The Pirates set their sights on Justin Duchscherer

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Dejan Kovacevic is reporting that the Pirates are interested in Justin Duchscherer, though they don’t know if they’d use him in a starting or a relief role.  Probably depends on the state of his surgically-repaired hip and elbow, not to mention his psyche.

My first impulse was to make some sort of “pitching for the Pirates is no cure for depression” joke, but in all seriousness, Pittsburgh may just be the right place for a guy struggling to rediscover his place in the word. Assuming he’s physically healthy, he’d be among the Bucs’ best pitchers and would likely be given a nice wide berth in which to find his groove.

Plus, no matter how crappy the team is, Pittsburgh is actually a nice town with some pretty country around it.  Not a bad place to restore one’s mojo.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.