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Trevor Bauer spurns Mets for Dodgers homecoming



Trevor Bauer spurns Mets for Dodgers homecoming

Trevor Bauer returned home and rejected the Mets, agreeing to terms with the Dodgers on Friday.

Bauer, the free-agent right-hander, agreed to terms with the reigning World Series champions, rejecting the Mets’ offer for three years that would’ve paid him between $100-to-$110 million. The Dodgers’ three-year contract is worth $102 million, paying him $40 million in Year 1, $45 million in the second, with Bauer able to opt out after either.

Bauer, 30, went 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA in the shortened 2020 campaign.

While it has been a busy offseason in Flushing for new owner Steve Cohen and returning team president Sandy Alderson, it will not end with them landing the top pitcher (Bauer) or position player (George Springer) in free agency.

The Mets did however land star shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in a trade with the Indians last month. They also signed catcher James McCann to a four-year, $40 million deal and strengthened their bullpen with the additions of Trevor May and Aaron Loup. Marcus Stroman and Carrasco will be the third and fourth starters with Noah Syndergaard expected to return from Tommy John surgery around midseason.

The Mets also remain in talks with free-agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bauer, a former UCLA star, comes with off-the-field issues, notably on social media. He harassed a female college student on Twitter two years ago, digging up a photo from her timeline of her drinking before her 21st birthday and subjecting her to ridicule by his 414,000 followers. Bauer tweeted 17 times at her, or at others while discussing her, over three days. He later apologized.

Bauer has discussed a desire to pitch every four days and said, in part, his next team’s willingness to work with him on that experiment would be part of his decision. He spent six-plus seasons with the Indians before being dealt to the Reds before the 2019 trade deadline.

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Athletics’ Sergio Romo pulls down pants during substance check



Athletics' Sergio Romo pulls down pants during substance check

MLB pitchers aren’t taking kindly to the league’s new foreign substance rules.

Athletics pitcher Sergio Romo seemed particularly annoyed that the umpires performed a substance check on him Tuesday night.

After working a one-run seventh inning for Oakland, the umpire beckoned for Romo to come over for the check. Romo responded to the moment by tossing his hat and glove to the ground and whipping his belt off.

MORE: Rays’ Wander Franco homers in first MLB game

Then came Romo’s final act. He pulled his pants halfway down to prove that he wasn’t harboring any illegal substances.

Romo certainly made his point, but Dan Iassogna, the umpire checking him, didn’t seem too bothered by his high jinks. In fact, the umpire flashed a smile at Romo, who the broadcast described as “heated.”

Romo wasn’t alone in being bothered by the substance check on Tuesday. Max Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three times in the first four innings of the Nationals-Phillies game and became increasingly irritable with each examination. He directed his rage at Phillies manager Joe Girardi, who was later ejected for jawing at Scherzer. The checks didn’t seem to faze the three-time Cy Young winner too much; he earned the win, pitching five innings while giving up just a run and striking out eight.

Needless to say, these antics will be fairly common as MLB attempts to implement these rule changes on the fly.

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Nationals’ Max Scherzer feuds with Phillies’ Joe Girardi over substance checks



Nationals' Max Scherzer feuds with Phillies' Joe Girardi over substance checks

MLB’s new sticky substance rules are already causing havoc, and resulted in a feud between Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Phillies manager Joe Girardi on just their second day since being implemented.

Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three times in his first four innings against Philadelphia. He came up clean each time. The Washington starter didn’t look happy about his first check of the game after the opening frame.

That said, all starters will be checked for foreign substances under MLB’s new protocols, so that was expected.

MORE: Wander Franco cranks three-run homer in first career game

What wasn’t expected was that Scherzer would be checked after the third inning as well. He finally drew the line when Girardi requested that Scherzer be checked in the middle of the fourth inning.

The feud between Scherzer and Girardi reached its boiling point in the fifth inning. Scherzer stared at Girardi on his walk back to the dugout after retiring the Phillies in order, and Girardi took exception to it. He came running out of the dugout yelling at Scherzer and was ejected while the pitcher mocked him from a distance.

Be prepared to see more of these mini squabbles and frequent substance checks. Managers have the right to have the opposing pitchers checked, so they will likely take advantage of this as baseball implements this major rule change on the fly.

Though the Scherzer-Girardi feud was amusing, it’s certainly not a feather in MLB’s cap. If anything, it’s a bad omen that the league’s hastily made protocol changes could result in more conflicts, slowdowns and controversies as umpires figure out how to properly deal with them.

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Rays’ Wander Franco hit game-tying homer in first MLB game, and Twitter loved it



Rays' Wander Franco hit game-tying homer in first MLB game, and Twitter loved it

Welcome to Major League Baseball, Wander Franco.

The top prospect in baseball made his long-awaited Rays debut on Tuesday night in an effort to help the team snap a six-game losing streak. Almost immediately, the move paid dividends.

Franco walked in his first plate appearance, but made a lot of noise in the fifth inning. With the Rays trailing 5-2, Franco hit a three-run homer off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez to tie the game.

Franco drove the slightly low slider 362 feet and helped Tampa Bay come from behind in a critical game against Boston. The Rays owned a half-game lead over the Red Sox atop the AL East entering play on Tuesday.

MORE: Four things to know about Rays prospect Wander Franco

The 20-year-old became the youngest player to homer in his first game since Jurickson Profar did so on Sept 2, 2012, with the Rangers.

He also is the youngest member of the Rays to homer since B.J. Upton in 2004.

The blast inspired many reactions from MLB Twitter, as fans and analysts alike were excited to see Franco deliver on the hype immediately.

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