Link-O-Rama: Oh, Dayton!

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* Dayton Moore’s latest explanation
for acquiring Yuniesky Betancourt: “We have people who believe Yuniesky
Betancourt is going to continue to get better through a change of
scenery. When our top advisors, people I consider the very best
evaluators in the game, advise me that, ‘If you can get this guy, you
get him,’ that’s exactly what we did.”

I’ll surely revisit the trade and Moore’s various quotes
at the end of the season, when Betancourt has had the opportunity to be
a horrible player for another few months, but in the meantime what are
the odds that the Royals have “the very best evaluators in the game”?
And are they the same guys who thought trading for Tony Pena Jr. and
handing him a starting job was a good idea?

* Fausto Carmona has responded well to being sent down to the minors last month. He took a shutout into the seventh inning
last night at Triple-A and is now 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts
since the demotion. Perhaps most importantly he’s handed out just four
walks in 32.1 innings after walking 41 batters in 60.2 frames with the
Indians.

* Ian Snell has also thrived following his self-imposed demotion to Triple-A. He allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings last night, giving him a spectacular 0.34 ERA and 34/8 K/BB ratio in 26.1 innings at Indianapolis.

* T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports
that the Rangers “have officially entered themselves in the Roy
Halladay sweepstakes.” While that just makes them one of many teams
interested in the Blue Jays’ ace, the Rangers’ superior stable of
prospects could make them the front-runners for Halladay if they decide
to take the plunge.

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.