CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles have expressed interest in acquiring corner outfielder Jason Kubel from the Diamondbacks but are “disinclined” at this point to meet Arizona’s demands, which center around young pitching.
The D’Backs have an overly crowded outfield and are currently shopping both Kubel and Justin Upton.
Upton has drawn serious attention from multiple teams — including the Padres, Rangers, Mariners and Braves — and would obviously fetch a far better return package than Kubel. The younger brother of B.J. Upton has hit .284/.363/.481 with 48 homers, 155 RBI and 39 stolen bases over the past two seasons.
He’s owed a total of $38.5 million in salary through the 2015 campaign.
Kubel, 30, batted .253/.327/.506 with 30 home runs and 90 RBI in 2012. He signed a two-year, $16 million free agent contract with the Snakes last winter. That deal also includes a $7.5 million club option for 2014.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.