In case you missed the update, Javy Baez left today’s game with a hamstring issue of some sort, but has since suggested that he’s fine and might be able to play as soon as Saturday (via Carrie Muskat).
There’s a whole lot to get to this afternoon, so let’s jump right in with some news from around the league …
- Among the Cardinals many needs this offseason was a help in the bullpen, specifically of the late-inning variety. So far, their big addition has been Luke Gregerson, a perfectly fine signing, who’s expected to take over the ninth inning when the season rolls around. However, he might have to wait a bit longer than that: “Matheny and pitching coach Mike Maddux had Gregerson on the sheet to pitch Tuesday, but he didn’t, and on Wednesday he didn’t work either, with Matheny saying after the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over Washington that Gregerson had some ‘tightness’ in an oblique muscle.” Yikes.
- To be sure, Matheny doesn’t seem overly concerned about his closer-to-be, calling the injury nothing more than “a little setback,” but admitted that there’s no time frame in place just yet. At some point, you have to wonder if the Cardinals might just decide to go out and give closer Greg Holland whatever it takes to get him. He’s always made sense for the Cardinals – even with a healthy Gregerson – and might make even more sense now.
- Coincidentally, Brewers’ starter Zach Davies has also suffered a strained left oblique and will miss his next start in the Spring rotation. Like Matheny, Manager Craig Counsell is similarly unconcerned (and Davis did play catch today, so there’s that). But like the Cardinals situation, I’m starting to wonder if this injury convinces the Brewers to pull the trigger on a free agent starter like Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, or even Jake Arrieta.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
- Reminder, the Brewers are already without their best starter, Jimmy Nelson, for some portion of the season (mid-June, if I recall correctly). Also losing Davies (191.0 IP, 2.8 fWAR) for any stretch of time would be quite the blow. It doesn’t look like where there yet, but it’s something to watch out for.
- When everyone zigs, you zag … and then call it innovation. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are considering using a four-man rotation for the entire 2018 season – wait, let me try this a different way. The Rays are so Cheap – HOW CHEAP ARE THEY?! – The Rays are so cheap, they can only afford four starters this season! Whichever introduction you prefer, the Rays are considering using only Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jake Faria in the rotation this season, but would do so on regular rest (the bullpen would cover the fifth day). “Our plan, we’re not going to five,” Manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re going to try to stay at four. We’re going to have some bullpen days in there. We’re going to try and do that for a long period of time. We’re going to learn a lot in the first six weeks.” Shrug. Everyone’s looking for that edge, man.
- Sticking with the Rays, they just got some bad news: former top pitching prospect Jose De Leon was diagnosed with a torn UCL and will likely require Tommy John surgery. Bummer. De Leon is still just 25 and could bounce back from this, but it’s obviously a huge setback for anyone, let alone a player who missed much of 2017 with various injuries already.
- Remember when Greinke had velocity issues last Spring Training? It’s happening again:
And so begins another year of the Zack Greinke spring training velo watch. He was 84-86 mph in the first after being down in the mid-80s in last week’s sim game start, as well.
— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) March 8, 2018
- Of course, he went on to have one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, throwing 202.1 healthy innings, earning a 3.20 ERA, and totaling 5.1 fWAR … so maybe don’t worry about veterans early in Spring Training too much – so long as they’re healthy.
- At The Los Angeles Times, Andy McCullough shares some really great insight from Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, and Dave Roberts on their failed pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, and there was a lot of good information to take away from this. Namely, the impression that Ohtani never really cared about playing the outfield at all and really just wanted to DH. But also … shrug. I’m sure he had his preferences and I’m sure the Dodgers know what they heard better than I do, but then why would he even bother including the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, and Padres as four of seven finalists? Ohtani couldn’t get any more money by including those teams and the DH is no big secret … so I just don’t really buy it.
- In any case, here’s Ohtani striking out against Clayton Kershaw in Spring Training (don’t worry, bud, it happens to everyone):
Welcome to the States, Shohei Ohtani. Meet Clayton Kershaw. pic.twitter.com/Ld0QW8OnhE
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 7, 2018
- ESPN has a piece of on Ichiro Suzuki right now, and Brett highlights one of the best bits:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 7, 2018
- At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan uncovers a brilliant little bit of information that might seem like something you already knew, but are now certain of: teams are using more pitchers than ever. Okay, it’s not or simple or boring as that. More specifically, in 2013, baseball reached a new all-time high for number of rostered pitchers per team over the course of the season. And in 2014, the record was broken again. And in 2015, the record was broken again. Same goes for 2016 and 2017, and 2018 figures to follow the trend. Yes, for five straight seasons, MLB has broken the record for number of pitchers per team, and, as you can imagine, the bullpen-heavy trend has played a huge role. Plus, I’d wager that the new(ish) 10-day disabled list will help that number inch up even quicker.
- And finally, at Baseball Prospectus, Jonathan Judge uses some serious math skills and catcher framing statistics to help examine the idea of uncertainty in baseball statistics. It is one dense, long article, but if you have the time and interest, I do not think you’ll be dissapointed.