This is one I’ve never heard before. Ken Rosenthal spoke with Reds’ AAA pitching coach Ted “Tower of” Power, who says that Arolids Champan may need to figure out how to throw an offspeed pitch that isn’t a changeup because his hands are too big to effectively grip one. For now he’s using his slider as his offspeed pitch.
1) When I saw Chapman pitch here in Columbus a few months ago he was definitely throwing an effective changeup. It wasn’t a slider, at any rate, as he threw some of those too, slotting in ahead of his changeups in velocity but below his fastball (it helps that I was sitting right behind home plate and couldn’t detect slider movement on many of his offspeed pitches as well). Maybe Power’s point is about consistency with the change. Chapman was on the night I saw him. He got shelled in his next outing. Maybe the change wasn’t working;
2) For now Chapman can get away with only featuring two pitches because he’s in the pen. If the Reds return him to starting next season, he’s going to have to figure something out; and
3) Knuckleball, dude. You know in your heart it’s right. How awesome would it be to go from 103 m.p.h. to a flutterball? Probably physically impossible for a guy like Chapman, but if he could do it, I’d probably quit my job and become his butler.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.