For whatever reason manager Dusty Baker was hesitant to name Sean Marshall the Reds’ new closer after Ryan Madson went down, saying: “You just don’t throw somebody in that role.”
Marshall made it very clear that he wanted the job and his excellent performance during the past two seasons made it equally clear that he deserves the opportunity, and yesterday Baker finally relented.
Marshall, who’s been one of the elite setup men in baseball, will take over ninth-inning duties and Aroldis Chapman will be a setup man after plans for his potential move to the rotation were scrapped yesterday.
By this time next year there’s a good chance Marshall will be referred to as a “proven closer.”
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.