Adam Wainwright scheduled for Tommy John surgery Monday


There’s no official announcement yet from the Cardinals on when Adam Wainwright will have Tommy John elbow surgery, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he’ll go under the knife Monday.

Some pitchers come back from Tommy John surgery in 10 months, some pitchers need two years, and some are never the same, but for the most part the expected recovery timetable is right around 12 months.

For instance Joe Nathan, who had the surgery during spring training last year, is now throwing without any restrictions in Twins camp and seems confident about being 100 percent ready for Opening Day. Wainwright is actually about three weeks ahead of Nathan in terms of when the surgery takes place, although that isn’t a significant difference in a year-long process.

As for Wainwright’s unique contract situation, because the Cardinals’ ability to void his 2012 and 2013 options is based on Wainwright being on the disabled list when the season ends we likely won’t know the outcome until October unless the two sides agree to a new multi-year deal that wipes away the old pact.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.