Same rules as yesterday’s American League list.
I’m listing the player most responsible for the position’s poor OPS along with the team.
Rockies 3B – 405 (Jose Lopez)
Padres 1B – 478 (Brad Hawpe)
Dodgers 1B – 508 (James Loney)
Pirates SS – 515 (Ronny Cedeno)
Marlins SS – 541 (Hanley Ramirez)
Padres SS – 550 (Jason Bartlett)
Nationals CF – 551 (Rick Ankiel)
Dodgers LF – 568 (Tony Gwynn Jr.)
Astros 2B – 571 (Bill Hall)
Phillies 2B – 573 (Wilson Valdez)
Mets CF – 580 (Angel Pagan)
Marlins 2B – 584 (Omar Infante)
Pirates 3B – 584 (Pedro Alvarez)
Giants 1B – 585 (Aubrey Huff)
Reds 3B – 594 (Scott Rolen)
Dodgers SS – 596 (Jamey Carroll)
Nationals 1B – 597 (Adam LaRoche)
Brewers 3B – 597 (Casey McGehee)
Brewers CF – 598 (Carlos Gomez)
Mets 2B – 603 (Brad Emaus)
D-backs 2B – 613 (Kelly Johnson)
Phillies C – 614 (Carlos Ruiz)
Pirates 1B – 615 (Lyle Overbay)
Brewers RF – 617 (Mark Kotsay)
Phillies LF – 628 (Raul Ibanez)
Padres RF – 633 (Will Venable)
Nationals SS – 636 (Ian Desmond)
Cubs 1B – 636 (Carlos Pena)
Giants SS – 644 (Miguel Tejada)
Dodgers C – 646 (Rod Barajas)
Brewers SS – 646 (Yuniesky Betancourt)
– Astros pitchers currently top all of the above positions with a 650 OPS.
– No Braves or Cardinals on the list.
– The Brewers are the extreme all-or-nothing team here. They’re getting a 1054 OPS from left field, a 967 OPS from first base and a 922 OPS from second base. Their next best is a 652 OPS from catcher.
– It’s pretty incredible to see six first base situations on the list and only two catchers. So far this season, NL catchers have a 747 OPS, while first basemen are at 748. Last year, NL catchers came in at 713, compared to 813 for first basemen. In 2009, it was 710 for catchers and 859 for first basemen.
In the American League this year, catchers are at 671, while first basemen are at 802.
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.