The Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year, $14 million contract in November, but that didn’t stop them from pursuing closer Andrew Bailey before the Athletics traded him to the Red Sox late last month. And now they have checked in on free agent reliever Ryan Madson, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
I don’t have my Hot Stove handbook with me at the moment, so I’m not sure if “checked in” is closer to “kicked the tires” or “sniffing around,” but most contenders would be smart to give Scott Boras a call considering how Madson’s market has deteriorated since his reported four-year, $44 million deal with the Phillies fell through. The great majority of teams have already settled on closers, so he could end up being a really nice bargain for someone. That said, the Rangers do have some pretty good depth in the back of their bullpen with Nathan, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and potentially Alexi Ogando.
Madson, 31, posted a 2.37 ERA, 32 saves and a 62/16 K/BB ratio over 60 2/3 innings last season with the Phillies. He has a 2.89 ERA over the last five seasons.
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.