Nolan Ryan used to be the Texas Rangers’ “control person.” Now it’s Ray Davis, who was ratified as such by the owners and Bud Selig today down at the owners’ meetings in Orlando.
Not that that means he really controls the Rangers the way we normally think of that term. It just means that he is the person who is accountable to Major League Baseball for the operation of the Club and for the Club’s compliance with the rules of Baseball. The guy Bud calls on the carpet if things are bad and the guy who gets to appear at celebratory press conferences if things are good.
Sometimes the control person actually runs the team. Sometimes he’s just the face while more anonymous monied interests retain control a la a board of directors or something. The Rangers are like that. The Giants are too. So don’t necessarily get used to stories about “Ray Davis calling the shots in Texas.”
And that’s the case even if people liked to pretend that Nolan Ryan did that when he was the control person before Davis.
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.