It was really the first weekend that actually felt like spring, at least from a baseball perspective. Yeah, the previous weekend was nice, but we were still getting a lot of rainouts and cold games. This weekend, no matter which game I turned to, it looked and felt like baseball. Ah.
- Roy Oswalt is on the DL. First chink in the Big Four’s armor? Apart from the fact that only Kyle Kendrick got a win in the Atlanta series?
- This item from Saturday about Jose Reyes was headlined “The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read Today.” I just read it again and it’s the dumbest thing you’ll read on Monday too.
- B.J. Upton got suspended because Joe West’s umpire crew is terrible.
- The Chase Utley shakedown cruise starts off well.
- Justin Verlander to the Blue Jays: “No, you cannot have hits. Not yours.” And he was still cooking with gas at the end of the game.
- Todd Wellemeyer retired. In five years he well be inducted to the Hall of Had A Pretty Good Half Season as a Swingman After Being Claimed Off Waivers By The Cardinals in 2007. It’s not a very big Hall, but the gift shop is pretty nice.
- The Julio Teheran Era did not start off quite as awesomely as one might have hoped.
- Andre Ethier fails to extend his hitting streak to 31. Vlad Guerrero, Ken Landreaux, Ron LeFlore, Rico Carty, Willie Davis, Vada Pinson, Sam Rice, Napoleon Lajoie, Ed Delahanty, and Jimmy Wolf continue their tradition of cracking open a bottle of champagne when yet another pretender fails to enter a tie for the 25th all-time longest hitting streak with them.
- Oh, and Joey Votto’s on-base streak ended at 33. No one cares about that one, though.
- The Red Sox call up Jose Iglesias. All leather, no bat at the moment.
- Tony La Russa has an awful eye infection thing and is going to have it examined at the Mayo Clinic. I hope he feels better soon. I also kind of hope that his course of treatment includes staying away from bullpen phones for 4 to 6 weeks.
- The number of reports about Derek Jeter which will use the hacky old “the reports of Derek Jeter’s death …” cliche this morning will be considerable.
- Mike Scioscia gets his 1000th victory. Sadly, none of the Angels’ runs in yesterday’s game came as the result of a squeeze play or a delayed double steal or good catching defense or anything all Mike Sciosciay like that.
And into the new week we plunge.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Blue Jays and right-hander Jesse Chavez had an arbitration hearing on Friday, with a decision expected today.
Chavez, who was acquired from the Athletics this offseason, requested $4 million and was offered $3.6 million by the Blue Jays when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. Toronto is known as a “file-and-trial” team, so they bring these cases to a hearing unless a multi-year deal can be reached. The three-person panel of arbitrators will choose one salary or the other.
Chavez, 32, posted a 4.18 ERA and 136/48 K/BB ratio in 157 innings across 26 starts and four relief appearances last season. He’s expected to compete for the fifth spot in Toronto’s rotation this spring.
After trading Ender Inciarte to the Braves as part of the Shelby Miller deal, Yasmany Tomas will go into 2016 as a regular in the Diamondbacks’ lineup. Signed to a six-year, $68.5 million contract in December of 2014, Tomas batted .273 with nine home runs and a .707 OPS over 426 plate appearances during his first season in the majors last year while struggling defensively between third base and right field. Third base is out as a possibility at this point, but the Diamondbacks are mulling over another defensive change for him.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Friday that the club has discussed moving Tomas to left field and David Peralta to right.
“We’re definitely talking about it,” Hale said. “(Outfield coach) Dave McKay and I, (General Manager Dave Stewart) and (Chief Baseball Officer) Tony (La Russa), we think it might be best to switch them around.”
When the third base experiment flopped, the Diamondbacks put Tomas in right because they felt he would be the most comfortable there. The metrics weren’t kind to him. He’ll now have a full spring training to work on things if the club decides to make a change. Peralta isn’t the defender that Inciarte was, but he’s better than Tomas, so it’s understandable why the Diamondbacks would change their alignment.
Tomas is likely to be a liability no matter where he plays, but the Diamondbacks won’t mind as much if his bat begins to meet expectations. For a team with designs on the postseason, he’s a big key for this lineup.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.
Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.
Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.
Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.
The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.