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Posey, Pence, Ellsbury among 81 to strike deals

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Posey, Pence, Ellsbury among 81 to strike deals

NEW YORK (AP) NL MVP Buster Posey agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, teammate Hunter Pence got a $13.8 million deal and Jacoby Ellsbury settled with the Boston Red Sox for $9 million on a busy Friday as players and teams swapped figures in salary arbitration.

Eighty-one players reached agreements, leaving just 36 headed toward hearings next month in Phoenix from among the 133 who filed for arbitration Tuesday. Most of the cases are expected to settle.

San Diego third baseman Chase Headley had the largest request and the biggest spread, asking for $10.3 million while the Padres offered $7,075,000.

Boston reliever Craig Breslow had the slimmest gap. He sought $2,375,000 - that was $50,000 more than the Red Sox offered.

Teams won five of seven cases decided by three-arbitrator panels last winter, their 14th winning record in 16 years. Overall, owners lead 291-214 since arbitration began in 1974.

Posey was eligible for arbitration for the first time after hitting a National League-leading .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs and helping the Giants win their second World Series title in three seasons. Posey, who made $615,000 last year, cannot become a free agent until after the 2016 World Series.

Obtained by San Francisco from Philadelphia on July 31, Pence can become a free agent this fall, as can Ellsbury.

Among those left in arbitration, Cincinnati has a major league-high six players remaining. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, acquired from Cleveland last month, asked for a raise from $4.9 million to $8 million, while the Reds offered $6.75 million. Right-hander Homer Bailey asked to be increased from $2.5 million to $5.8 million and was offered $4.75 million.

Mat Latos, eligible for arbitration for the first time, asked for a raise from $550,000 to $4.7 million after going 14-4 in his first season with the Reds. Cincinnati offered $4.15 million. The other Reds still in arbitration are pitchers Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon and outfielder Chris Heisey.

Two interesting settlements involved Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jason Vargas ($8.5 million) and Seattle Mariners first baseman-designated hitter Kendrys Morales ($5.25 million), who were swapped for each other last month.

Also reaching agreements were Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters ($5.5 million), Milwaukee closer John Axford ($5 million) and Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward ($3.65 million).

Only two players got multiyear deals Friday. Toronto catcher Josh Thole, acquired from the New York Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade, got a $2.5 million, two-year contract, and Washington reliever Craig Stammen agreed to a $2,225,000, two-year deal.

The high-spending Los Angeles Dodgers settled with catcher A.J. Ellis ($2 million) and right-hander Ronald Belisario ($1.45 million). That raised the Dodgers' projected payroll to $214.2 million after an adjustment for cash received this year as part of last summer's trade with the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

Five players settled after the exchange of figures, with Boston and reliever Alfredo Aceves agreeing to a deal at the $2.65 million midpoint. Posey, Vargas, Washington reliever Tyler Clippard ($4 million) and Detroit reliever Phil Coke ($1.85 million) submitted the same figures as their teams, an indication they reached agreement shortly before the exchange and didn't finalize them until after the swap.

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Yes, that was Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles

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Yes, that was Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles

Chris Davis is known for many things. Towering home runs, playing first base well, and setting record-long hitless streaks are all among them.

What isn’t among them is pitching, yet that’s what he was tasked with doing Saturday night.

In Game Two of the Orioles’ doubleheader with the Twins, Baltimore’s pitching staff was rocked. They allowed 15 runs in the first eight innings of the game, and after 17 innings pitched on the day, manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to tax his bullpen any further.

He turned to Davis, who last pitched in 2012 during a 17-inning marathon in Boston. Davis didn’t allow any runs that May afternoon seven years ago, giving him a career pitching WAR of an astounding 0.2.

His last appearance was so successful that in his offseason arbitration negotiations, long before his current 7-year, $161 million deal, Davis asked for a small fraction of his contract to specifically be designated for his pitching prowess.

He wasn’t as successful in his outing against the Twins. Considering his first appearance was on the road, maybe now he fully understands why pitching at Camden Yards is so difficult?

In one inning Saturday, Davis allowed two hits and one earned run. More importantly, he recorded a strikeout, the third(!!) of his career on the mound.

Davis may have struggled at the plate in 2019, but at least he never struck out against someone whose job has nothing to do with striking batters out.

Saturday’s games marked the first return to Camden Yards for former Oriole Jonathan Schoop, a fan favorite over the years at second base. Funnily enough, the sole earned run Davis allowed came off a monstrous home run from Schoop.

Considering their long relationship as teammates, it’s no surprise the two were laughing together as Schoop trotted around the bases. 

Apparently, Davis just can’t win this season. First he sets an ignominious record at the plate, and now that he’s finally heating up with the bat, he loses his incredible mojo on the mound.

Hopefully his luck on the mound turns around like it has with the bat. And yes, that means we are very, very interested in more Chris Davis pitching appearances. In a rebuilding season with 100+ losses a distinct possibility, who wouldn’t want more fun like this?

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Orioles pitcher Branden Kline's mom steals fans hearts with emotional interview

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Orioles pitcher Branden Kline's mom steals fans hearts with emotional interview

For Branden Kline, it was a long winding road to his shot in the Major League.

Since being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, he had three surgeries and spent six years in the minor leagues. So when he got the call up from Triple A to help the Orioles in their double-header on Saturday, he did what any person would do after hearing that kind of news: Cried for "a solid 30 minutes", he admitted to reporters.

From MLB.com:

“I’m a little bit of a softie,” Kline admitted, standing at his new locker in the Orioles clubhouse Saturday afternoon. “I was really excited, and the emotions started to hit me, just thinking about the journey it’s taken to get me here to this point.”

And on the day of his debut, his mom, in an interview with the TV station MASN followed suit. 

Linda Kline, wiping tears, was asked about her feelings on her son's debut.

"Emotional," she said. "He worked so hard to get here."

Kline spoke about taking her son, a Frederick, Md. native, to games at Camden Yards when he was a kid. The family, she said, would sit in the "nosebleed" section. So to watch him on that diamond on Saturday?

"It was worth every minute," she said, "... This is something we'll remember for the rest of our lives."

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