Cubs interested in trading for Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard

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The Cubs are one of a handful of clubs without a closer and it appears that they could turn to the trade market to fill the role.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs are eying deals for Nationals relievers Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard among other possibilities. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post confirms the report and adds that the Nationals are expected to listen on Storen.

Storen struggled as a set-up man this past season, posting a 4.52 ERA in 68 appearances while even spending some time in the minors. Meanwhile, Clippard was his usual dominant self, putting up a 2.41 ERA and 73/24 K/BB ratio over 71 innings. Both pitchers are due raises in arbitration this winter.

Kilgore categorizes the talks as “extremely early,” but sees outfielder Nate Schierholtz and left-hander James Russell as possible fits with Washington.

Red Sox to activate David Price for a Monday start

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Earlier today we talked about how David Price was knocked around in a minor league rehab start. Apparently he felt good while being knocked around because he’s going to make a start for the Red Sox on Monday afternoon against the White Sox.

Healthy is all that truly matters at this point, what with Drew Pomeranz struggling and Steven Wright out for the year. The Sox need someone to eat some innings at the moment. If it takes him a bit to get super sharp, well, so be it.

Games are slower, in part, because of pitcher velocity

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Recently, in the wake of Noah Syndergaard‘s injury, we talked about velocity and the maximal effort exerted by pitchers in throwing each pitch. We talked about how, simply as a matter of observation, pitchers seem to take longer between pitches, in part to maximize the energy available. About how we hear them talk about “executing pitches” all the time, with each of the 90-100 pitches they make each game being treated like an individual performance, each of which can be judged as successful or not.

Today at FiveThirtyEight, Rob Arthur puts some numbers to all of that and concludes, not surprisingly, that there is a pretty strong correlation between the dramatic uptick in velocity we’ve seen over the past decade or so and the length of games, which has grown longer over that time. Seems that, yep, pitchers are taking longer precisely because doing so gives them extra ticks on the radar gun.

Indeed, Arthur finds that for every additional second pitchers take between pitches, they throw about .02 miles per hour harder. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but as Arthur demonstrates, each little bit adds up. Those seconds, over 100-150 pitchers per team per game add up in time, obviously. And, based on past research Arthur cites regarding the correlation between pitcher velocity and pitcher effectiveness, those miles per hour add up in terms of team wins.

All of which adds some spice to the whole game length/game pace debate. We’d all like to see things move along more quickly, but doing so will likely impact player effectiveness, which will in turn make it harder to get teams and players to agree to measures designed to speed things up.