The Braves may split the closer’s job

8 Comments

With Billy Wagner’s presumed retirement — and I say “presumed,” simply because he hasn’t filed his paperwork yet; he’s retiring — the assumption has been that Craig Kimbrel will take over the closer duties in Atlanta. He did so in the NLDS after Wagner’s injury, and he’s been groomed to close for a while now.

However, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez suggested today that Kimbrel and Jonny Venters might share closing duties this season.

With all apologies to fantasy baseball players in need of some saves from guys no one likely kept from last year’s league, I like the idea.  Kimbrel has the stuff to close against anyone I think, but he is still young and is still likely to have some issues with control that have always been his biggest weakness.  Venters, on the other hand, is not exactly a lefty specialist. He was even harder on righties last year than he was lefties and could easily close games himself.

Why put so much pressure on one young guy?  Keep them both fresh. Have them both ready to setup or close depending on the matchups and how they’re throwing and how they’re feeling at any given time.  Some people may squawk that there isn’t one anointed closer, but who cares?

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

Rob Tringali/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.