Desmond, Murphy, Cueto paying dividends for new MLB teams

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 08, 2016 09:14 PM
Desmond, Murphy, Cueto paying dividends for new MLB teams
FILE - In this May 17, 2016, file photo, Texas Rangers' Ian Desmond, right, celebrates with Rougned Odor (12) after hitting a two-run home run off Oakland Athletics' Ryan Madson during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif. Desmond wasn’t the biggest name on the free agent market, not by a longshot. But his big first half has helped Texas take a commanding lead in the AL West, and he’s been one of the most successful new acquisitions in baseball so far in 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer


Ian Desmond didn't settle on a new Major League Baseball team until late February, his puzzling free-agent saga finally ending when he signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Now Desmond looks like a bargain for the Rangers — and a big reason they're comfortably ahead in the American League West division.

Desmond's $8 million deal with the Rangers seemed almost humbling after he'd rejected a qualifying offer from Washington worth nearly twice that amount. He also had to switch positions, moving from shortstop to the outfield.

But Desmond has been outstanding after a slow start, and he's now batting .319 with 15 home runs, 54 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

"It's off-the-charts incredible. Just the leadership, athleticism," manager Jeff Banister said. "I don't want to put any one single player ahead of any others. But you take him out of our lineup and off our team, it has a different look to it."

Desmond wasn't the biggest name to change teams during the offseason, and he certainly wasn't the most expensive signing, but moves like this can shift the course of a division race if they pan out. Desmond has turned a tough situation into a success story, and Texas has been rewarded for its confidence in him.

Here are a few other offseason acquisitions who have made significant contributions for their new teams:

ZACK GREINKE, DIAMONDBACKS

The Diamondbacks signed Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract, and the right-hander got off to an awful start, finishing April with a 5.50 ERA. He eventually settled in and started to look like the pitcher he was last year.

He won seven straight starts from May 17 to June 18, and he's now 10-3 with a 3.62 ERA.

"He's great," Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt said. "He's been pitching for 10-plus years so he knows what he's doing. He had a few rough starts but then he was really, really good for eight, nine, 10. It was a lot of fun to play behind him after being on the other side the last few years."

Greinke is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. The team has set no timetable for his return but hopes it is shortly after the All-Star break.

Arizona is well under .500 despite Greinke's efforts.

DANIEL MURPHY, NATIONALS

After his big postseason helped the New York Mets win the National League pennant, Murphy signed a $37.5 million, three-year contract with division-rival Washington. The Nationals now lead the Mets by three games atop the NL East division, in part because Murphy is hitting an NL-best .346. The 31-year-old second baseman also has 15 homers and 59 RBIs.

JOHNNY CUETO, GIANTS

Cueto had his ups and downs during a brief stint with Kansas City that ended in celebration when the Royals won the World Series. The Giants have little to complain about after signing the right-hander to a $130 million, six-year deal. He's 13-1 with a 2.47 ERA after pitching his fourth complete game of the season Wednesday night. That victory gave San Francisco the best record in Major League Baseball.

MARK TRUMBO, ORIOLES

After going deep twice Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Trumbo led the majors with 26 home runs. He came to Baltimore in a December trade with Seattle, and he's complemented his typical power with a higher-than-usual batting average for the AL East-leading Orioles.

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, TIGERS

It was easy to be skeptical when Detroit traded for Rodriguez, considering the Tigers' track record with closers lately. But Rodriguez has 23 saves in 25 chances in 2016 and has generally finished off games without much drama.

___

AP Sports Writer Bob Baum in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Latest News