Brian Sabean says 'nothing physically the matter' with Madison Bumgarner

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Last week I surmised that Giants prospect Madison Bumgarner’s significant drop in velocity and recent struggles meant “something clearly isn’t right with him physically” and Rob Neyer of ESPN.com took that conclusion a step further:

I’m afraid this goes beyond “something clearly isn’t right with him physically at this point.” I’m afraid he’s hurt.



I’m sure the Giants would tell you that they’ve run all sorts of tests and they can’t find anything and it’s just a mechanical thing, and blah blah blah I’ve heard it all before. This kid’s probably been lighting up radar guns since he was in the ninth grade, and now all of a sudden he’s throwing 87 and all he needs to do is keep his elbow a little higher during his delivery? Maybe. But probably not.

Of course, we’re just a couple guys with keyboards and yesterday Giants general manager Brian Sabean assured Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that “there is nothing physically the matter” with Bumgarner:

It’s this simple: He was preoccupied this winter and it cost him. He had personal stuff to straighten out, getting married, and he was ill-prepared to come into spring training. I don’t know how much he threw to get ready. Some of it is our fault because we didn’t track him as well as maybe we should. We’ve got to do a better job eyeballing that.

That all sounds perfectly reasonable until you consider that Bumgarner’s decline in velocity actually dates back to last season, when he averaged just 89.2 miles per hour with his fastball during a 10-inning stint in San Francisco. So yes, perhaps Bumgarner didn’t do everything he should have done this offseason, but if anything that only compounded a problem that had already surfaced months earlier.
Whatever the case, after giving up 11 runs over seven innings in his first two starts Bumgarner turned in a solid outing at Triple-A last night with six innings of two-run ball. He still managed only three strikeouts, but Fresno announcer Doug Greenwald told Baggarly that “the scoreboard radar gun had Bumgarner’s fastball consistently in the low 90s, topping out at 93 mph.”

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.