NL Central Notes: Cubs, Castillo, Martin, Bourjos

Sep 16, 2014 | No Comments

Cubs catcher Welington Castillo wants to be part of the future in Chicago, but he understands that in order for that to happen he likely has some more improvement to do, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Castillo, 27, is entering his prime-age seasons but doesn’t hear his name mentioned alongside younger core players like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. Castillo specifically mentions that he recognizes the fact that baseball is a business and he can’t assume that he will be in a starting role. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer again said to Wittenmyer that the team plans to add at least one everyday veteran this winter, leading Wittenmyer to speculate on Russell Martin, who would give the Cubs a major defensive boost behind the plate. While catching coach Mike Borzello feels that Castillo is “the best in the business” at blocking pitches, Castillo ranks at the bottom of Baseball Prospectus’ Blocking Runs Added stat and ranks 72nd among 97 catchers in extra strikes via pitch framing (also via B-Pro). Hoyer, however, did give Castillo a vote of confidence: “I really believe in Welly. … He doesn’t get mentioned a lot when we talk about our established young veterans, but he can be in that mix as well.” Here’s more from the NL Central… ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers also has quotes from Hoyer on his desire for veteran leadership, and Rogers wonders if the club would pursue a veteran such as Jonny Gomes to help out in left field. While he notes that Gomes, of course, wouldn’t be an everyday player, “a quasi-starter who has winning experience might be the best option” given the lack of starting-caliber bats at positions of need for the Cubs, Rogers opines.

Shoemaker set for MRI after mild side pain

Shoemaker set for MRI after mild side pain

Sep 16, 2014 | No Comments

Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker was forced to exit deep into his start on Monday night with what he deemed “a little side discomfort” on the left side of his rib cage, an ailment the rookie said he’s “not really” concerned about. Nonetheless, he’ll have an MRI on Tuesday.

Freeman, Fredi tossed after Stras K’s slugger

Freeman, Fredi tossed after Stras K’s slugger

Sep 16, 2014 | No Comments

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and his manager Fredi Gonzalez both displayed some frustration when they were ejected by plate umpire Tim Timmons during Monday night’s series opener against the Nationals at Turner Field.

Quick Hits: Stewart, Hill, Braves, Rangers

Sep 15, 2014 | No Comments

MLBTR has been keeping track of all the rumors and candidates tied to the Diamondbacks‘ GM search, and it appears as if Dave Stewart is now “the favorite” to be the team’s next general manager, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.  Stewart will formally interview for the job this week.  Here’s some more news from around baseball… Aaron Hill tells FOX Sports’ Jack Magruder that he wants to remain with the Diamondbacks next season.  Hill has lost September playing time to some of the D’Backs’ young infielders and was shopped before the July trade deadline.  It’s no surprise that Arizona might be looking to the future given that Hill has struggled this season, he’ll be 33 next Opening Day and the second baseman is still owed $24MM through the 2016 season. While the Braves are still on the fringes of the NL wild card race, it looks like this could be a lost season for Atlanta.  MLB.com’s Mark Bowman looks at how the team was hurt by some front office and player (namely, Tim Hudson) losses and Bowman wonders if the Braves could shake up the coaching staff or even consider replacing GM Frank Wren. The Rangers have used 27 different position players this season, and MLB.com’s T.R.

Sharp Harvey touches 95 mph in simulated game

Sep 15, 2014 | No Comments

For the first time in over a year, Matt Harvey climbed atop Citi Field’s main pitching mound on Monday afternoon, toed the rubber and began firing. It was the final throwing session of the season for Harvey.

D’Backs Select Bobby Wilson’s Contract

Sep 15, 2014 | No Comments

Here are today’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post… The Diamondbacks selected the contract of catcher Bobby Wilson, according to a team press release.  The veteran backstop signed a minor league deal with Arizona last November and he will look to appear in his first Major League game since 2012.  Wilson hit .208/.272/.321 in 447 career PA, all with the Angels from 2008-12, and he spent 2013 playing for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.  In a corresponding move to open a 40-man roster spot for Wilson, the D’Backs transferred Bronson Arroyo on the 60-day DL.

Mets “Almost Certain” To Retain Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins For 2015

Sep 15, 2014 | No Comments

The Mets are expected to bring back both general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins for the 2015 season, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  Contract details haven’t been finalized with either man, though since Collins is already signed through 2015, Alderson’s status is the only one that needs to be immediately addressed.  The GM’s previous deal will expire at the end of the season, and though the Mets hold a team option on his services for 2015, Martino reports that it’s more likely the Mets will work out an extension with Alderson rather than just exercise the one-year option. Alderson and Collins both joined the team prior to the 2011 season, and the rebuilding Mets have a 297-339 record under both men.  It had been assumed that Alderson would return in 2015, and though Collins’ status was perhaps in question earlier in the season, recent signs pointed towards his return as well. 

Three keys to Cardinals taking division crown

Three keys to Cardinals taking division crown

Sep 15, 2014 | No Comments

Here’s a look at three factors behind the Cardinals’ recent climb to the top of the National League Central and three keys in their quest to hold off the Pirates and Brewers for another two weeks.

Twenty-seven up and down: Evaluating Texas’ position players

Sep 15, 2014 | No Comments

The Rangers have used 27 position players on a club that is going to finish with offensive numbers that haven’t been seen in Arlington in more than three decades. Some of those players are going to be with the Rangers for a long time. Some of them better be with Texas for a long time. Others will fade into footnote history.