Braves fans are arguing among ourselves a little bit. Not a ton, but a little. The argument: should Kris Medlen start the one-game wild card playoff for which the Braves seem destined or should Tim Hudson. I say “a little bit,” because almost everyone I talk to thinks it should be Medlen because the dude has been insane in the second half.
John Smoltz has another idea, though:
John Smoltz believes the Braves should take the gamble of going with one of their other starting pitchers in this must-win game. His belief is that the Braves would increase their odds of winning the best-of-five Division Series if they would have Medlen and Hudson available to pitch the first two games which would be played at Turner Field.
Maybe Smoltz is just subconsciously advocating for the third-best pitcher out of some leftover Maddux/Glavine issues.
Whatever the case, like Leo Durocher said: “You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.”
Pitch Medlen. You don’t win the NLDS until you get to the NLDS. And Medlen gives you the best chance to do that.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.