For whatever reason manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan have been reluctant to actually name a replacement for Ryan Franklin, who was stripped of closing duties last week.
However, after giving Mitchell Boggs three straight save opportunities and watching him handle them successfully while looking very good in the process Duncan finally admitted that Boggs is the Cardinals’ new closer. Well, sort of.
Here’s what he told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
I’d say that’s an accurate description of the current situation. Does that mean we will exclusively use him in the ninth inning? Probably not. But he’s going to get an opportunity to see what he can do. I think you present an opportunity and let results take you where they take you.
Perhaps not actually saying “Boggs is the new closer” would make it easier to eventually hand the job back to Franklin, but short of that I’m not sure what the reluctance comes from. Whatever the case Boggs now has a 3.51 ERA in 92 career innings as a reliever, including a 1.46 ERA and 15/3 K/BB ratio in 12 innings so far this season, and his average fastball has clocked in at 94.2 miles per hour.
In related news, Franklin has taken to shaving off his monstrous goatee in an effort to change his luck. He ought to speak to Don Mattingly about the situation.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.