Brandon Webb, feeling good, keeping an eye on free agency

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick caught up with Brandon Webb, who’s down in Arizona preparing for a comeback season with the Diamondbacks. He says he feels fine and is ready to pitch, but of course guys always say that.  We’ll see once he starts to face live hitters in spring training.

More interesting were the Kentucky native’s comments about free agency, which he’ll hit after this season:

“Obviously you want to see what’s out there and do the best deal you
can for yourself and your family. That’s probably No. 1.  We’ve
had a great time in Arizona, and if everything works out and we stay
here, that would be good. But to get back close to home [in Kentucky]
would be just as good. I’m definitely keeping it open. I’m not going to
hold myself down to just Arizona.”

The joke around these parts is that Cincinnati is the capital of Kentucky.  And there’s a lot of truth to that.  No, I don’t see the Reds having any desire whatsoever to pay what a healthy and effective Brandon Webb would command in free agency.  But then again, I’ve never met a guy from Kentucky who didn’t think hard about taking a job in Cincinnati to be near mom and dad once or twice a year either.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.