Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said on Wednesday that Cliff Lee will make a rehab start in Triple-A on Sunday. (As you can tell by the photo, they’re quite excited about his arrival in Tacoma!) Then assuming there are no setbacks, he will make his regular season debut for the Mariners on April 30 against the Texas Rangers.
Lee, who has been on the disabled list since April 4 with an abdominal strain, has already thrown a pair of simulated games without incident, and on Tuesday saw his five-game suspension rescinded after he convinced MLB officials that his injuries – not ill intent – were the reason he threw a ball over the head of Arizona catcher Chris Snyder in a spring training game.
Who Lee bumps from Seattle’s rotation is still a question, and no easy decision given the recent strong outings from back-of-the-rotation guys Doug Fister (2-0, six hits, one run in last two starts) and Jason Vargas (2-0, three runs in last two starts).
The guess here is that Ian Snell, who was scheduled to start Saturday but has been pushed back to Tuesday, will be the guy who loses out. But that’s just speculation at this point. One thing I don’t expect the Mariners to do is act like the Cubs and move Felix Hernandez to the bullpen.
And in the good-problem-to-have department, Erik Bedard was scheduled to throw a 60-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday, with an eye toward returning in late May.
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Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.