It looks like the Diamondbacks and Aaron Heilman might have erred in trying the veteran setup man as a starter this spring. The 32-year-old right-hander was placed on the DL for the first time in his career Friday due to a case of shoulder tendinitis.
Replacing him on the roster will be 25-year-old righty Josh Collmenter.
Heilman, who lost out to Armando Galarraga for the last spot in Arizona’s rotation, had allowed nine runs in 6 2/3 innings out of the pen this season. Six of those runs came Wednesday in Arizona’s 15-5 loss to the Cardinals, when he was struggling to touch 90 with his usual 91-94 mph fastball.
Heilman is one of just four relievers to make at least 60 appearances and pitch at least 60 innings each of the last five years, joining Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Cordero and Mariano Rivera. And that’s actually setting the bar low for him: he was over 70 appearances and 70 innings in each of the five seasons, something none of those closers did. Only two other pitchers (Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch) matched those marks over four of the last five seasons.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.