In what should come as a surprise to no one, the Giants weren’t able to trade Aaron Rowand or Miguel Tejada after designating both for assignment. The pair were placed on release waivers Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman reports.
Both players figure to become free agents Monday, allowing them to sign with teams. There may not be any demand for Tejada at all, but Rowand is sure to get several calls. That’s partly because Rowand will merely have to be paid the minimum next year, with the Giants on the hook for the remaining $11.6 million of his $12 million salary.
There’s already been some speculation that the Phillies will bring Rowand back. They could use a true backup center fielder, and Rowand has warm memories from his time in Philly. However, Rowand might be able to find a bigger role. The Phillies already have a fine fourth outfielder for this year and next in John Mayberry Jr., and Rowand would really only be useful to the team when Shane Victorino is hurt.
Of course, neither player will be eligible for the postseason this season. The Giants saw to that when they waited as long as they did to cut bait.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.