Mark DeRosa

Mark DeRosa joins MLB Network as a studio analyst

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When news of Mark DeRosa’s retirement came down yesterday my first thought, and the thought of many others, was that DeRosa was going to be a TV or radio analyst pretty darn quick. And it was quick. Less than 24 hours, in fact:

MLB Network today announced that after a 16-year career, Mark DeRosa has joined its roster of on-air talent as a studio analyst. DeRosa, who served as a guest analyst on MLB Network during the 2013 and 2011 Postseasons, will appear across MLB Network’s studio programming and make his debut on MLB Tonight on Monday, December 9, live from the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

I think DeRosa will be pretty good at that job. Based on interviews and things you can tell he’s smart and he’s often funny and that goes a long, long way. So: nice hire.

But then I look farther down the press release and I see this:

DeRosa joins former Major Leaguers Eric Byrnes, Sean Casey, Joey Cora, Ron Darling, Cliff Floyd, Darryl Hamilton, John Hart, Jim Kaat, Al Leiter, Mike Lowell, Joe Magrane, Jerry Manuel, Kevin Millar, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Billy Ripken, John SmoltzDave Valle and Mitch Williams as analysts at MLB Network.

That makes DeRosa the 19th former big leaguer currently working as an MLB Network analyst, plus former GM John Hart.  Call me crazy, but I feel like they’ve got the ex-player angle covered, don’t you? I mean, I think ex-ballplayers can have some good insight, but 19 of them? Especially when most of them are exceedingly averse from criticizing current baseball players as a matter of disposition? I feel like they should have more ex-coaches. Some scouts. More front office types. More statistical analysts (or at least people who are comfortable discussing statistical concepts). It just seems way too ex-player-heavy to me.

So, yes: I love the DeRosa hire. But in the interests of roster balance can’t we DFA someone here? Mitch Williams? Kevin Millar? Harold Reynolds? Because I feel like we have the ex-ballplayer thing pretty well covered at this point.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

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.