Strasburg likely to begin season in minors

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According to the Washington Post, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman hinted Sunday that Stephen Strasburg is likely to begin the 2010 season in the minor leagues.

The 2009 No. 1 overall pick threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Sunday.  He delivered 37 pitches, mostly fastballs, and apparently looked pretty sharp.  But, no matter how great he may look this spring, the Nats want to respect the process.  
“I wouldn’t really want to say that he’s competing for a spot in the rotation,” Riggleman said shortly after the workout.  “I think we’re open-minded, but… he could pitch real well down here, but we still might feel like the development, the process is to be respected of going through the system and getting really used to the rigors of throwing every fifth day [in the minor leagues].”

Strasburg will get the call sooner than later, and perhaps right around the time Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder) is ready to contribute.  The arrival of that duo should make for a nice midseason boost in Washington.

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.