The Philadelphia Phillies made a shocking wave of moves on Tuesday. They designated RHP Jeanmar Gomez and OF Michael Saunders for assignment, making room for LHP Hoby Milner and OF Cameron Perkins on the 40-man-roster.
The Phillies, who are 22-46, have not been able to successfully rebuild since the days, in which their rotation featured Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. The transaction shocked baseball today, because Gomez was the team's closer entering the season, and Saunders was supposed to be the Phillies' starting left fielder.
Gomez, 29, has spent his eight-year big league career with the Indians, Pirates, and Phillies. This season, Gomez has a record of 3-2, with an earned run average of 7.25, which is obviously not good. In 22.1 innings pitched, Gomez has allowed 18 earned runs and seven home runs. He has two saves this season.
Saunders, 30, has spent his nine-year big league career with the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Phillies. Saunders, was an all-star last year with the Blue Jays, when he hit 24 home runs and collected 57 RBIs. Saunders has disappointed the Phillies front office this season, as he owns a bellow-average slash line of .205/.257/.360 with 6 HRs and 20 RBIs in 200 at-bats.
The Phillies will be responsible for Saunders' one-year, eight-million dollar contract this season, if he is claimed by another team. Saunders has an option for the 2018 season worth 11-million dollars. The Phillies and Saunders agreed to a deal during the free agency period last winter, which guarantees Saunders nine-million dollars.
Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki - two major league stars, who have won the Rookie of the Year award and Most Valuable Player award in the same season. Can New York Yankees' right fielder, Aaron Judge join that small list in 2017?
Judge, 25, has a real shot in winning the MVP award this season. He is having a monster season with the Yankees. At the moment, if the season ended today, Judge would win the rare Triple Crown Award, which is given to the player, who leads their respective league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Judge leads all American League hitters with a batting average of .344, 21 home runs, and 47 runs driven in.
Judge earned a call-up last season. His slow start to his promising career, caused many to question his abilities at the major league level. In 84 at-bats, Judge, then 24, struck out half of the time and had four home runs. Not only was his plate discipline not the best, he batted .179 in his short time in the majors.
At the time, many believed his swing needed development, and he worked on it during the offseason. In spring training, their was a significant improvement in his swing. His positioning at the plate was more wide open, leading to his power surge this season. Another reason why Aaron Judge has had a power surge this season, is because he is a giant. The former top prospect stands at 6'7" and weighs nearly 285 pounds. Baseball fans have seen giants crush baseballs in the past, especially watching Giancarlo Stanton swing the bat.
Many consider Judge to be the front-runner for AL MVP because of his great season, and how he compares to last season's MVP, Mike Trout. On June 11, 2016, Trout, then 24, had slugged 13 home runs and 44 RBIs. Trout also had a slash line of .306/.406/.541. Currently, Judge is having a mammoth season compared to Trout's 2016 MVP year.
At the end of the year, it does not matter which player had a better season on June 11, but it matters upon the player's stats after the closing day game is complete. Also, it factors upon, how each player affects their team's performance.
On June 11, 2016, the Los Angeles Angels, the team Trout plays for, was 27-35. The Angels did not earn a postseason berth last year, as they finished the season with a record of 74-88.
Today, June 11, 2017, the Yankees are having an incredible season, led by Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Hicks, as they have a solid record of 37-23, and they are leading the American League East by 3.5 games. The lead could expand to as much as four games later this evening, depending upon if the Red Sox lose this tonight.
Mike Trout, once again, is competing for the MVP award against Judge this season. Trout was having a terrific season until his major injury. He was slugging a slash line of .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs and 36 RBIs.
Trout has been on the disabled list for two weeks because he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and the dorsal capsule in his left thumb. He opted to have surgery, which will cause him to sit out of baseball activities for at least six weeks.
Trout's injury is a major plus for Judge, because Trout was challenging Judge for leading the league in average and home runs,
Not only is Judge a fan-favorite for MVP, he is no-doubt the leader for AL rookie of the year.
How often is a no-hitter thrown in major league baseball? Well, it is rarer than a cycle occurring. There has only been 295 no-hitters recorded in baseball since 1876. That is on average of around two every season.
On Saturday, Marlins righty Edinson Volquez joined the no-hit club after going the distance on 98 pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Volquez threw the sixth no-hitter for the Marlins' franchise. The first for the team, since Henderson Alvarez did it in 2013, which many may recall as the "walk off no-hitter." Volquez's no-hitter was the first since April of 2016, when Cubs' righty Jake Arrieta did it.
I was one of the 21,548 people in attendance for Saturday's gem. The Marlins, which do not have a large fanbase like the Cubs and the Yankees do, had an electric crowd for the game. Even though the ballpark was filled to nearly two-thirds of it's capacity, it felt like it was game seven of the world series.
In the fourth inning, Rey Fuentes of the Diamondbacks hit a hard grounder to the hole between first and second base. With the no-hitter looming, second baseman Dee Gordon dove with all his might, and gloved the ball before it ended up in the property of right fielder, Giancarlo Stanton. Gordon then threw the ball to first baseman, Justin Bour, to record the first out of the fourth. As a fan of the sport, I knew something was going to happen in this game. I was well alert that Volquez had something special going on...... a potential no-hitter.
I knew this feeling. I have attended a no-hitter in my past. I was at Marlins Park on the memorable day of September 29, 2013, when Henderson Alvarez no-hit the Detroit Tigers. I also attended Rich Hill's near perfect game against the Marlins, last season, which was blown when the Dodgers chose to go to the bullpen in the eighth inning.
In the seventh inning, the chemistry of the crowd seemed to change. People who do not care about baseball, begun to care. Teenagers, who are addicted to social media, put their devices away. Nobody went to the restroom or grabbed a snack when Volquez pitched. I was glad to see that people knew what was going on.
Every diehard fan has their own superstition for when an event like this is happening right in front of their eyes. Mine personally is that I can not peep the term, "no-hitter" or even if it is happening, "perfect game."
In the eighth inning, I was on the edge of my seat. I was super nervous about this potential no-hitter. The score at the time was 1-0. After one out in the inning, Volquez walked a batter, which was his second batter of the game, he walked. Now, I was even more nervous. I was really nervous because up to the plate now, was infielder Brandon Drury, who is having a nice season. One bad pitch to Drury could end up in the seats, and the score can be 2-1, just like that. Then, Volquez would have failed to pitch a no-hitter and potentially get his eighth loss of the season.
I was praying that Volquez would throw one specific pitch...... a changeup. My prayer was received and just like that, Drury hit a grounder to third, and a 5-4-3 double play happened. The crowd went nuts!
In the bottom of the eighth, the Marlins had a big inning, extending the lead to 3-0. Volquez came to the plate for his fourth at bat of the game, with the bases loaded. The crowd came to their feet. Even though Volquez struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning, every was still amped for what was to come.
Here we go - the top of the ninth. All Volquez needed was a good morning, a good afternoon, and a goodnight (3 outs). He struck Nick Ahmed on a nasty breaking ball, Two outs to go! As a fan, I was hoping to see every one on their feet. Nobody was standing except, a man wearing a Yasiel Puig jersey, and the couple sitting behind me all decked out in Marlins gear. I thought to myself, "Does anyone care about this looming no-hitter except me?"
Next up was Daniel Descalso, who was pinch hitting for Jeff Mathis. Volquez struck him out also on a breaking curve. Finally, everybody came to their feet!
Chris Owings, the 27th batter of the game for Arizona came to the plate. Volquez faced the minimum. The first pitch - STRIKE 1. The electric crowd was ready for what was to come. Next pitch - STRIKE 2! Just one more pitch and I would have seen baseball history. Volquez did his traditional-unique windup, and threw the pitch. Swing and a miss! Volquez had done it. He had thrown a no-hitter. The players ran to the mound. The fans hugged each other. The media excitingly tweeted.
The Miami Marlins were the center of the universe.
This week in baseball featured a lot of news. This past extended weekend featured a lot of Memorial Day festivities to honor the men and women who have risked their lives to protect the citizens of the United States of America.
Here is a recap of what happened this week:
Angels' superstar outfielder Mike Trout, is expected to miss 6-8 weeks of baseball action, due to a torn thumb ligament. He had surgery on Wednesday (5/31). He injured his thumb, when he was sliding into second base on Sunday.
Former Republican Presidential Candidate and the 43rd Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, dropped out of the running to purchase the Miami Marlins. Bush was expected to be the control person of the group of investors trying to purchase the team.
Nationals' OF Bryce Harper and Giants' RHP Hunter Strickland were the leaders of a brawl, which broke out between the two teams. Strickland threw a 98 MPH fastball at Harper's hip. Harper charged the mound, leading to several punches between the duo. Harper was originally suspended 4 games for his actions, but the suspension was reduced to 3 games, while Strickland was suspended for 6 games.
The Cardinals decided to release veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton. The 33-year-old righty struggled, a lot early, as he posted a 6.89 ERA in just 15.2 innings.
The Rangers also cut one their former star relievers. They decided on Thursday to designate RHP Sam Dyson for assignment. Their intent is to trade the former closer. Dyson struggled early on, as he has allowed 20 earned runs and 31 hits in 16.2 innings. Dyson owns an ERA of 10.80.