Tag: Alex Gonzalez

lombardozzi getty

Pirates acquire Steve Lombardozzi from the Orioles


As first reported by MASN’s Roch Kubatko, the Pirates have acquired utilityman Steve Lombardozzi from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations. Lombardozzi has been extended an invitation to major league spring training, where he will attempt to win a spot on the Pirates’ Opening Day roster.

Lombardozzi has played all around the diamond defensively and he is only 26 years old, but the former 19th-round pick of the Nationals owns a weak .266/.297/.341 career batting line through 829 plate appearances at the major league level. Washington dealt him to Detroit in the Doug Fister trade back in December 2013.

He was then moved to the O’s in March 2014 for veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

Jose Iglesias should be ready for spring training

Jose Iglesias Getty

The Tigers were dealt a big blow last spring when their starting shortstop, Jose Iglesias, went down with fractures in both of his shins. But according to GM Dave Dombrowski, he should be OK come February:

Iglesias is ramping up his baseball activity, president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said during the team’s end-of-the-season news conference Tuesday.

“The doctors tell me he’ll be fine,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going to be ready for spring training, he’s going to be ready to go, and he’s over all of his (injuries).”

Dombrowski is cautious in his assessment, however, likely remembering that last winter the thought was that Iglesias merely had shin splits and that he’d be fine with a few days off.

Either way, Iglesias going down led the Tigers to make constant adjustments at short, from Alex Gonzalez to Andrew Romine to Eugenio Suarez. Getting Iglesias back for 2015 would be like adding a top free agent for free.

Dave Dombrowski may not be telling the truth about something

Doug Fister AP

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski held a press conference this afternoon. No real news or anything, just an end-of-season wrap. One question was about last winter’s trade of starter Doug Fister to the Nationals. His response:

I suppose it’s possible that Fister is a big jerk no one likes and thus trading him away for scrap and watching him put up a 16-6 record with a 2.41 ERA with the Nationals is no big thing. That trading away one of the guys you got for him — Steve Lombardozzi — for Alex Gonzalez in March (who was subsequently cut) while another, Ian Kroll put up an ERA of nearly 5.00 out of your bullpen and the third, Robbie Ray, was beat up pretty good in the majors and the minors is not particularly bothersome.

But I sort of feel like maybe, just maybe, Dombrowski would take a do-over on that one.

I think the Tigers have solved their shortstop problem

Eugenio Suarez

Their bullpen is still a hot mess, but the Tigers have finally figured out how to live in a post-Jose Iglesias world. After misfiring with Alex Gonzalez and getting way, way less-than-replacement offensive value from Andrew Romine, Eugenio Suarez has been exactly what the doctor ordered.

Suarez went 3 for 4 with two RBI and three runs scored in the Tigers’ 12-9 win over the Twins this afternoon.
He hit a solo homer and RBI double in the Tigers’ seven-run third inning, walked in the fifth inning, and then tripled to right field in the seventh.

So far Suarez is hitting .400/.500/1.000 with three home runs, and eight runs scored through his first eight major league games. Obviously that will fall way the heck off, but in a stretch where so much has gone wrong for the Tigers, they have to be happy something is going right.

Inside Ned Yost’s head on odd use of closer Greg Holland

Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros

Scene 1: March 31, 2014. Opening Day. The Royals and Tigers took a 3-3 tie into the bottom of the ninth inning in Detroit. Reliever Wade Davis put runners on first and third with one out with a walk and a single. Royals manager Ned Yost brought in closer Greg Holland — with the game tied on the road — to wiggle out of the jam. Instead, Holland served up a walk-off RBI single to then-Tigers shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

Scene 2: April 26, 2014. The Royals and Orioles took a 2-2 tie into the bottom of the tenth inning in Baltimore. Reliever Danny Duffy loaded the bases following a hit batter and two throwing errors on bunts. Though Holland had been warming up, Yost brought in Louis Coleman. Coleman recorded a strikeout before serving up a walk-off RBI single to first baseman Nick Markakis.

Scene 3: April 27, 2014. The Royals lead the Orioles 9-2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning in Baltimore. Yost brought in Holland to protect the seven-run lead. Ostensibly, Yost was giving his closer work because he hadn’t pitched since Friday. Though Holland allowed a run, the Royals walked away with the easy 9-3 victory.

The folly of Yost’s bullpen management is obvious to most observers but Yost vowed to never use his closer in a tie game on the road again. Via Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star:

“That’s the first time I’ve ever used my closer (in that situation),” Yost said. “Because I really wanted to win that game on opening day. But don’t look for me to do it. I’m not going to do it. Because I’ve got confidence in everybody down there.”

The Royals may never take that lead for which Yost is saving Holland. That means, as is evident from the April 26 game, the Royals will lose games with their best reliever sitting in the bullpen. But Yost’s comment is perplexing even beyond the obvious strategic shortcomings.

Yost says he “really wanted to win” on Opening Day, so he used his closer. Thus, by his own logic, using his closer in a tie game on the road gave his team the best chance to win. That he didn’t do it on April 26 means he was either lying or not putting his team in the best position to win. Either situation is not a good look for him.

As many point out when the bullpen management debate arises, Yost is just one of a gaggle of managers who use — and miuse — their closers in the same way. It’s hard to place all of the blame on him when 99 out of 100 managers would do exactly the same thing in his position.