Joakim Soria wants to close

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After my post about Joakim Soria’s no-trade clause keeping him from the Yankees yesterday, many of you responded with “sure, but wouldn’t he want the chance to play on a winner? That would trump the saves!”  Answer: no it wouldn’t. Jon Paul Morosi:

Soria’s $6 million contract option for 2012 will vest automatically with 55 games finished in 2011. But it’s hard to finish that many games if you’re not the closer. That’s why his no-trade clause offers him protection for deals to several teams that have veteran closers.

Those clubs, according to a major league source, are the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals and Cubs.

Frankly, I think he’d have a better chance of it vesting with the Phillies than anywhere given Brad Lidge’s adventures, but the point remains: Soria needs to close for his options to vest. In addition to the 2012 option, he has an $8 million in 2013 and an $8.75 million option for 2014.

Sure, there’s an argument that he could do better than that, but that’s only if he remains an elite closer, isn’t it? And if he falls off at all from elite closer status, there won’t be any $22 million deals out there for him, I’d presume.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.