As we noted over the weekend, the Braves will have a starting pitcher glut when Brandon Beachy comes back from Tommy John surgery in the next week or so. But as Dave O’Brien reports, the one guy in the rotation with bullpen experience — Kris Medlen — is not at all interested in moving back to the pen:
“I’ll let it be known that I don’t want to go down there (to the bullpen),” Medlen said. “I don’t. At all. But it’s out of my hands. I mean, if it happens, obviously it happens. I’m a team player.”
Well, I suppose a true team player would make that objection a private thing rather than tell it to a reporter, but OK.
I think that, unless the Braves want to ease Beachy into things with some bullpen time — something of which there has been no indication whatsoever — you have to move Medlen to the pen for a bit. For one thing, he was doing it a year ago. For another, it’s worth mentioning that he only pitched 130 or so innings last year and if he keeps on his current pace as a starter he’ll be way over 200. Maybe this would be good for him.
No matter the case, I can’t remember a team who has been reported to have too many viable starting pitchers ever truly suffer for having too many. I can remember a lot of teams described that way who, when it was all said and done, needed every last one of those allegedly surplus arms.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.