UPDATE: According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, the Mariners and Brendan Ryan have not officially agreed to a new contract, though a deal is believed to be close.
3:45 PM: Three weeks after acquiring Brendan Ryan from the Cardinals for pitching prospect Maikel Cleto the Mariners have avoided arbitration with the infielder by agreeing to a two-year, $2.75 million deal, according to the Associated Press.
Ryan will reportedly earn $1 million this season and $1.75 million in 2012.
He fell out of favor in St. Louis last season by hitting just .223 with a measly .573 OPS and clashing with manager Tony LaRussa, but Ryan is among the elite defensive middle infielders in all of baseball and the Mariners will hope his hitting can bounce back to his .279/.333/.373 line prior to 2010.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.