For the second straight season a spring training injury has put Brewers prospect Mat Gamel’s chances of cracking the Opening Day roster in jeopardy.
Last spring a shoulder injury caused Gamel to begin the season on the disabled list and he ended up spending nearly the entire year at Triple-A, getting just 15 at-bats with the Brewers.
This time around he has a strained oblique muscle and the Brewers will shut him down for at least seven days and perhaps significantly longer given how much that type of injury tends to linger.
If healthy Gamel is expected to serve as a utility man this season, drawing starts at the infield and outfield corners while trying to show that he’s capable of stepping into the lineup full time at first base next season if/when Prince Fielder departs via trade or free agency.
Gamel has consistently posted strong numbers at Triple-A and held his own in a 61-game stint with the Brewers in 2009, but his shaky defense at third base caused him to fall behind Casey McGehee on the depth chart and Fielder’s presence across the diamond along with Ryan Braun and Corey Hart being entrenched in the outfield corners has left the 25-year-old former top prospect without an obvious spot in the lineup.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.