It’s been two weeks since Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said he thought Joe Saunders was close to signing and yet the left-hander remains a free agent.
Minnesota has been linked to Saunders a lot recently and Twins president Dave St. Peter told me himself that they have plenty of payroll room available for a late signing, but Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com has an update on the Twins’ pursuit:
The Twins continue to await word from pitcher Joe Saunders’ agent, Greg Genske. The belief internally continues to be that Saunders prefers to be somewhere else. But it’s possible he’ll soon run out of options. The Twins want Saunders on a one-year deal, but could be willing to go to two years.
That jibes with what Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun speculated earlier this week, which is that if Saunders can only get a one-year deal he’ll probably just decide to re-sign with the Orioles.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.