Pop quiz, hot shot: you have a pitcher who can’t throw strikes and a bullpen that is, by far, the team’s weakest link. What do you do?
If you’re the Arizona Diamondbacks you put that pitcher in that bullpen and hope one of the fundamental laws of the universe (i.e. relief pitchers must throw strikes) is suspended in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
Look, Dontrelle Willis was a great pitcher for a while. He has sadly lost his mojo, however, and despite being given multiple chances, he does not look like he’s going to get it back. This is Major League Baseball. Not a charity ward. If Willis is to be pitching anywhere, he needs to be pitching someplace where he won’t be impacting games that matter.
And yes, even though the Dbacks are out of it, many of their opponents are not, and this grand experiment is simply bad for baseball. DFA him or waive him or do something to him, but by no means should he be pitching in the majors at this moment in time.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.