Cervelli is useful, but don't get used to him

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There’s some talk that Jorge Posada is contributing to the Yankees’ pitching woes:

One unsettling fact for the Yankees is the difference when
Jorge Posada catches. With Posada behind the plate, the Yankees’
pitchers have a 6.31 E.R.A. The combined E.R.A. with Francisco
Cervelli, Jose Molina and Kevin Cash is 3.81 . . . Posada, 37, has
handled many exceptional pitchers in his career. Although some, like
Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina, have preferred other catchers, Posada
does not have to apologize for his resume. Posada takes his job
seriously and is an emotional engine of the team.

Yet
Burnett, in particular, seems to struggle with him. In Burnett’s four
starts pitching to Posada, opponents have batted .330. In nine starts
with the other catchers, the average is .223.

This not just media
chatter on a day off, as Burnett himself is on record questioning
Posada’s pitch selection, albeit in somewhat diplomatic terms.

Not
that any of this matters, because there are two numbers that are going
to determine who catches for the Yankees going forward. The first is
.940, which is Posada’s current OPS, and which more than makes up for
whatever impact his pitch choices have on his starters’ ERA. The second
is 1, which is the number of minor league options Francisco Cervelli
has left, meaning that when Jose Molina comes back from the DL,
Cervelli will most likely be enhancing the ERAs of the Scranton-Wilkes
Barre pitching staff, not the one in New York.

Report: Marlins intent on adding a big-three reliever

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.

As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.

The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.

A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.

Bryan Price likely to use Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen in closer’s role

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:

I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.

This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.

Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.

Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.

Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.