A lot of you get sick of the little piece-by-piece rumor mill of the hot stove season, preferring that we wait until there’s a solid news story instead of a mere rumor to talk about something. I understand why you feel that way, but I disagree with that approach for the simple reason that I view a blog as a conversation, and you shouldn’t expect your friendly neighborhood blogger to zip it until news is official any more than you would the guy on the next bar stool over from you.
Wait. Bad example. God, I wish that guy would shut up.
Anyway, the point is that we make it pretty darn clear when we actually pretend to be reporting news around here. The rest of the time we’re just chatting, and there’s no harm in that. Chat back at us. That’s what the comments are for.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I’m going to offer you another one of those little bitty pieces of gossip that drive some of you crazy: According to 590 The Fan (question: is there a sports radio station in the country that doesn’t call itself “the Fan”?) Matt Holliday has put an offer down on a home in the St. Louis area. I’m guessing this means that the courtship is over and the kissing has begun.
Next up: Jon Heyman tweets that Holliday has signed offer sheets on houses in Balitmore, New York and San Francisco, and that he’s very close to signing a lease on a co-op in a “mystery city.”
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.