Marco Estrada has served up an MLB-high 23 homers in 14 starts for the Brewers this season, putting him on pace to break the all-time record of 50 homers allowed by Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.
And yet manager Ron Roenicke gave him a vote of confidence yesterday, telling Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he hasn’t talked to general manager Doug Melvin about replacing Estrada in the rotation despite the presence of top prospect Jimmy Nelson at Triple-A.
Nelson has been dominant in the minors, posting a 1.51 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 78 innings, but Roenicke noted that Estrada’s next turn in the rotation comes up at Coors Field against the Rockies and that’s not necessarily a good spot to insert a young pitcher just promoted from Triple-A.
Still, between Estrada’s long-ball struggles and Nelson’s mid-90s-throwing upside the first-place Brewers appear very close to making a rotation switch.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.