Ryan Madson goes on the DL with a broken toe after kicking a chair

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Big Toe.gifBrad Lidge came off the disabled list today, and as Aaron pointed out yesterday, there is an open question as to whether he jumps right back into his customary role as the Phillies’ mediocre closer or if, instead, Ryan Madson will retain the job of Phillies’ mediocre closer for the time being.

Or at least there was a question: MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that Madson has been placed on the disabled list with a broken big toe* that he suffered after Wednesday’s game in San Francisco. Which he wouldn’t have been in in the first place if Brian Wilson hadn’t blown that save, so let’s just blame all this on Bruce Bochy, shall we?

Wait — he suffered the injury after Wednesday’s game? Yep! Which either means (a) somebody kicked something after blowing a save; or (b) Brad Lidge hired someone to go after Madson, Tonya Harding-style.  Man, I really hope it’s (b). That would feed the maw of this blog for three months, easy.  UPDATE: Madson kicked a chair. I guess there goes the dream of reporting on a juicy scandal.

Anyway, Antonio Bastardo gets called up to replace Madson on the roster. I think we can safely assume that Lidge is the man in the ninth inning now.

*Actually Zolecki says “great toe,” but I’m using the soda/pop rule of
grammar, which allows me to use phrases with which I feel more
comfortable.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.