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Who will clinch the NL East?
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Mets (LOL stranger things have happened)
- Shohei Ohtani may have played his last home game in ever in an Angels uniform. After last night’s game, Ohtani spoke to Bill Shakin of The Los Angeles Times and other reporters present that it had been a “very frustrating, very disappointing” season for the pretty pathetic 74-82 Angels. The phenom also hinted that he is losing patience with Anaheim’s, well, losing. The full quote reads like this: “I really like the team. I love the fans. I love the atmosphere of the team. But, more than that, I want to win. That’s the biggest thing for me. I’ll leave it at that.” And yeah, we totally get that. He and Mike Trout can now commiserate over their shared back pain for carrying the team. Ohtani is under team control through the 2023 season, so he’s got a few years of playing—erm, suffering—left, and that includes his first two years of arbitration eligibility. That’ll bring us a very interested 2022-23 offseason, as it’ll be Ohtani’s final arb year and could set an insane payday—that is, unless the Angels sign an extension. Yes we’re some time out from all of these fireworks, but if you’re the Angels, you’re obviously not thinking about winning, so maybe they’re thinking about this instead.
- In case you missed this atrocity, Conor McGregor threw the worst first pitch ever at the Cubs game. Like, seriously, you needed to try to be that bad.
- The Mets have placed J.D. Davis on the 10-day IL due to a sprain in his left hand. While the move is retroactive to September 23rd, Davis is all but done for the season. New York also activated righty Sean Reid-Foley from the 60-day injured list, and designated outfielder Albert Almora for assignment.
- In what has been one of the strangest controversies this season, the fallout continues. Kevin Kiermaier came into possession of one of the Blue Jays’ game plan cards after a play at the plate and then refused to return it to them. Toronto took exception to that and proceeded to plunk Kiermaier causing a ruckus, MLB has obviously taken exception to teams throwing at players intentionally, so the pitcher in question, Ryan Borucki, and Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo were suspended for one game despite both saying it was unintentional.
- The Chicago White Sox have been legitimately awesome of the last couple of seasons thanks to one of the best offenses in the league and a pitching staff that may be even better. The rewards for their efforts: they have clinched the AL Central title for the first time since 2008.
- After just four starts with the Padres, veteran starter Jake Arrieta was designated for assignment on Tuesday. This could be the end for the 2015 NL Cy Young winner, who rejoined the Cubs prior to this season but was released by Chicago after posting a 6.88 ERA. He joined San Diego last month in hopes of helping an injury-plagued rotation, but he threw for a 10.95 ERA as the Padres more or less fell out of playoff contention with a late-season meltdown.
- Tuesday was a great day for Yankees right-hander Luis Severino, who returned to a major league mound for the first time since October 2019. Severino, who had Tommy John surgery in February of last year, then dealt with shoulder and groin injuries this summer, threw two scoreless innings of relief in the Yankees’ win over the Rangers.
- The Blue Jays have placed left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu on the 10-day IL. Ryu reported neck tightness to the team, and Tayler Saucedo will take his roster spot while he recovers. The southpaw has had some difficulty over his past few starts, nudging his ERA up to 4.34 over 159.2 innings pitched. Ryu pulled off a complete game shutout this year, an echo of his impressive past two seasons as an ace. This reset should give him time to get his bearings back together before the playoffs.
- MLB is set to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all non-playing personnel this postseason.
- While we saw a unique situation with the All-Star Game moved out of Atlanta this season, generally the venue for the ASG is set well in advance and it stays that way. The league announced last week that Seattle will be be host of the 2023 All-Star Game
- The Royals became the latest MLB organization to adopt a more modern front office structure last week, promoting longtime GM Dayton Moore to president of baseball operations while elevating assistant GM JJ Picollo to general manager. While Moore will still oversee day-to-day operations, this move will give Picollo, who has drawn interest from other clubs in recent offseasons, more authority and keeps him in Kansas City for the long term.
- Ryan Braun hadn’t played all season and was presumed retired, though he hadn’t made an official announcement until last week. While Braun’s career will forever be tainted by a pair of suspensions — one that was overturned — for using performance enhancing drugs during his MVP season in 2011, there’s no denying that he had a successful 14-year career, played entirely for the Brewers. Braun, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, was a six-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger and retires with a .296/.358/.532 slash line.
- The Dodgers became the second team to clinch a spot in the postseason, beating the Diamondbacks to reserve their spot in the playoffs for a ninth straight season. Now they’ll aim to supplant the Giants for the NL West title over the remainder of the season.
- We officially have started the part of the season when the playoff field starts to get set. The surprising San Francisco Giants, who basically no one picked to be in realistic contention in the National League West, became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff spot. The NL West continues to be a dog fight between the Giants and Dodgers, but even if they don’t win the division, the Giants will be playing baseball in October.
- The Dodgers are hoping their chances of running down the Giants for the division crown just got a little better. Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher of this generation, had been out since the beginning of July with soreness in his elbow but was activated from the injured list.
- Meanwhile, the Padres, who have struggled mightily after being seen by many as the Dodgers’ biggest challenge in the NL West for some time to start the season, are down another starting pitcher as Chris Paddack is hitting the injured list with inflammation in his right elbow.
- Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer will remain on administrative leave through rest of season. The real issue that remains is that this is a paid administrative leave. The police and MLB are still working on their own investigations, and it’s very possible that Bauer could face criminal charges. Bauer has not thrown a pitcher in a major league game since June 28th of this year.
- While it was known that Yankees’ reliever Zack Britton had been dealing with elbow issues that were going to require surgery, there was some optimism that he could avoid major surgery and the subsequent recovery period up until recently. Unfortunately for Britton and the Yankees, he was unable to dodge that bullet as he underwent UCL reconstructive surgery that will keep him out for the rest of this season and most of the 2022 season at least.
- Given the team’s recent run of success with very limited payroll, a lot of teams have expressed interest in the availability of Rays’ VP and GM Erik Neander to help run their own teams. Those teams were unable to pry him away and now it looks like he will be with Tampa for the foreseeable future as Neander received a promotion to president of baseball operations.
- Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom has been dealing with a partial tear in his UCL, though team president Sandy Alderson says the situation “resolved itself” and his elbow ligament is “perfectly intact.” There should be more clarity on the situation once deGrom begins to ramp up his throwing program, but it’d be a surprise if he returns before the end of the 2021 season.
- The Braves have signed right-hander Charlie Morton to a one-year, $20 million extension with a $20 million club option for 2023. In an amazing testament to the fact that Morton is getting better with age, he’ll earn the highest single-season salary of his career next year at 38 years old.
- Jonathan Loaisiga has been placed on the injured list with a strained rotator cuff. Pretty much the last thing the Yankees needed in this AL Wild Card race right now.
- Mets acting general manager Zack Scott was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. The team placed him on administrative leave, assigning his responsibilities to Alderson, who had already taken on a bigger-than-expected role this season following the firing of GM Jared Porter.
- The negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA over the new CBA seem to be being productive in the early going, as the league came to the table with a proposal regarding new parameters for salary limitations in baseball. While it would lower the luxury tax threshold to $180 million, it would also impose a $100 million salary floor, which seems like a good starting point for discussion.
- Encouraging news for baseball fans who don’t like the major rule changes instituted over the last two seasons: Rob Manfred says that seven-inning doubleheaders and the runner-on-second rule in extra innings are unlikely to survive beyond the 2021 season, with Manfred saying those changes were instituted for the purpose of limiting time at the ballpark during the COVID-19 pandemic — something that isn’t expected to be a factor in future seasons.