For as much fun as it has been to see the Braves continue to win baseball games with a lineup that shouldn’t, by all that is right and fair in the world, be able to hit its way out of a paper bag, getting Martin Prado back has to be high on Fredi Gonzalez’s list of things that need to happen. His return is closer now, as it appears as though he’ll begin a rehab assignment tomorrow.
Prado has said he wants to come back for the big series against Philly this weekend, but he also said that he thinks he needs about 60 at bats in order to get his swing back in order, and that won’t happen in just a couple of AAA games. Seems like the better bet is to let him cruise through the weekend with Gwinnett, rest for the All-Star break and the rejoin the Bravos next Friday when the Nats come to Atlanta to open up the second half.
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.