Juan Rincon, MLB.com, and telling me it's raining

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With the struggling newspaper industry providing less and less unique
baseball coverage, MLB.com has done a great job beefing up its content
this season. However, every few days an article pops up as a reminder
that the reporting and analysis being done under the MLB.com roof isn’t
always the world’s most objective.

Juan Rincon is a 30-year-old reliever who’s been released by three
teams in the past 13 months and has a 5.41 ERA in 126 innings since the
beginning of 2007, yet based on the MLB.com article about his joining the Rockies’ bullpen you’d think that he … well, didn’t stink. Seriously, read some of this stuff:

While the makeup of the Rockies bullpen has continued to change
since early this year, the addition of righty Juan Rincon is expected
to make an impact. … Reliever Matt Daley has seen first hand the
presence Rincon can have on a team after a stint in Triple-A Colorado
Springs in late May to rehab his sprained left foot. “He brings a lot
of experience and knows exactly what he wants to do and how to get
hitters out,” said Daley.

Rincon’s experience in the American League could not come at a
better time for the Rockies, who are in the midst of a three-game
series with the Angels, then head to Oakland to play a three-game set.
“The experience that he brings, especially in Interleague series,
playing with the Twins for all those years brings a lot of information
that can be relayed back to us,” said Daley.

The words “experience” and “veteran” are used five times in a 300-word
article, writer Quinn Roberts suggests that Rincon “is expected to make
an impact,” and for some reason Matt Daley is willing to talk about the
washed-up reliever as if he were Mariano Rivera. My favorite Daleyism
is the notion that Rincon “knows exactly what he wants to do and how to
get hitters out.” Can you imagine how high his ERA would be without that knowledge?

It’s probably unrealistic and maybe even a little delusional to expect
a whole lot of objectivity and critical thinking from reporters who’re
being paid by MLB to write articles for a team’s official website, but
as a wise man once said: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.