A’s “closing in on finishing a deal” with Brandon McCarthy

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In addition to being on the verge of signing Hideki Matsui the A’s are also “closing in on finishing a deal” with Brandon McCarthy, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

McCarthy has a lengthy injury history and was limited to 56 innings this season–all in the minors–because of a stress fracture in his shoulder, but last month there were reports of at least a half-dozen teams scouting him in the Dominican winter league and McCarthy pitched well there.

He’s still just 27 years old and in between all the injuries McCarthy has a 4.56 ERA in 373 career innings despite calling a pair of hitter-friendly ballparks home in Texas and Chicago, so if healthy he should like pitching in Oakland.

UPDATE: The Athletics just announced that they have agreed to terms with McCarthy on a one-year contract. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the deal is worth $1 million guaranteed, plus some additional incentives.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.