Smoltz to be released, somehow has several suitors

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Jon Heyman (and many others) are saying that the Red Sox are going to release John Smoltz today.  Rosenthal has the Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins as interested.  No chance he’s going back to the Braves, says Mark Bowman, and he provides some statistical reasons to be wary of Smotlz, even as a reliever:

During the first 25 pitches of the eight starts Smoltz made for the Red Sox, he limited opponents to a .257 (9-for-35) batting average, a  .395 on-base percentage and a .286 slugging percentage.   From pitches 26-50, opponents produced a .327 batting average (17-for-52).  And from pitches 51-75, they hit .388 (19-for-49) against him.

Yes, that profiles nicely for short relief, but as Bowman notes, the quick breakdown makes one wonder whether he could be used effectively as a short reliever. A short guy in the pen has to be able to warm up fast, warm up couple of times a game, and pitch a few times a week.  If Smoltz gets gassed do quickly and so totally, I have a hard time seeing him be truly useful out of the pen.

As a Braves fan I love the guy, but as Neyer basically said the other day, if his name were Joe Schmo, no one would be talking about how he could help anybody.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.