The Athletics land Ben Sheets

Leave a comment

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ben sheets.jpgDanny Knobler of CBS Sports.com reports that the offer mentioned this morning was, in fact, competitive after all:

Free agent right-hander Ben Sheets has signed with the A’s, CBS Sports.com has learned.

Sheets agreed to terms on a one-year deal for more than $8 million. He
passed a physical today, and the deal is expected to be announced this
afternoon.

Original Big Three networks represent (R.I.P. DuMont).

Sheets is a great pickup for the A’s, especially at $8 million (Note: see below; it may have been $10 million).  If he pitches well and everything comes together, the A’s can compete.  If he pitches well and not everything comes together, he can be dealt for value to a contender at the deadline.  If he’s healthy, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him be just as good as John Lackey this year.

And if he has a setback? Well, the A’s weren’t going to do much without him, so not much is lost except a bit of money the A’s had apparently budgeted anyway.

Good signing.

UPDATE: Both Heyman and Olney are reporting that it’s not $8 million. Rather, that it’s $10 million plus bonuses.  That last $2 million plus makes this, oh, about $2 million less-good of a deal.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

Getty Images
5 Comments

MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.