March 1, 2017
Another Setback for Wright
Wright indefinitely sidelined again
On Monday, this column opened with the news that Josh Hamilton’s attempt at a comeback would be derailed by knee surgery. Today has a similarly sad story for another veteran—David Wright, who has been diagnosed with a shoulder impingement that makes his Opening Day availability “questionable,” per the New York Daily News. Being healthy in time for the start of the season already looked to be an uphill climb for Wright, battling back from a season where he’d been sidelined first by spinal stenosis and then by neck surgery.
While this spring saw him begin a throwing program—which will now have to be put on hold, thanks to the shoulder impingement—he hasn’t yet begun normal work in the field, and though he’s played in four spring training games so far, all have come at designated hitter. The Daily News quoted team sources as calling his situation “not good,” but it’s really only slipped from bad to worse for the 34-year-old. Jose Reyes will be at third base for the foreseeable future, with Wilmer Flores available to back him up, while the chances of a comeback now look perhaps slimmer than ever for Wright.
Nationals looking at Pagan
Coming off a season in which he posted his highest WARP since 2012, Angel Pagan still has yet to find a new contract for this year. One possible landing spot could be the Nationals, who are considering a minor-league deal for the outfielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. They’re not the first team to weigh such an offer for Pagan this winter, Rosenthal notes, with the Blue Jays and Royals among those who looked at the 35-year-old before seemingly moving on after picking up other free agents.
But Washington reportedly remains interested and it appears pretty reasonably so, given the fact that Pagan is more versatile defensively than the team’s current primary backup outfielder Chris Heisey. Age and injury history are both working against Pagan in his quest for a contract here, but he still shapes up to be a perfectly adequate choice of fourth outfielder (if not a terribly inspiring one). Especially for a team depending on someone who takes trips to the disabled list as frequently as Jayson Werth, with no one more productive than the aforementioned Heisey as a valid backup option.
Reds try new bullpen strategy
There were very few positive things to say about the Reds' bullpen last year, except perhaps the fact that a bit of second-half improvement meant that they finished second-to-last in team DRA instead of simply dead last. An optimistic view of the bullpen’s situation for this year, then, is that it’s a perfect time to experiment with new things. It had already been reported that the team would eschew the standard closer model this season, but Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has now provided some more details.
The plan as of right now is to have Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzon as “alternating, multi-inning closers,” to the point where each could rack up more than 100 innings this year. As far as bullpen arms go, both Iglesias and Lorenzon are just about as well-suited as anyone could be to try something like this. Both are former starters, both are young, both are already accustomed to pulling off multi-inning outings from the bullpen. It’s not in the mold of this postseason’s much-discussed potential bullpen revolution, but it too could end up doing something to further blur the lines of traditional bullpen roles with its twist on the concept of closer by committee.