Once again, the Mets have a starting pitcher with a beef, and the Dodgers might not be quick to sell on their bevy of starters.
Last offseason, the Mets caused a minor tiff with R.A. Dickey, when the team sent its ace a letter asking him to shelve an off-season plan to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Any lingering hard feelings from that incident—which did not deter the knuckleballer’s ascent—disappeared during Dickey’s Cy Young award-winning 2012 campaign, long before he was shipped to the Blue Jays. But, 15 months later, the Mets once again find themselves in hot water with the top starter on their depth chart.
Johan Santana is not happy with the Mets
This time, the pitcher in question is Santana, who, according to New York Daily News columnist John Harper, “remains bitter” about a recent disagreement surrounding his readiness to return to the mound. What, exactly, is ailing the veteran left-hander remains unclear.
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The Padres and Cardinals are attempting to find creative solutions for their second-base voids, and Rick Porcello might have solved his lefty woes.
Spring training is a time for preparation and position battles, but it is also a prime opportunity for players to showcase new skills. Today’s Roundup features a trio—two position players and one pitcher—that has been doing just that.
Cardinals, Padres impressed with second-base candidates’ defensive progress
Not many teams enjoy significant offensive contributions from their second basemen, and the Cardinals and Padres were not among the fortunate few in 2012, as their keystone men amassed OPSs of 670 and 684, respectively. St. Louis overcame that weakness to reach the National League Championship Series, and San Diego, whose players’ numbers are depressed by Petco Park, cared relatively little about individual performances during a rebuilding year, but both clubs entered this offseason seeking ways to improve on those mediocre outputs going forward.
The Yankees lack options at first and third base, and the Cardinals are now down a shortstop, but the Dodgers could soon be wheeling and dealing.
This morning’s top story is no rumor: 2013 will be Mariano Rivera’s final season. Will they be doing a farewell tour where all the clubs bring gifts? If so, the Diamondbacks should present Mo with a 2001 World Series championship ring, in a box that can’t quite be opened. Can someone make that happen? Tony Womack, maybe? Anyway, here’s to an incredible career. Now to the rumors, where we’ve got two teams beset by injury but filling the holes in different ways, plus the next chapter in the Dodgers’ quest to pare down their starting rotation.
Furcal likely to miss all of 2013, Cardinals trying to fill position internally
Yesterday, word came down that shortstop Rafael Furcal is set to miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. Furcal’s absence leaves Pete Kozma and Ronny Cedeño as the Cardinals’ only options at shortstop, and according to general manager John Mozeliak, that’s good enough for the time being. Mozeliak, per MLBTR:
The Cardinals will soon name their fifth starter, and Kyle Lohse will not be a Ranger.
Most teams with open roster spots or starting jobs let their players compete for the duration of Cactus or Grapefruit League play. The Cardinals, though, appear determined to finalize their rotation plans long before their players pack for the return trip from Jupiter, Florida, to St. Louis.
Cardinals nearing decision on fifth starter
Manager Mike Matheny told B.J. Rains, a host for 1380 AM sports radio in St. Louis, that he is “getting close” to picking the final member of his rotation, in which Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn, and Jaime Garcia (if his shoulder is healthy enough) are guaranteed spots. The race is between three right-handers, all of which would be well qualified to take the ball every fifth day for most teams, but whose presence in the same clubhouse has given Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak the best kind of problem.
The White Sox might be discussing an extension with Chris Sale, and the Cubs might have a suitor for Carlos Marmol.
It’s an all-Chicago edition of the Roundup, beginning on the South Side…
Chris Sale, White Sox have discussed extension
Although the White Sox fell three games short of the American League Central crown in Robin Ventura’s first year as manager, their fans enjoyed several bright spots, the brightest of which was Sale. There were doubts, coming into 2012, about whether the wiry left-hander could withstand a full season’s worth of starts after spending his first two major-league seasons as a reliever. And, at least for one year, Sale emphatically silenced them.
The Tigers aren't prepared to bring in outside options for closer, and the Rangers are interested in Rick Porcello.
After enduring another rocky season with Jose Valverde, and watching their veteran closer struggle through September before imploding in the playoffs, the Tigers seemed inclined to pass on their ninth-inning job to rookie Bruce Rondon. The 34-year-old Valverde remains unemployed, but if the early returns are any indication, Rondon may not be ready to fill his shoes.
Tigers to give struggling Rondon a break; not pursuing Jose Valverde
Armed with a triple-digit fastball and a sharp slider, Rondon has had little trouble missing bats this spring, with six strikeouts to his name through 3 2/3 innings of work. Unfortunately, he has missed the zone even more often than he has missed opponents’ bats, issuing five walks over that brief span. Add in five hits, including a home run, and 10 of the 21 hitters who have stepped into the box against Rondon have made their way to first base or beyond.
Late last week, we learned from ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Indians and Yankees were, for various reasons, staying on the sidelines of the Kyle Lohse market. The right-hander got better news over the weekend, though: With agent Scott Boras’ asking price reportedly growing more negotiable, a once-reluctant suitor might soon have an organizational change of heart.
Rangers keeping tabs on Lohse; price dropping?
According to Jeff Wilson, who covers the Rangers for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, some members of the team’s front office are inclined to add Lohse to a rotation that currently has more questions than answers. Can Matt Harrison continue to defy the FIP overlords and make good on his five-year, $55 million extension? Perhaps, but can Alexi Ogando make a smooth transition back to the rotation and withstand a potentially career-high innings workload? Maybe, but who will hold down the back end of the starting five, now that Martin Perez is expected to joinColby Lewis on the disabled list to begin the regular season?
Carl Crawford is experiencing pain in his elbow, while Kyle Lohse still can't find a job.
The Dodgers have a lot of money, a lot of big names, and—according to PECOTA—the best playoff odds in the National League. What the Dodgers don’t have, though, is a lot of power on the bench, an Achilles heel that leaves them especially vulnerable to injuries to their key position players. Today’s Roundup begins at Camelback Ranch, where that concern might soon come to the fore.
Carl Crawford dealing with soreness in surgically repaired elbow
Less than three weeks ago, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told MLB.com’s Barry Bloom that there was “no reason to believe” that his starting left fielder would be out of the lineup on Opening Day. Crawford, who did not appear for the Dodgers after coming over from the Red Sox in the August mega-trade, is now more than six months removed from the Tommy John surgery that ended his stint in Boston and had been working through a throwing program to rebuild strength in his left arm.
The Yankees are down a starter and a center fielder, while the Red Sox might be down a third baseman. The Dodgers happen to have a surplus of starters, though.
Welcome one and all to my first Mets-less iteration of the Rumor Roundup! Today we’ve got two injuries that illuminate each team’s lack of depth, one starter that may be on the move, and a heartwarming return to the mound to top it all off. Onward…
Phil Hughes Could Miss the Start of the Season; Damon Rebuffed by Yankees
Phil Hughes was shut down February 18 with a bulging disc, and according to manager Joe Girardi, the righty is still about two weeks away from making his spring debut. Needing at least four starts to be ready for the start of the season, Hughes would have to meet that two-week deadline to make his first start on time.
The Royals won't have to wait long to find more rotation options, and Jackie Bradley could crack the Red Sox' Opening Day roster.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore focused this offseason on improving a rotation that last year ranked 26th in the majors with a 5.01 aggregate ERA. Three of the team’s five projected starters—James Shields, Ervin Santana, and Wade Davis—are newcomers, and a fourth, Jeremy Guthrie, came over from the Rockies last July. Whether the revamped quintet can do enough to help Kansas City leap forward from its 72-90 finish remains to be seen. But one thing is already clear: After throwing Vin Mazzaro and Ryan Verdugo to the wolves in 2012, manager Ned Yost won’t lack for options in 2013.
In fact, come summertime, the fourth-year skipper might boast a surplus of dependable starters. While other teams are likely to wade into the trade waters for rotation upgrades in July, the Royals are poised to get their reinforcements from within.
John Harper, a columnist for the New York Daily News, spoke with multiple team and rival sources over the weekend, and discovered that Alderson and company once had much higher hopes for their now-bleak outfield picture. Myriad rumors connected the Mets to Bourn, and many believed—in advance of the former Brave’s four-year, $48 million deal with the Indians—that Major League Baseball would eventually agree to protect the 11th overall draft pick that stood between him and a ticket to Queens. Meanwhile, although the Braves were generally considered a likelier destination for Upton, Harper’s sources added that the Mets had a more realistic chance of landing him than the volume (or lack thereof) of buzz might have suggested.
The Yankees suffered a significant blow on Sunday, and the Rockies continue to search for rotation help.
Last Thursday, we learned that Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd is still searching for rotation reinforcements, and that his options are mostly limited to the trade market, because a bid for Kyle Lohse is considered unlikely. Over the weekend, a source named a name to ESPN’s Buster Olney.