MLBits: Jansen Out for a Month, Bartolo Wants to Play Next Year, King Felix to the Pen, Soria, Betts, Soto, More

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MLBits: Jansen Out for a Month, Bartolo Wants to Play Next Year, King Felix to the Pen, Soria, Betts, Soto, More

Chicago Cubs

For as much crap the Cubs pitching staff has gotten (and deserved) this season, the bullpen has actually been quite solid. We’re far from the early-season dominance we enjoyed with Brandon Morrow at the back-end and everyone else in their usual spot, but things are generally pretty good.

The Cubs pen, for example, ranks 6th in ERA, 10th in FIP, 5th in ground ball rate, 10th in soft%, and 6th in hard%. That’s all really, really great when you consider how few inning their *best reliever* has contributed, and the fact that Carl Edwards Jr. missed a month.

  • Speaking of bullpens, at the beginning of the year, I drafted Wade Davis and Kenley Jansen in my fantasy baseball league. Well now, it’s playoff time and Wade Davis has a 5.51 ERA and Kenley Jansen will be sidelines for at least a month:

  • That’s obviously scary and terrible news for Jansen (I don’t mean to make light of it with fantasy baseball talk, of course), and equally bad news for the Dodgers. After a slow start to the season, Jansen has earned a 1.32 ERA and 2.40 FIP since April 21st. Without him, the Dodgers bullpen would drop from 17th best in baseball to 25th best. He’ll be sorely missed as the Dodgers look to nail down the NL West down the stretch.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • In other bullpen news, the Oakland Athletics have traded for former Cub Fernando Rodney. Rodney, 41, continues to be so hilariously effective for his age (3.09 ERA, 3.79 FIP), as he’s currently rocking a 26.0% strikeout rate and 24.8% soft-contact rate. That’s just plain good. Good for him.
  • In our final bit of bullpen news for now, Brewers deadline acquisition and very good reliever, Joakim Soria, has a mild right groin strain. It’s still unclear how much time, if any, he’ll miss, but he’s allowed just 1 ER in 5.2 IP for the Brewers since joining at the end of July. That dominant bullpen has begun to show some cracks.
  • Mike Trout *is* the best player in baseball – especially when you zoom out past any one season – but Mookie Betts is having himself one helluva season and may well be more deserving of the AL MVP. Betts is currently slashing .347/.434/.668 with 27 home runs and a league-leading 191 wRC+. Yes, Mookie is doing something special. And anyway, oh yeah, he hit for the cycle last night.
  • Remember when that Braves announcer Joe Simpson questioned Juan Soto’s age on a broadcast and later apologized with, like, the weakest apology ever? Well, The Dominican Prospect League has responded with an very strongly-worded request for him to recuse himself from a broadcast for at least one game, appealing to the Braves and even Major League Baseball to intervene if necessary. They even get a little personal with it. Of course, because of that it’s very hard to ignore the seriousness with which they bring these concerns. I’ll admit, I didn’t think this was *as* big of a problem before, but I do now. Remember, not everyone experiences life the same way:

  • Going into yesterday’s game, Justin Verlander had 199 career wins … and then he lasted two innings, gave up six runs, and was ejected from the game for voicing his frustration. So basically, the Cubs were right to go with Jose Quintana instead. 
  • Giancarlo Stanton set a new StatCast record for exit velocity on a home run: 121.7 MPH. That is just INSANE.
  • It’s a sad day for baseball, because “The King” Felix Hernandez is moving into the Mariners bullpen. And that certainly feels like the beginning of the end. The 32-year-old, six-time All Star and Cy Young Award winner has pitched to a 5.73 ERA (5.03 FIP) this season and just hasn’t been himself for a while. Speaking of which … he’s only 32-years-old?! I guess because he started his career at 19 years old back in 2005, it feels like he’s been around forever (or, rather, he has), but he’s still young! I hope he figures it out and keeps the good times rolling a little longer, especially with the Mariners finally actually good now.
  • It’s another sad day for baseball, because Adam Wainwright is not yet considering retirement. Instead, he’ll head to Florida to begin a Minor League rehab stint, as he makes his way back to the Cardinals. Maybe it’s actually a happy day. For teams playing the Cardinals.
  • Strike all off that. It is an AMAZING day for baseball, because the 45-year-old Big Sexy, Bartolo Colon, wants to play again in 2019. Colon hasn’t been very good this year (5.18 ERA, 5.22 FIP), but dear god do I hope somebody gives him a contract for at least one more season.
  • I don’t care what anyone says, I think the opener is stupid and hope it doesn’t catch on:

  • Remember that Minor Leaguer who put the garbage can behind home plate during his argument with the umpire? This guy:

  • Well, as part of his one-game suspension, he put together a little helpful video:


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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami