ugueth urbina

Ugueth Urbina is out of prison — and allegedly throwing 90

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Roy Hobbs said that some mistakes you never stop paying for. He apparently wasn’t talking about attacking the help with a machete and pouring gasoline on them, because you do stop paying for that. After about seven years or so:

That tweet is from for major league pitcher Ugueth Urbina’s son Juan Urbina standing with Ugueth himself. The son is saying “Finally with my father!” Juan Urbina, by the way, is a 19 year-old pitcher in the Mets’ system.

This courtesy of our friend Nick Collias, who tells me that Venezuelan newspapers are reporting that Urbina is out of jail after serving a little over seven years for attempted murder. Urbina was sentenced to 14 years, but no one is quite sure why he was released early.

Urbina pitched from 1995 through 2005 with the Expos, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Phillies and Marlins. He twice saved 40 games or more and was still an effective pitcher, aged 31, at the time of his arrest and incarceration. He turns 39 in February, but unless the Venezuelan prison system has an intense baseball program, we probably won’t be hearing from him again in the majors.

UPDATE: NOT SO FAST! Nick Collias updates us:

Alexander Mendoza at El Nacional reported this morning that Urbina’s fastball was still touching 90 while he was playing in the pen in Venezuela. Juan Vicente Zerpa, the general manager of the Leones de Escogido (Urbina’s old haunt in the winter leagues) said after welcoming Urbina back to society, “I heard that he’s going to come to the park and we’re going to have a conversation.” Kind of ominous-sounding, no? If this were a Scorcese movie, I’d be wary.

So it would seem that all of your “heh, the Marlins are gonna sign him now” jokes may not be so funny after all!

Just kidding, they’ll still be hilarious.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.