Indians hurler Zach McAllister has impressed manager Terry Francona enough to win one of the rotation spots in the back of the rotation. Via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian:
Francona informed McAllister that he will be a member of Cleveland’s Opening Day rotation, most likely sliding into the fourth slot behind Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has maintained all spring that McAllister had a leg up for one of two available jobs, but it is now official.
McAllister posted a 4.24 ERA in 125.1 innings last season, displaying an ability to miss bats at the Major League level while limiting walks. He relies mostly on a fastball and curve combination as the two combined for 85 percent of his pitches thrown last season, but will occasionally mix in a change-up.
“There’s nothing we don’t like. I’m being serious. He has a presence and he’s got leadership qualities,” Francona said, speaking about what he liked about his 25-year-old pitcher.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.