6/155, vesting option for seventh year could bring it to 7/170 (ages 31-37). Turned down more guaranteed money from Giants (though California taxes might have made that moot), claims the chance to bring the Cubs a championship is a significant factor in his decision. Sox topped out at 6/135.

Cubs probably won’t regret this first couple/three years…seem likely to after that (and Lester was not exactly fantastic from 9/2011 to 6/2013 a lot of the time). But it still hurts to see one of your own go that had a big hand in two championships (and clearly the runner-up MVP in the 2013 World Series). I’m glad the Sox held the line, as that’s too rich for my blood. Maybe they should have been a little more generous with their extension offer early last year, but that’s water under the bridge.

Godspeed, Lester. I’ll root for you and Maddon (as much as he sometimes puts me off, he’s a good manager) to win a Series anytime it’s not against the Sox.

Bye, Davey.

By the way, who is the Goliath? Betances?

The Yankees have traded Shane Greene to Detroit, who send two pitchers to the Diamondbacks, who send Didi Gregorius to fill Jeter’s vacancy. I admit that I didn’t know who Didi Gregorius was until 15 minutes ago. Supposedly he has a cannon of an arm and plus range. His slash is pretty terrible, but at least based on the small number of appearances in the majors so far it looks like he can take a pitch and he’s bargain-priced. Fingers crossed.

Hanley Ramirez to Boston. 5/$90-ish. Sweeeeeeeeet.


For Giancarlo Stanton. Seriously.

I have seen more than one source (including this piece by Posnanski) reference how the Royals are shifting the postseason paradigm. Apparently the long held belief that starting pitching is the key to postseason success is under question (after the Royals’ deep run and maybe considering the Red Sox’ success in the face of the Tigers’ starters last season), and this “three incredible guys in the bullpen” template is the new key to victory.

I have two words to respond to this idea: Madison Bumgarner.

San Francisco is sated a couple times over, though their wait before that was seemingly interminable. It’s been about three decades since KC saw its day in the sun. Go Royals. Comment away.

I’m stoked for the ALCS. Two teams who last won it all in the 80’s are going to have a tilt to see who gets a shot at the big one. Can’t say I’m as excited for the NLCS, where two teams who have won the last four (!) NL championships are playing to see if they can match the Sox for 21st century titles. It’s just a bit dull seeing the same damn teams again. So it’ll be new and exciting versus done to death in the World Series. But which teams? I’m excited to see it play out. Pulling for the Royals, but fairly certain the Orioles are going to mash them. Whatever, I’ll root for the dag-blasted AL East foes if they make it to the Series…I think. Definitely against the Cards.

Playoff games, especially these final three best-of-seven series(es), are the best kind of baseball. Let’s enjoy seeing the excellent and the supremely lucky try their luck and skill again for high stakes. Comment away.

That ballgame last night was easily the best one I’ve seen all year, even if you leave postseason context/historical significance aside.

Tonight’s Giants vs. Bucs contest can only be a letdown by comparison…can’t it?

Sorry to miss today’s gamer, y’all. Big family business most of today. Anyway, it’s all sorted and sadly, there will be no game 163’s.


KC/OAK @ LAA (awaiting wild card winner)


PIT/SF @ WSH (awaiting wild card winner)

Wild cards: OAK @ KC, SF @ PIT

Well, well, well. Nobody took advantage of anyone else’s lapse except the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers, Royals, A’s, Pirates, and Cardinals all lost. So the Royals remain 1 GB of Detroit, the Pirates 1 GB of St. Louis, and the Mariners are now only 1 GB of Oakland. The two Central division winners and the participants in the wild card games are not settled except that San Francisco is the visiting team in the NL game. So a lot is still on the line…and there could be up to 3 Game 163’s (DET-KC, STL-PIT, OAK-SEA). Fun day to watch the scoreboard…or the ballgames themselves (MLB.TV has been free since Friday).

MIN @ DET (1:08 ET)–Gibson vs. Price
PIT @ CIN (1:10)–Cole vs. Cueto
KC @ CWS (2:10)–Ventura vs. Bassitt
OAK @ TEX (3:05)–Gray vs. Martinez
LAA @ SEA (4:10)–Rasmus vs. Hernandez
STL @ ARI (4:10)–Wainwright vs. Collmenter

Fenway crowd generated a Derek Jeter chant last night with him sitting in the dugout. That’s the only meaning left in these games: watching the fans of the Yankees’ most bitter rival cheer on a Yankee legend. Surreal, will enjoy seeing the reception he gets in his first AB (he mentioned Thursday that he’d play some this weekend, just not at SS). Mostly I’m just going to miss baseball that matters to me.

But we still have a couple more shots left at the bottom of the bottle before we proceed to the hangover stage. So Tanaka and Kelly for the penultimate matchup. It’s so hard to believe every year that we’ve made it through over 160 games.

Most of the drama is gone, but not all. The 1-seeds have been obtained by LAA and WSH. The 2-seeds are BAL and LAD. The 3-seeds…well, that’s the main place it’s still interesting. The top two in each Central division are divided by just a game with 2 to play (KC 1 GB DET, PIT 1 GB STL). I hope at least one of them comes down to game 162…all right, I hope both come down to game 163.

As for the wild cards: KC clinched at least a wild card appearance yesterday and is a game ahead of Oakland…which might as well be 2 games, since KC holds the tiebreaker for who hosts the wild card game (so with the next KC win or Oakland loss, KC will grab home-field for the wild card, at least). Oakland is still not officially in as their magic # is 1 (with Seattle hoping everything breaks exactly right in the next two days–they would need to win both and for Oakland to lose both for them to tie). It will be Pittsburgh or St. Louis hosting the NL wild card game with San Francisco the visitors.

Games that still matter today:

PIT @ CIN (1:05 ET)
MIN @ DET (7:08)
KC @ CWS (7:10)
OAK @ TEX (8:05)
STL @ ARI (8:10)
LAA @ SEA (9:10)

It’s been a couple decades since neither team made the postseason (strike-shortened in ’94). Papi is hurtin’ and may not play; Jeter will only be available to hit. What a strange final series. I imagine the welcome for #2 will be pretty warm, really.

The Sox have won the last couple series on a lot of rookie power…one more, please.

Shellacked them yesterday 11-3, including 3 RBI walks with some of the worst pitching I have ever seen (really, look at the box plots of the strikezone/pitches). Give it to them one more time and then send them on their merry way to some probably-meaningless games in Cleveland (Cleveland’s tragic number is 1) to end their year. Today, Hellickson takes on Webster, and the latter has shown some flashes of promise in the tail end of the season. God knows we need some kind of rotation next year.

Hiroki Kuroda faces Kevin Gausman at Yankee Stadium today, the final home game of the season. There’s a player departing Yankee Stadium for the last time today as well. I was fortunate enough to see him in the minors, facing the Rochester Red Wings (who were then a Baltimore affiliate) at Silver Stadium back in the mid 90’s. It was an impressive debut in Rochester for the up-and-coming shortstop for the Clippers, and even then his presence was something palpable. You knew he would go on to greatness. We didn’t know that he would then go on to write such a story for the most storied franchise in baseball. Like last season with Mo, it is difficult to accept that Jeter’s tenure as a ballplayer has come to an end. But it is indeed the end of his time, and time for new stories to be writ.

Thanks, Captain. Comment away.