Joel Hanrahan has been a quality closer for the Pirates for the past two seasons, but he’s about to get another raise in arbitration and can become a free agent next offseason. With that in mind, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the Pirates are currently trying to gauge his trade value.
Hanrahan is coming off an odd season in which he posted a 2.72 ERA, 36 saves and a 67 strikeouts over 59 2/3 innings, but he also averaged 5.4 BB/9, up from 2.7 BB/9 over the previous two seasons. The 31-year-old right-hander made $4.1 million in 2012 and will likely see his salary rise to the $6-7 million range next season.
Capuano would be a nice addition to the Pirates’ rotation, as he has a solid 4.12 ERA over the past two seasons, but he’s also set to become a free agent after 2013. You’d like to think the Pirates could get more for Hanrahan, or at least someone who could contribute beyond next season. Signing Russell Martin and dealing Hanrahan would send mixed messages to the fanbase, so I doubt this would be a real possibility unless the Pirates are able to bring back Jason Grilli, who FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday is drawing some interest as a closer.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.