After the Reds signed Ryan Madson last week, Francisco Cordero was forced to turn his attention to a free agent market without many obvious places to close ballgames. The Orioles were mentioned as a possibility on Monday, but it’s hard to see why adding a late-game reliever should be a priority for them, especially when they already have last offseason’s big mistake Kevin Gregg under contract $5.8 million in 2012.
While Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has downplayed his interest in adding a reliever, passing over the opportunity to make a play for Madson, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com hears that they are indeed in the market for another late-game option and have shown interest in Cordero.
Cordero, who turns 37 in May, posted a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves over 68 relief appearances last season with the Reds. However, he also averaged just 5.4 K/9 and saw his fastball velocity dip to a career-low 93 mph.
Jordan Walden currently projects as the Angels’ closer this season after posting a 2.98 ERA, 32 saves and a 67/26 K/BB ratio over 60 1/3 innings during his rookie season. Of course, he also led the American League with 10 blown saves. While Cordero is obviously on the decline, he could present an alternative should Walden struggle during his sophomore campaign. And given how the market for Cordero has completely collapsed, the Angels likely wouldn’t have to spend much to sign him.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.