UPDATE: Not so fast. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that the team will wait until Sunday to make a decision regarding Billy Wagner’s spot on the NLDS roster.
The Braves are still holding out hope that he will be available should the team advance to the NLCS, so it’s possible they will play short-handed in the meantime. If the Braves determine that Wagner will not be able to return in the near future, Takashi Saito or Jair Jurrjens would likely replace him on the roster.
8:52 AM: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Billy Wagner will be replaced on the NLDS roster due to a strained left oblique suffered in the 10th inning of last night’s game against the Giants.
“I went to field Renteria’s bunt, and when I tried to get out of
Troy’s way, that’s when I felt a tweak,” Wagner said. “I tried to make a
pitch, just get out there and finish the inning. After I made the
pitch [to Torres] and tried to go toward the plate, I couldn’t move.
“Thank God he bunted it hard enough to get it back to me, or I couldn’t have made a play at all.”
Wagner is expected to be replaced on the roster by either Takashi
Saito or Jair Jurrjens, both of whom are recovering from injuries of their own. O’Brien gives the advantage to Saito, who was left off the original NLDS roster due to an inflamed shoulder.
Now that Wagner will be removed from the roster, he will be ineligible to return should the Braves advance to the NLCS. In other words, the Braves must reach the World Series in order for Wagner to pitch again during the postseason. The veteran left-hander has held pretty firm about his intent to retire after the 2010 season, so it’s very possible that this was the last time we’ll ever see him on the mound. That’s just not right.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.