“Pitching, pitching, pitching.”
Those were the words of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman earlier this week, fresh off wrapping up a contract extension for ace left-hander CC Sabathia.
The Yankees haven’t been shy about their focus this offseason, so it comes as no surprise that Cashman told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he plans to talk to free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson.
“We haven’t talked to him yet, but we will,” Cashman said. “They have won a lot and he’s been a big part of that, so we’ll certainly talk to him.”
Of course, just because the Yankees will talk to Wilson doesn’t mean a deal will actually happen. The 30-year-old southpaw is considered the top target in a weak free agent class for starting pitching, so Cashman wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t talk to the guy. And hey, it never hurts a free agent to have the big-spending Yankees involved in the conversation.
Wilson has a 3.14 ERA since joining the starting rotation in 2010, but really struggled this postseason, going 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA and 26/19 K/BB ratio over 28 innings. Cashman isn’t ready to write him off as an option, though, telling Martin that Wilson “has shown he can perform in a hitters’ environment in Texas.”
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.