The Dodgers have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
We haven’t heard much from “Sweaty Freddy” recently. The 38-year-old pitched in Taiwan with the EDA Rhinos last season after he failed to make the Braves out of spring training. He had a 4.37 ERA and 46/17 K/BB ratio over 80 1/3 innings between the Orioles and Braves in 2013 and also spent some time in Triple-A.
Joe Wieland is expected to begin the season in the Dodgers’ rotation while Hyun-Jin Ryu rests a shoulder injury, so Garcia figures to serve as veteran depth in Triple-A.
With Christian Vazquez potentially facing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, many have speculated that the situation will speed up the timeline of top prospect catcher Blake Swihart. That might still be the case, but the Red Sox acquired Sandy Leon from the Nationals earlier today and manager John Farrell indicated to Ian Browne of MLB.com that Swihart will likely begin the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.
“The view is that, with a young player like Blake, we’d prefer to get them on a little bit of a roll at the Minor League level before they come to us,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “There’s also a need to continue to refine the receiving side of things. He’s had quite a bit of opportunity here in camp. He’s shown well.
“Just in the big picture, I think we can probably all benefit by playing every day and continuing to work on the areas, the developmental areas that are there.”
Swihart is widely regarded as the top catching prospect in the game, but he’s just turning 23 this week and has only played 18 games above Double-A. This isn’t a service time situation like with Kris Bryant and the Cubs. It just makes sense to give him some more time in the minors.
Ryan Hanigan and Leon figure to handle catching duties in the early part of the season, but Swihart could force a call-up if gets off to a good start.
This day has mostly been about who will not be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, but it was announced this evening that veteran reliever Phil Coke has earned a spot on the team.
Coke, a non-roster invitee this spring, has been unscored upon in nine Cactus League appearances while posting a 6/2 K/BB ratio over 8 1/3 innings. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com notes that he will receive a $2.25 million base salary now that he has made the team.
Coke is coming off a 3.88 ERA and 41/20 K/BB ratio in 58 innings over 62 appearances last season with Detroit. He has held left-handed batters to a .243/.297/.352 batting line in the majors and will likely be used in a specialist role with Chicago.
In a decision that was all but inevitable after news of Jaime Garcia’s renewed shoulder issues, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this afternoon that right-hander Carlos Martinez has won the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
Things likely would have turned out differently if Garcia was healthy, but Martinez earned the opportunity after posting a 3.94 ERA and 16/5 K/BB ratio across 16 innings during Grapefruit League action. The 23-year-old owns a mediocre 4.28 ERA through his first 117 2/3 innings in the big leagues and has had some issues putting away left-handed batters, but it’s hard to bet against his raw stuff.
Matheny ultimately chose Martinez over prospect left-hander Marco Gonzales, who will now head back to Triple-A. The 2013 first-round pick struggled with his control in his first taste of the majors last season, but it was a small sample and he owns a 2.48 ERA in the minors. He should get another shot soon.
According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale announced today that right-handers Trevor Cahill and Chase Anderson have claimed the final two spots in the starting rotation. They’ll join Opening Day starter Josh Collmenter as well as offseason acquisitions Jeremy Hellickson and Rubby De La Rosa.
Daniel Hudson, who has missed much of the last three seasons with two Tommy John surgeries, was in the the mix for a rotation spot this spring and has compiled a 4.22 ERA and 8/4 K/BB ratio over 10 2/3 innings while showing good velocity. However, his workload would be limited as a starter and Hudson told Gilbert that the decision to move him to the bullpen was a “mutual” one.
Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA and 105/40 K/BB ratio in 114 1/3 innings across 21 starts as a rookie last season. Cahill had a rough 5.61 ERA across 17 starts and 14 relief appearances last season, but he’s still owed $12 million this season and has changed his mechanics in hopes of better results.
While this is the rotation the D-Backs will go with to begin the season, it should have a very different look as the year moves along. Arms like Randall Delgado, Allen Webster, and Vidal Nuno linger as alternatives. Archie Bradley is under consideration for the final bullpen spot with the big club, but he’s likely to head back to Triple-A to pitch as a starter in hopes of making an impact in the rotation this season. Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo are in rehab mode from Tommy John surgery and could be ready to rejoin Arizona’s rotation around midseason.
Read more about the Diamondbacks in my 2015 season preview.