Angels may be giving up on Brandon Wood

6 Comments

Over the weekend Mike Scioscia told the slumping Brandon Wood to avoid even picking up a bat during his time off, and in what seems like an awfully big coincidence Maicer Izturis is now ready to come off the disabled list and Wood has developed a hip injury that figures to put him on the shelf.
Wood has been absolutely brutal, hitting .156 with 36 strikeouts in 39 games, so I certainly don’t blame the Angels for wanting to hand third base over to Izturis. However, the issue is that Wood is out of minor-league options and thus can’t be demoted to Triple-A without first passing through waivers. He can be placed on the DL and then sent out on a lengthy minor-league rehab assignment, though, which is seemingly what the Angels have in mind.
Meanwhile, the bigger question is whether Wood can already be labeled a lost cause. A first-round pick way back in 2003, he cracked Baseball America‘s annual top-100 list four different times, including ranking No. 3 in 2006, No. 8 in 2007, and No. 18 in 2008. And yet now he’s 25 years old with a ghastly .179 batting average and ridiculous 110/9 K/BB ratio in 364 plate appearances.
Baseball history is filled with guys who struggled mightily as young players only to become stars and certainly 364 plate appearances spread over parts of four seasons is hardly definitive proof that someone can’t hit big-league pitching, but he’s beyond simple struggles at this point. In addition to the .179 batting average, Wood has whiffed in over 30 percent of his trips to the plate while drawing nine measly walks in 125 games and hasn’t even shown much power.
Add it all up and he has a .481 OPS, which is the fourth-worst total among all hitters with at least 350 plate appearances through the age of 25 since MLB lowered the pitching mound in 1969. The only guys with a lower OPS through age 25 in the past 40-plus years are John Vukovich, Luis Gomez, and Terry Humphrey, who combined for .201 career batting average.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
10 Comments

In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
4 Comments

In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
13 Comments

MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
4 Comments

MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.