HBT Weekend Wrapup

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The trade deadline was redonkulous — we here at HBT had over 100 posts between Friday and Saturday — but you can at least begin to scratch the surface by checking out a handy dandy rundown of all the deals as well as our take on the deadline’s winners and losers.

Beyond trade deadline insanity:

  • What they’re saying about the Lance Berkman trade. You’ll be shocked to learn that Lupica is angry that the Yankees didn’t make a deal that would be easier for him to write about.
  • Alex Rodriguez got a day off from the chase for home run number 600 (well, he pinch hit). I continue to find it delicious that New York writers who did nothing but complain about A-Rod’s alleged me-first attitude for years are now growing increasingly annoyed that A-Rod has not achieved a purely personal statistical milestone as fast as they’d like him to.
  • 400 career stolen bases for Carl Crawford. His more valuable contribution to society: he’ll one day be the guy that those filming documentaries about the Tampa Bay Rays dynasty go to in order to talk about the “Devil Rays” era.
  • History is not on the Red Sox’ side. Which, if form holds, will just be the latest excuse Red Sox fans will use to justify launching into their patented “nobody believes in us” claptrap.

And now, without further ado, let us begin the week.

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

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For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The Rangers signed Matt Davidson earlier this month and could potentially use him as a corner infielder as well as a reliever. Also earlier this month, James Loney signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, who plan to use him as both a first baseman and as a pitcher.

You can add Michael Lorenzen of the Reds to that list. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will have Lorenzen prepare this spring as a two-way player. He could both start and relieve while occasionally playing in the outfield. Lorenzen, in fact, took batting practice with the outfielders on Thursday. Previously, he had taken batting practice as extra work following a workout with fellow pitchers.

Lorenzen said, “It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in. A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

New manager David Bell said, “We’ve put together a plan for the whole spring, knowing we can adjust it at any time. We didn’t want to go into each day not knowing what he’s going to do. We all felt better, he did, too. He was part of putting it together.”

Lorenzen, 27, pitched 81 innings last year with a 3.11 ERA and a 54/34 K/BB ratio. He’s one of baseball’s best-hitting pitchers as well. Last year, he swatted four homers and knocked in 10 runs in 34 trips to the plate. The last pitcher to hit at least four homers in a season was the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who did it in both 2014 (four) and 2015 (five). Lorenzen also posted a 1.043 OPS. According to Baseball Reference, there have been only 11 pitchers to OPS over 1.000 (min. 30 PA). The only ones to do it in the 2000’s are Lorenzen last year, Micah Owings in 2007 (1.033) and Dontrelle Willis in 2011 (1.032).