Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron takes an extended look at the question I briefly touched on on Saturday: what position should Jesus Montero play now that he’s a Seattle Mariner?
My quick view, based on the roster more than anything else, was that Montero should at least be given a shot to catch to see how he does and see if he can be made serviceable. Dave’s view: that if Montero can avoid being the worst catcher in baseball, it’s probably worth a shot, citing Mike Napoli as a success story. With success being defined as “no, he’s not great, but his bat at catcher outweighs his defensive shortcomings.”
Of course, there’s an in-depth statistical analysis of all of this which, even if you don’t care about the stats themselves of about Montero or the Mariners, provide a nice walk though all of the ways catchers’ defense matters. It’s not just about throwing out base stealers.
And while we’re on the subject, let me promote myself by noting that I will be on NBC SportsTalk on the NBC Sports Network tonight at around 6:50 Eastern to discuss the Montero-Michael Pineda trade. You should totally watch: I’m sneaky-handsome.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.
Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.
Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.