Kendrys Morales has been a free agent since he turned down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Mariners back in November. Despite slashing a solid .277/.336/.449 last season in 657 plate appearances, the 30-year-old has found the market quiet for his services. Part of the reason for that is the draft pick compensation attached to Morales thanks to the qualifying offer. But according to one report earlier this week, teams have been put off by Morales’ contract demands so far. And if a new report out of Seattle is to be believed, Morales could have avoided this long bout of unemployment and gotten the cash he wanted well before the offseason even started.
The Astros’ rebuilding program will enter a new phase on Wednesday, as the team is calling up George Springer. The 24-year-old outfielder is the first blue-chip position prospect to arrive in Houston since the Astros embarked upon a drastic and controversial rebuilding program following Jim Crane’s purchase of the team in November 2011. His promotion — which many consider overdue — heralds the arrival of an impressive wave of talent that should go a long way toward reversing the fortunes of a team that hasn’t seen a winning season since 2008.
With their 2-1 loss to the White Sox Tuesday night, the defending world champion Red Sox fell to 5-9 on the season, tying them with the Reds and Astros for the third-worst record in baseball at this early stage of the season. That’s obviously not where Boston wants to be at this point in the season, but while slow starts by reigning champions aren’t all that common, they aren’t all that damning, either.
Reds right-hander Mike Leake turned in his second consecutive strong start against a division rival on Tuesday night, improving to 2-1 on the season with 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball in a 7-5 win over the Pirates in Cincinnati. He also tied his career-high with eight strikeouts, reaching that total for the first time since July 2011. What set Tuesday night’s performance apart for Leake, however, was what he did at the plate.
Stephen Strasburg got off to a rough start this season, giving up ten runs (seven earned) in 10 1/3 innings in his first two starts. However, a dominant performance against the Marlins his last time out (6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 12 K) had the Nationals and their fans optimistic about his rematch against Miami in Marlins Park on Tuesday night. Then, before he recorded his first out in the bottom of the first, this happened:
Giancarlo Stanton hit that three-run home run 457 feet to dead center field, the longest home run ever hit off Strasburg in the major leagues. In the second inning, light-hitting Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who is off to a hot start, welcomed Strasburg back to the mound with a first-pitch, stand-up triple. Miami added three more runs to put Strasburg down 6-0 after just two innings. Strasburg managed to get through the third and fourth innings without incurring further damage, but when the top of the fifth came, his night was ended by a pinch-hitter after just 81 pitches. The Nationals eventually lost to the Marlins 11-2.