Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post interviewed Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty about a variety of topics today, including the idea that Edwin Jackson has been tipping his pitches for years now.
McCatty reviewed video of Jackson’s starts and thinks he was letting batters know what was coming out of the windup:
These guys are so good, they look at every single thing. Hitting coaches are looking at every guy on video. You pick up on stuff. It’s simple as not laying your hands down on a slider or fastball or changeup. Once these guys see it, it makes a big difference.
Most pitchers are better working from the windup with no runners on base, but the opposite has been true for Jackson during the past three seasons. Kilgore notes that he held opponents to a .246 batting average and .693 OPS out of the stretch, compared to a .283 batting average and .782 OPS out of the windup.
Whether or not that actually means he was tipping pitches on a regular basis and is capable of significant improvement if McCatty helps him fix that is obviously unclear, but it at least provides some reason to think Jackson has more upside than he’s shown.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.