Asked this afternoon if trading Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox meant the Padres would soon be parting with closer Heath Bell too, general manager Jed Hoyer called it “exceptionally likely” that Bell would be San Diego’s closer on Opening Day.
Hoyer added that “this isn’t a firesale” and “Heath is going to be our closer in 2011.”
That doesn’t rule out trading Bell during the season, of course, and there’s been speculation that the Padres may be able to get more for him in July anyway because of how many quality relievers are still available on the free agent market right now.
Bell is arbitration eligible for the third and final time in 2011, after which he’ll be a free agent. He’s due for a significant raise from his $4 million salary this year after saving 47 games with a 1.93 ERA.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.