- David Brown at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
Jim Johnson might return to elite closer status someday, but it won't be for the Oakland Athletics. They released him Friday still owing what's left of Johnson's $10 million salary for 2014.
In 2012 and 2013, right-hander Johnson saved a combined 101 games, posting a 2.72 ERA in 139 innings for the Baltimore Orioles. He made the American League's All-Star team in '12, even getting votes in the respective Cy Young and MVP contests. But even the best relief pitchers can be fickle. Traded to the A's in the offseason, Johnson allowed seven runs in his first five appearances and, even though he blew just one save, manager Bob Melvin quickly lost confidence.
His stats: 7.14 ERA with 60 hits allowed in 40 1/3 innings. He allowed two baserunners for every inning he pitched. But, there might be a landing spot for him in a familiar place:
Wouldn't be surprise if #orioles try to sign Jim Johnson to minor league deal after A's released him today. Lives in Sarasota. Fave of Buck
Johnson, 31, put in six full seasons in Baltimore. Perhaps he can get himself together and help them in September.LiveKansas City0 - 0OaklandFollow Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
The respective "anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better" trades made by the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers before the deadline have not changed who leading odds makers think will win the World Series in 2014.
The A's, having added left-hander Jon Lester from the Red Sox on Thursday, remain favorites at 4-to-1 odds, as posted at Bovada.lv. Oakland was 5 to 1 before today. The Tigers, who surprised many by adding left-hander David Price from the Rays, are 5 to 1 along with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Detroit and L.A. were 6 to 1 previously.
Kevin Bradley, Bovada's sports book manager, says the Toronto Blue Jays — despite standing pat at the deadline — are considered a dangerous team to bookies.
- David Brown at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
The Houston Astros, who could lose at least 100 games for a fourth consecutive season, announced Friday they are raising ticket prices for 2015. They've even mailed literature to season-ticket holders with specifics. The cover boy for that brochure, which you can see above, is right-hander Jarred Cosart — whom the team traded a day earlier in a deadline deal.
At least it doesn't say, probably, "Renew early for the best seats to see the Miami Marlins and former Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart!" As with Billy Beane in Oakland with the Yoenis Cespedes "La Potencia"T-shirt giveaway, the Astros' marketing department and general manager Jeff Luhnow really need to consult with each other before the next trade deadline.
Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle talked to team president Reid Ryan (Nolan Ryan's son) about the plan to raise prices:LiveToronto1 - 1HoustonFollow Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
Why is iconic and beloved children's character Hello Kitty throwing out a first pitch before a Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters-Fukuoka SoftBank game in Japan? (Well, marketing, but ignore that for a moment.)
Why is she dressed as a flight attendant?
Is that Dear Daniel dressed as a pilot?
Who cares! Just enjoy the video, which shows the players as active participants in the first pitch. So polite. And how about Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama with the applause? So polite. Unless he was just like, "Get the cats off the field so we can play ball."
Maybe that was it.
Big BLS H/N:
More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports:
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Right-hander Phil Hughes of the Minnesota Twins evidently saw something nobody else at Kauffman Stadium did Wednesday night. As slugger Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals took a big swing and pulled a pitch to left-center for a double, Hughes reacted as though Perez had lined the ball back through the middle.
Hughes flinched and reached to his left, snapping his glove shut in an effort to catch something that wasn't there. Hughes continued to turn his body toward center field, perhaps to see if anyone on the Twins infield could catch up to Perez's BB. But they all had turned around to watch the ball short-hop the fence in left-center, before setting up for a relay throw from the outfield.
"But what about the line drive up the middle?" Hughes might have been saying to himself?
It was bi-ZARRE.
Perez's double tied the score, and Kansas City won 3-2. That's all secondary, though, to Hughes and the invisible liner (via @AaronGleenman on Twitter):
Hughes eventually caught on, but so did teammates like Glen Perkins:
Detroit, trying to stand on its feet after decades of decay, is an easy target for pot shots. Crime, urban blight, whatever, Detroit is low-hanging fruit when it comes to rusty jokes. Someone running the Twitter account for the Fox TV station in Tampa Bay thought it would be funny Thursday afternoon to give David Price an idea of what he was in for after being traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Detroit Tigers. He or she used Detroit's problems to marginalize Price's new surroundings.
Even though the tweet already has been deleted and apologized for, this is what it described to Fox 13's 40,000 followers plus others: It compares a white sandy beach of Tampa Bay (presumably) with a condemned block in Detroit (presumably). The captions read: "Take some comfort, Rays fans," along with "Good luck, David."LiveColorado2 - 4DetroitFollow Game
The most surreal moment of the trading deadline Thursday — not counting the MLB Network or Jim Bowden falling for fake transactions — happened at Comerica Park after it became known the Detroit Tigers were trading for ace left-hander David Price in a blockbuster three-way deal.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Tigers pulled outfielder Austin Jackson from their game against the White Sox, with manager Brad Ausmus literally waving Jackson off the field after a 2-2 pitch by Joakim Soria to Gordon Beckham with one out.
As of Thursday afternoon, left-hander Tommy Milone might be saying to himself, "Be careful what you wish for." Because he sure got it.
With the non-waiver trade deadline ticking down Thursday, the Oakland Athletics traded Milone to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld. The deal came about 10 days after Milone asked the A's to trade him because they had sent him back to the minor leagues.
Sounds great for Milone, right? With top-tier left-hander Jon Lester coming to Oakland in another deal, there was little chance that the A's were going to get Milone any more starts this season. So he's better off elsewhere. Except:
Tommy Milone being assigned to Rochester for the time being, a Twins source says. Kennys Vargas will be in Kansas City tonight.LiveMinnesota5 - 3Chi White SoxFollow Game
Before dealing for right-hander Justin Masterson on Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals were thought to be in the market for Jon Lester or another top-tier starting pitcher. Or possibly even some help on offense. Instead, with Lester going to the Athletics, and strong hitters appearing to a cost a premium amount, the Cardinals went after Boston's second-best starter, John Lackey.
Peter Gammons was the first to report that Lackey is heading to St. Louis for slugger Allen Craig and right-hander Joe Kelly. Lackey, 35, has been terrific for Boston since returning from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, posting a 3.55 ERA with 277 strikeouts in 326 2/3 innings in 2013 and 2014. He's also been tested in the playoffs, posting a 3.03 ERA in 104 career innings, including a 2.57 ERA in the 2013 World Series.
Lackey gives the Cardinals a great supplement to Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn, especially with Michael Wacha questionable for the rest of the season, and Masterson a bit of a project.LiveMilwaukee3 - 0St. LouisFollow Game
With the trading deadline counting down Thursday, the MLB Network briefly fell for a fake story published on Twitter about the Tampa Bay Rays trading David Price and Ben Zobrist to the Detroit Tigers. The worst part: Ken Rosenthal, the reporter being used in the fake tweet, was in the studio as host Matt Yallof read the bogus trade on the air.
There's a line in "Anchorman" befitting of this moment: "Ron Burgundy will read anything that is put on that teleprompter. Anything!"
As the network went to commercial, the tweet was dismissed as fake, and the real Ken Rosenthal (who also reports for Fox Sports), took to Twitter to stop the disinformation from spreading:LiveLA Angels5 - 3Tampa BayFollow Game