John Buck passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment by the Mariners last week and the veteran catcher has been released.
Buck was only owed about $500,000 for the remainder of this season, so any team that felt like he’d be an upgrade behind the plate, even in a backup role, could have claimed that contract off waivers rather than trying to sign him now as a free agent.
But the 33-year-old hit just .226 with one homer and a .579 OPS in 27 games for Seattle, hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2010 when he made the All-Star team with Toronto, and reportedly frustrated the Mariners with his poor defense. He figures to latch on somewhere as a backup, but it might take a stint at Triple-A first.
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.