Reds undecided on closer replacement for Ryan Madson

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As soon as news broke of Ryan Madson needing season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery the assumption was that the Reds would move setup man Sean Marshall into the closer role, but manager Dusty Baker apparently hasn’t made up his mind yet.

Baker told Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com that he’s “been getting that question from all my friends, family, and people in restaurants” but “we have to talk to the guys” because “you just don’t throw somebody in that role.”

Bill Bray, Nick Masset, and Aroldis Chapman are the other closer candidates, but Marshall is clearly the Reds’ best reliever and one of the best relievers in all of baseball, closer experience or not. In two seasons as a full-time reliever Marshall threw 150 innings with a 2.45 ERA and 169/42 K/BB ratio, holding opponents to a .222 batting average and just four homers. If that isn’t closer material, I don’t know what is.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?