A random observation from last night’s Yankees-O’s game.
In the third inning, Adam Jones singled. It should have scored J.J. Hardy, but Alex Rodriguez deked him into thinking he had the ball and was going to tag him. Hardy stopped at third when he could have scored without a throw. While the Orioles prevailed, in a low-scoring game like last night’s, it could have been a big deal.
Thing about it, though? It in no way should have worked. Watch the play:
Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale is frantically waving Hardy around because he knows where the ball is. Hardy, rather than watch and follow his base coach’s direction, got suckered by A-Rod.
John Smoltz — who earlier in the game forgot that the infield fly rule existed — gave A-Rod kudos for the deke. I noticed a lot of people on Twitter did too. And you know that if Jeter had made that move, minstrels would already be roaming the countryside, singing ballads about the play and further burnishing His legend.
But that play was all on Hardy’s lack of focus. It never shoulda worked.
The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”
While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.
The deal has not been confirmed by the team.