Colorado claimed Wandy Rodriguez and his contract off waivers yesterday, which should make it awfully weird when he takes the mound at Coors Field this afternoon to face the Rockies. Assuming they don’t work out a trade with the Astros by then, of course.
Rodriguez is scheduled to face Aaron Cook about 20 hours before tomorrow’s noon deadline to complete a deal. If the two sides can’t agree to terms, Rodriguez will be pulled back off waivers and remain in Houston.
When asked about the weird situation Rodriguez called it “hard” and “bad” and generally just seemed uneasy about facing the team he may soon be joining. As for the likelihood of a deal being reached, Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros aren’t willing to simply let the Rockies take Rodriguez and his contract off their hands “without receiving what the team considers significant talent in return.”
I wrote yesterday that Rodriguez is underrated, because he’s consistently been a top-25 starter and his contract isn’t as huge as some might suggest, but the odds of Houston clearing his salary off the books and getting “significant talent” seems very slim. Of course, as Campbell notes they may decide to wait until the offseason when it’s possible to negotiate with 29 teams instead of one team.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.