Brewers sign shortstop Alex Gonzalez to one-year contract

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Milwaukee’s search for a shortstop is apparently over, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Brewers are close to signing Alex Gonzalez to a one-year deal with a vesting option for 2013.

That takes the Brewers completely out of the mix for Jimmy Rollins, who seemingly is now choosing between re-signing with the Phillies and replacing Rafael Furcal with the Cardinals.

As for Gonzalez … he’s 35 years old and coming off a terrible season at the plate, but when you just finished watching Yuniesky Betancourt for an entire season just about anything probably seems like a big shortstop upgrade.

Gonzalez is actually one of two active hitters with 3,500 plate appearances and a worse career on-base percentage than Betancourt, with the major difference being that his defense has been good enough to live with the extreme out-making most years. That may no longer be true at age 35–his defensive numbers slipped significantly–and despite smacking 15 homers Gonzalez was brutal at the plate this season, hitting .241 with a .642 OPS and 126 strikeouts versus just 22 walks in 149 games.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”