Because you can never trade for just one left-handed hitting, first
baseman-type with a career OPS in the low 800s whose father was a
former All-Star pitcher and whose brother is also a professional
Ever without the historical similarities, it is fascinating that the
Red Sox traded for two such similar players in one day in getting Chris
Duncan and Adam LaRoche. However, while LaRoche is coming over to play
a significant role down the stretch, Duncan is likely being looked at
strictly as insurance. It’s no secret that he’s hurting, and the
Cardinals had just optioned him to the minors. The Red Sox will likely
assign him to Triple-A Pawtucket until an injury opens up a spot.
This trade for Boston was more about getting rid of Julio Lugo. The
Mets appeared interested in signing him as a free agent, but the
Cardinals were willing to part with Duncan and a player to be named.
Duncan wouldn’t seem to have a role in Boston’s plans, but he’s more
depth for a team obsessed with it. The 28-year-old has hit
.257/.348/.458 in 1,147 major league at-bats. He got off to a great
start this year, hitting .304/.417/.522 in April, but he hadn’t done
much of anything since. He was 1-for-27 this month, giving him a season
line of .227/.329/.358.
Duncan is making $825,000 this year as a super-two player. He
probably won’t be due more than $1 million-$1.2 million in 2010, which
should give him some trade value. He’d be a nice platoon option at that
Lugo figures to be just about free for the Cardinals, as the Red Sox
were willing to pick up most or all of the approx. $13.5 million he was
due through the end of next year. He will likely take the spot of the
newly recalled Brian Barden on the St. Louis roster and play behind
Brendan Ryan at shortstop. The Cards are sure to have him work out at
other positions as well, but since he hasn’t played anywhere besides
short since 2007, it could be some time before he’s an option at second
or third. Unfortunately, Lugo has displayed very little range
defensively since coming back from spring knee surgery. He may end up
outhitting Ryan, but he’d be an awfully weak regular unless his legs
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.
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.