Ken Macha says Trevor Hoffman may close again. Which is crazy.

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What is it with mediocre managers putting individual player stats above all else these days?  First we had Jerry Manuel killing Jon Niese’s arm in order to try and get him a win, now we have Ken Macha saying
yesterday that he may slide Trevor Hoffman back into the closer’s role
. Why? “I’d certainly like Trevor to reach his goal of getting 600 . . . We’d like to get that done for him.” Mercy.

OK, maybe that’s not 100% of the reason.  Macha notes that Hoffman has had several good outings in a row now, pitching mostly in the seventh and eighth innings. Which he has.  But at the same time John Axford has struck out 21 batters in 18 innings and is perfect in save opportunities since taking over the role, including a two-inning save last night.

Rather than give your Established Closer his milestone, maybe you stick what’s working? Especially given that (a) so much isn’t working for the Brewers these days; and (b) Trevor Hoffman closing over the first couple months of the season made grown men cry.

Put more simply, the back end of the Brewers’ bullpen is one thing about the team that ain’t broke at the moment, Ken Macha, so why are you even thinking about fixing it?

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.