Zack Greinke dropped his agent in December and said in February that there was “no reason” for him to hire a new one, but the Brewers right-hander has done just that by hiring Casey Close of Excel Sports Management.
Close previously worked for Creative Artists Agency, which is the representation that Greinke left in December.
Greinke is an impending free agent and the timing is especially interesting after Matt Cain signed a $112.5 million extension with the Giants earlier this week rather than potentially hit the open market alongside Greinke and Cole Hamels.
Greinke was coy with reporters when asked how the Cain deal could impact his situation and it’s possible his various quirks could limit the number of teams interested, but if healthy he seems destined for a contract in excess of $100 million. In other words, Close just snagged himself one helluva commission.
General manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he plans to speak with Close tomorrow, but it’s unclear if Greinke is interested in negotiating a deal at this point.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.