Update (9:52 PM): Minor was so close. Kris Negron flied out to right field for the first out of the eighth inning. Zack Cozart then drew a walk, and pinch-hitter Chris Heisey grounded out weakly to third base for the second out of the inning. Billy Hamilton ended Minor’s no-hit bid with a weakly-hit blooper to shallow center field. With 107 pitches under Minor’s belt, manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to the mound for the baseball, ending the lefty’s night.
Update (9:29 PM): Minor keeps the no-hitter in tact through seven frames. Devin Mesoraco lined out to start the inning. Minor then struck out Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick consecutively to end the seventh. Minor will enter the eighth inning at 89 pitches.
Braves starter Mike Minor has the good stuff working tonight in Cincinnati against the Reds. The left-hander has held the Reds hitless through six innings. Minor hasn’t been perfect, though, as he has walked three.
Minor’s opponent, Mat Latos, also enjoyed good results on the evening. The right-hander allowed one run on nine hits and a pair of walks while striking out three over six innings. He exited after the sixth having thrown 95 pitches.
Minor, 26, has had a tough season, entering the night with a 5.16 ERA in 111 2/3 innings across 19 starts. The Reds, however, are on a six-game losing streak and have posted a team-wide .643 OPS in 13 games since August 8.
We’ll keep you updated as Minor attempts to record the final nine outs of the game without allowing a hit.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.