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Rick Kranitz named Braves new pitching coach

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The Braves have named Rick Kranitz as their new pitching coach. Krantiz was recently let go as the pitching coach of the Phillies in an oddly-timed move that raised some eyebrows. The Braves, meanwhile, fired their pitching coach, Chuck Hernandez, just after the season ended.

Atlanta has a number of near-ready starting pitchers who are likely to break into the majors in 2019. It’s always hard to determine what, exactly, makes a good pitching coach, but Krantiz was given a good degree of credit for the emergence Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin in Philly, and the Braves no doubt hope he can help matters in Atlanta.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.