Orioles sign Alexi Casilla to a minor league deal

1 Comment

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have signed middle infielder Alexi Casilla to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Casilla spent the 2013 season with the Orioles after they selected him off of waivers from the Twins in November 2012. In 125 plate appearances, Casilla posted a paltry .563 OPS but stole nine bases in 11 attempts and played above-average defense at second base.

Casilla suffered a concussion at the end of the 2013 season in Tampa when he collided with right fielder Nick Markakis. The Orioles declined their option on him back in November, but decided to bring him back on a low-risk deal. In the event Casilla makes the roster, he gives the Orioles middle-infield depth, particularly in the event they decide to trade shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

Chris Coduto/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.