UPDATE: mixed word now on Bobby Jenks and the Rays

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UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal tweets that there is “heavy action” on Jenks, including the Rays, but that the Yankees and others have interest too. He says Jenks is not close to a decision yet, however.  In other news, I suppose all action on Bobby Jenks would be “heavy.”

10:12 PM: Marc Topkin says that the Rays and Jenks aren’t close to anything.  I’m assuming he got a denial from the team. My source stands by what he’s telling me. So I guess we wait this one out and see what happens, eh?

8: 58 PM: Bobby Jenks and the Tampa Bay Rays are talking as we speak, and a deal between the two of them could be done as early as tonight, a major league source tells me.  No word on the terms yet. No word on the meal per diem.

Jenks made $7.5 million in 2010 and was non-tendered by the White Sox because the guy is not deserving of a raise right now. His save total has dropped each of the last four seasons, he’s becoming more hittable than he used to be and his walk rate is up.  Over the past two seasons he has an ERA of 4.08. He’s good, but not great anymore. But with the Rays losing Rafael Soriano to free agency, someone has to close.

Absent a big bounce back year, the back end of the pen is yet another area in which the Rays will be worse in 2010 than 2011. But that go for anyone trying to fill the shoes of Soriano.  Jenks is a good signing for them if the money is reasonable. Which it probably is.

UPDATE:  Hadn’t seen this before but Tommy Rancel — who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Winter Meetings last week — had a post a couple of weeks ago over at Process Report talking about how nice a fit Jenks would be with the Rays.  I’m going to assume that the wise Rays front office read it because it would make me happy to think that they had.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.