Dave Brown of Yahoo! Sports just posted an intriguing interview with Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy. They talk about everything from the right-hander’s experience getting hit by a line drive, his tweeting, the trade that sent him to Oakland, as well as his familiarity with some advanced stats.
His thoughts on some traditional stats, pitcher wins and RBI, caught my attention:
DB:xFIP and WAR are great, but don’t pitchers need wins to take to arbitration?
BM: Yeah, that’s the worst part about wins. It’s the same with RBIs. They are the two numbers that truly get you paid. It’s absurd. But you become conditioned to having to think about it. In the minor leagues, I don’t think organizations push it, but you get built on that because that’s what you grow up with. And then when you should be getting to a point when you realize it’s a worthless stat, now you realize that your entire financial future depends on it, that stupid number, an arbitrary cutoff point.
McCarthy is one of a very short list of players who have publicly shown an interest in Sabermetrics. Zack Greinke is another, as he utilized stats to help him win the 2009 AL Cy Young award. It is nice to hear, every now and then, that a player has taken an active role in furthering his understanding of the game.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.