As expected the Phillies offered arbitration to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson, but surprisingly they also did the same with Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez is 39 years old and was paid $12 million this season to hit just .245 with a .289 on-base percentage and .419 slugging percentage in 144 games, which along with sub par defense in left field made him one of the worst regulars in the league.
He seems highly unlikely to get a multi-year offer on the open market, in which case accepting the Phillies’ arbitration offer and locking them into a one-year deal for a significant salary would seem like a no-brainer for Ibanez.
However, it’s possible that the Type B free agent has some sort of agreement with the Phillies to decline the arbitration offer as a favor and basically give them a free draft pick (assuming he signs elsewhere). If not, then the decision by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just doesn’t make any sense.
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.