The error battle is heating up

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When Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon committed his seventh error on the very first play of the bottom of the first inning Saturday, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro knew he’d have to step up his game. Sure enough, he committed his major league-high eighth in the fifth inning.

Here’s the up-to-the-minute leaderboard for errors:

Starlin Castro (SS ChC) – 8
Dee Gordon (SS LAD) – 7
Clint Barmes (SS Pit) – 6
Brandon Crawford (SS SFG) – 6
Evan Longoria (3B TB) – 6
Troy Tulowitzki (SS Col) – 6

NL shortstops have generally been far better than their AL counterparts on defense the last several years, but they’ve been a shaky bunch on the whole this season. The Padres’ Jason Bartlett and Marlins’ Jose Reyes are right behind the leaders with five errors already. The Angels’ Erick Aybar is the only AL shortstop with five errors.

Obviously, things are going to turn around here. Castro and Gordon will likely finish among the league leaders in errors, but Tulo and Barmes certainly shouldn’t. Tulowitzki, incredibly, has already matched his 2011 error total in 116 fewer games. He’s never committed more than 11 errors in a season. Barmes committed 12 errors in 122 games for Houston last year.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.