Quick hits: Free-agent compensation madness

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– Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports takes a detailed look at the inequities of the free-agent compensation system
while advocating some changes, if not a complete overhaul. For example,
Passan finds that in the current system, Giants reliever Sergio Romo is
worth more than Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The example is
extreme, yet valid. The current system is a complicated mess. Major
League Baseball and Elias would do everyone a favor by overhauling
these “groupings” with a little more common sense.




– In his first game back after the birth of his second child, Derrek Lee blasted two home runs while Carlos Marmol recorded a four-out save in a 5-3 win over the Mets on Saturday afternoon.



– Lance Berkman isn’t sure if he will play beyond the length of his current contract.
The 33-year-old slugger is set to earn $14.5 million in 2010 with a $15
million club option for 2011 or a $2 million buyout. “The Big Puma” is
clearly having an off-year, batting just .272/.400/.496 with 18 home
runs and 65 RBI this season. Shockingly, he hasn’t hit a home run since
July 9.




– Andy Pettitte improved to 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break with a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.
By the way, Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 in the win, moving to within six
hits of tying Lou Gehrig for the Yankees’ all-time hits record.




– Curt Schilling is saying things again, and it is making me glad that I don’t live in Massachusetts anymore.



– And lastly, my favorite link of the week: The 40 Most Undeserving MLB Starting Lineup Figures Ever. Former Mets great Ryan Thompson makes an appearance.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.