Prior to tonight, new Cubs left-hander Jon Lester hadn’t made a pickoff throw to first base since April 30, 2013. That’s right, nearly two years. If you watch the video linked here, you’ll know why.
Here’s a look at the aftermath of pickoff throw in the second inning tonight:
Anthony Rizzo is lucky he didn’t get seriously hurt here. He ran into the runner’s path back to first base and could have injured his knee. Fortunately, Jorge Soler bailed out Lester with a fantastic throw to nail Zack Cozart at third base. Lester and the Cubs keep trying to downplay any talks of him having the “yips” with pickoff throws, but teams are going to keep running on him until he finds a way to combat it.
By the way, Lester gave up six runs on 10 hits over six innings against the Reds tonight. His ERA sits at 7.84 through two starts with Chicago.
Correction: This was Lester’s second pickoff throw of the game. The initial version of this post indicated that this was his first. My apologies for the error.
The Athletics have acquired closer Jeurys Familia from the Mets, per official announcements from the teams. The Mets will receive minor league right-hander Bobby Wahl and third base prospect William Toffey in the deal, as well as $1 million in international slot money.
Familia, 28, has drawn significant interest from as many as seven or eight teams over the last week or so. While the right-hander hasn’t hit any career-best marks this season, he’s more than held his own with a 2.88 ERA, 2.54 FIP and 1.2 fWAR over 40 2/3 innings in 2018. He’s positioned to enter free agency at the end of the year, and the A’s are expected to absorb the remaining $3 million on his contract before he does so.
The Mets, meanwhile, came away with two lower-level players in the trade. The 26-year-old Wahl has just 7 2/3 innings of major league experience under his belt and issued four runs, four walks, and eight strikeouts during his first seven games with the A’s in 2017. He’s been far more productive in Triple-A Nashville this year, racking up 11 saves in 27 chances and pairing that with a ridiculous 2.27 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 14.7 SO/9 through 39 2/3 innings.
MLB Pipeline ranked Toffey no. 17 in the A’s system prior to the start of the 2018 season, noting his above-average defense but casting some doubt on his ability to hit for both average and power in the majors. The 23-year-old corner infielder is still getting his sea legs in High-A Stockton, where he’s batting .244/.357/.384 with five home runs and a .741 OPS in 197 PA.