Thornburg wants to start, but thriving in setup role

Apr 24, 2014 | No Comments

Brewers right-hander Tyler Thornburg still wants to be a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues, but for now, he sure looks good as a reliever.

Poll: Best Modest, One-Year Signings

Apr 24, 2014 | No Comments

Players signed on one-year deals are obviously on a different timeline in terms of value assessment than are those who ink multi-year pacts. For one-year guys, their club must get their money’s worth — through on-field performance, trade value, or both — in 2014. Now that we’ve had a chance to see a full spring and about 12% of the regular season, let’s take a quick look back at some of this year’s relatively modest, one-year contracts. I will limit the list to players who signed for more than $4MM and up to $8MM (presented alphabetically; poll will randomize order). The early returns have been pretty solid on the whole. And remember — almost all of these guys will be free agents again next year. The poll question is simple: rank these players according to which you think will ultimately prove to have been the best one-year signings (given their respective team’s needs). John Axford, RP, Indians, $4.5MM: leading league with eight saves; 2.79 ERA but seven walks already  in 9 2/3. Bruce Chen, SP, Royals, $4.25MM: has made three starts, allowing 11 earned runs in 15 innings; his strikeouts are up, but so are the hits allowed (.417 BABIP). Nelson Cruz, OF/DH, Orioles, $8MM (plus 54th overall draft pick): off to a big .301/.386/.603 start with six home runs, though early defensive numbers are awful (-4 DRS, -52.1 UZR/150).

Poll: Best Mid-Level, One-Year Signings

Apr 24, 2014 | No Comments

Players signed on one-year deals are obviously on a different timeline in terms of value assessment than are those who ink multi-year pacts. For one-year guys, their club must get their money’s worth — through on-field performance, trade value, or both — in 2014. Now that we’ve had a chance to see a full spring and about 12% of the regular season, let’s take a quick look back at some of this year’s relatively modest, one-year contracts. I will limit the list to players who signed for more than $4MM and up to $8MM (presented alphabetically; poll will randomize order). The early returns have been pretty solid on the whole. And remember — almost all of these guys will be free agents again next year. The poll question is simple: rank these players according to which you think will ultimately prove to have been the best one-year signings (given their respective team’s needs).

Mets take advantage of walks to best Cardinals

Apr 24, 2014 | No Comments

The Mets struck out 10 times against Cardinals starter Michael Wacha but knocked him out of the game after four innings in a 3-2 win at Citi Field. Lucas Duda’s solo homer provided some insurance after the Mets’ first two runs scored on bases-loaded walks.

Matheny’s first challenge of season goes Mets’ way

Apr 24, 2014 | No Comments

After home-plate umpire Marty Foster called the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter out on a close play at the plate, umpires confirmed the ruling via replay in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Mets.

Waino optimistic about making next start

Apr 23, 2014 | No Comments

Mike Matheny wasn’t quite as optimistic as Adam Wainwright that the right-hander will be able to make his next scheduled start, but both are equally relieved that the injury Wainwright sustained to his right knee on Tuesday is not nearly as bad as it first looked.

Latest On Kevin Towers, Kirk Gibson

Apr 23, 2014 | No Comments

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at the Diamondbacks’ remarkably poor 5-18 start to the season and wonders just how long the organization will go before making leadership changes — referring specifically to general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson. Morosi writes that changes could be on the horizon, opining that a change could come as soon as this weekend if the D’Backs can’t salvage a series split against the Cubs after being swept by the Mets. Morosi spoke with several veteran Diamondbacks players, including Eric Chavez and Brandon McCarthy, the latter of whom said he had been on bad teams before but had never seen anything like Arizona’s current situation. “This is different,” McCarthy told Morosi. Said Chavez: “I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest with you. I’ve been on teams that weren’t very good, but at least I felt like we were competitive.

Ishikawa Outrighted By Pirates, Likely To Elect Free Agency

Apr 23, 2014 | No Comments

First baseman Travis Ishikawa has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis by the Pirates, reports MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Because Ishikawa has been previously outrighted, he has the option of rejecting the assignment in favor of free agency, which he is likely to do. Ishikawa, 30, hit .206/.263/.382 with a homer, a triple and a double in 38 plate appearances for the Bucs this season. He was initially part of a platoon with lefty masher Gaby Sanchez until the Pirates, in search of an upgrade, swung a deal for Ike Davis (Pittsburgh sent Zack Thornton and a PTBNL to the Mets). Ishikawa is a lifetime .257/.321/.397 hitter, and his splits are indicative that he is best suited to be part of a first-base platoon (as he was in Pittsburgh). Both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating feel that Ishikawa’s glove at first base is above average — an attribute that he and agent Jim McDowell can use as a selling point should he ultimately elect to become a free agent.

MLB Notebook: Pujols flies to 500 homers

Apr 23, 2014 | No Comments

With two home runs Tuesday vs. the Nationals, Albert Pujols became the third-youngest player to reach 500 career home runs and just the fourth to do so in his first 14 seasons.

Headley hits 12th-inning homer off weary bullpen

Apr 23, 2014 | No Comments

Chase Headley hit a home run to start the 12th inning Tuesday to lead the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park.