McGwire to blame for Holliday's slow start?

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Thumbnail image for holliday_090827.jpgSome have speculated that Matt Holliday’s
relationship with new hitting coach Mark McGwire might be one of the
selling points to keep him in St. Louis. Well, think again.




In an interview with Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, agent Scott Boras attributed Holliday’s early season struggles to swing changes McGwire had made during offseason coaching sessions.



“After five weeks [Holliday] went back to his old stance,” Boras said.
“From that point on, he was the same player he always has been.”




Coincidence or not, Holliday batted
just .226/.282/.383 with four home runs, 20 RBI and a .665 OPS over the
first 28 games of the season with Oakland. He hit .335/.419/.547 with 20 homers, 89
RBI and a .967 OPS from that day forward.




For all the concern about Holliday’s
home/road splits, it’s worth noting that he batted .377/.442/.667 with
nine home runs, 35 RBI and a 1.119 OPS at Busch Stadium, a place that
was one of the toughest stadiums for a right-handed hitter during the 2009 season, according to the newest Bill James Handbook.
Even tougher than Citi Field, a supposed “death valley for right-handed hitters.”




Boras might be using McGwire’s
adjustments as a bit of a scapegoat here, but it’s clear that Holliday
can be a productive hitter just about anywhere.

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.

Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.

While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.