In light of the Carlos Gonzalez/Coors Field hate, Dave Krieger of the Denver Post says the following:
one thing for baseball experts to penalize Carlos Gonzalez in the
National League MVP race because he plays half his games at Coors Field.
It’s quite another not to reward Ubaldo Jimenez in the Cy Young race
for exactly the same reason . . . As the days of summer
dwindle down and the eastern experts handicap baseball’s awards, you can
count on two things: Coors Field will be prominently mentioned in the
MVP race, devaluing
CarGo’s numbers, though he’s contending for the Triple Crown. And it
will get no mention whatsoever in the Cy Young race. Instead, Jimenez’s
candidacy will be devalued by his failure to maintain the pace that had
him at 15-1 at the all-star break.
It’s a pretty fair point. Jimenez’s home/road splits should be acknowledged. Let’s acknowledge them:
On the road Jimenez has a 2.30 ERA and a WHIP of 1.052 (at home he’s a
at 3.35 and 1.263). His strikeout rates are pretty similar at home and
on the road. He actually walks fewer in Coors. He’s given up the same
number of home runs at home and on the road, but he has allowed 17 more
hits in two fewer home starts. It’s a big outfield there in Denver.
I haven’t analyzed the NL Cy Young race all that much yet, but my gut has me thinking Roy Halladay would be my choice. Let’s check his splits out:
Halladay has an identical road WHIP as Jimenez and a
higher ERA (2.72). He has thrived in Citizens Bank Park, however,
posting a 2.12 ERA and a 1.048 WHIP. He strikes out more guys and walks
fewer guys on the road. Halladay has five fewer road starts than home
starts but has allowed only one less home run on the road.
Halladay and Jimenez aren’t the only two names to consider, of
course. Adam Wainwright has been a beast. Mat Latos has been excellent,
though in far fewer innings than the others. Josh Johnson was at least
in the conversation until he was shut down the other day. Tim Hudson
should be acknowledged. It’s not a two man race.
If you put a gun to my head right now I’d probably still choose Roy Halladay, but Krieger is right: if you’re going to penalize Carlos Gonzalez for Coors Field in the MVP race, you have to at least acknowledge that Ubaldo has to pitch in the joint when you’re thinking Cy Young.
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.
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.
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.
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.