Craig Kimbrel is messing with a changeup

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Braves closer Craig Kimbrel throws ungodly heat and has a slider that makes hitters look positively dumb. Your mileage may vary between him and Aroldis Chapman as the most dominant closers in the game, but it’s safe to say that what he has done to the opposition over the past couple of years seems pretty unfair sometimes.

Which makes this seem positively obscene:

Melvin Upton Jr. looked at almost every Kimbrel pitch without swinging, not an uncommon approach when facing Kimbrel on Day 1. Meanwhile, Braves newcomer Jonny Gomes swung at some Kimbrel offerings and missed a few, including one that appeared to be a … changeup? From Kimbrel? The guy with high-90s fastball and devastating slider?

Fredi Gonzalez speculates that Kimbrel is just messing with it and isn’t sure how often he’ll use the changeup in actual games. And Mark Bowman of MLB.com just tweeted that Kimbrel has experimented with changeups in spring training in the past (I don’t remember this, but I don’t really pay attention to spring training experiments either). But boy howdy, if Kimbrel does use a changeup and if it’s even halfway decent, he should be prosecuted for war crimes.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.