I’m hesitant to say that this is an instance of Chipper Jones “calling out” Jason Heyward, but that’s only because the Braves have such little history of anyone calling anyone out for anything, I’m not certain that I can recognize a true Braves “calling out” when I see it. But yeah, Chipper is pretty much calling Jason Heyward out here:
“What Jason needs to realize is that Jason at 80 percent is a force, and Jason at 80 percent is better than a lot of people in this league. And that there are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy, and still going at it.”
I may quibble a bit with Chipper here in that we have no evidence at all right now that Jason Heyward is capable of playing well when he’s hurting. Last year and this year, Heyward completely disappeared on offense when he was banged up. That is, when we knew he was banged up, which, either because he’s not forthcoming about injuries when they happen or the Braves are bad at diagnosing him, we’ve never really been sure about until things got really bad.
But Chipper’s point is not a bad one. Especially coming from a guy who knows a thing or a hundred about playing hurt. The Braves need Heyward’s bat now. Yesterday. If he’s truly at risk of injuring himself further, no, he shouldn’t be trying to play. But if it’s merely a comfort issue, Heyward needs to toughen up a bit and take his place in right field.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.