Free agent Cody Ross seeks three-year deal

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An NL official told ESPN’s Buster Olney that free agent Cody Ross is currently seeking a three-year deal.

The 31-year-old Ross was a disappointment for the Giants last season, finishing at .240/.325/.405 with 14 homers and 52 RBI in 405 at-bats. He’d seem to fall in line behind Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham among free agent outfielders, and neither of those two is a lock to get a three-year deal.

What Ross does have going for him is that he’s an above average defender in a corner and an adequate center fielder. However, since he finished at .804 in his first year of regular playing time with the Marlins in 2008, his OPS has dipped each season. He ended up at .790 in 2009, .735 in 2010 and .730 in 2011. Also, the bulk of his production comes against left-handers: he’s hit .282/.349/.563 versus southpaws in his career, compared to .253/.313/.414 against righties.

The total package makes Ross a fringe regular, though he’d be an outstanding fourth outfielder as a starter against lefties and an occasional fill-in against righties. Had he entered free agency a year ago, there’s a chance he might have gotten that three-year deal. Coming off a mediocre 2011, he’ll be fortunate if someone antes up $10 million for two years.

Mike Leake loses perfect game bid on leadoff single in the ninth

Mike Leake
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Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.

It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.

The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.

In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.

Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.