His last Angels season, where he had an injury season and he had 50 RBI, was not a customary Vlad Guerrero season. He went to Texas and reestablished himself. This is really the course for great veteran hitters.”
Part of me was convinced that Boras was going to pull that “Ramirez is the right-handed Ted Williams, he will increase ticket sales by eleventy-seven percent and thus should be paid in virgins and platinum” act in hyping Ramirez this winter, but it turns out that he’s being pretty darn realistic about things. Vlad Guerrero got a $5.5. million deal with a mutual option for 2011 and $1 million buyout, which was just exercised by the Rangers. I think Ramirez stands a great chance of out-producing Vlad’s 2010 line next season, and if anyone gets him for $6.5 million, they’re getting a great deal.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.