Colorado is hoping to re-sign free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, but if his demands prove out of their price range Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies will look to trade for Rays right-hander James Shields.
Many teams would be smart to target Shields, because he pitched much better than his ERA suggests this season with secondary numbers (strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate) that show an overall performance closer to a 4.00 ERA than his actual 5.18 mark.
However, the Rockies may be one of the few teams that shouldn’t be in the mix for the 28-year-old starter. Shields’ biggest weakness is that he’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher, posting one of the 10 highest fly-ball rates in the league during the past three seasons and leading the league in homers allowed this year. Moving from the AL to the NL might help cut down on the homers, but calling Coors Field home for half his starts would just be a bad idea.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.