Corey Knebel
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Corey Knebel to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Last week, Brewers closer Corey Knebel elicited some concern when it was revealed that he was dealing with a UCL issue in his right elbow. Today, the news is worse: According to a personal pregame announcement, Knebel is set to miss the entire 2019 season after he undergoes Tommy John surgery next Wednesday.

Per MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, Knebel admitted that he had been dealing with lingering elbow soreness since 2014, right around the time that he was toiling in Triple-A Round Rock with the Rangers. He elected to undergo the procedure in hopes of returning to the ‘pen by 2020, though it’s still unclear whether or not he’ll be able to make a full recovery by that point.

The 27-year-old righty did not appear during the Brewers’ 5-4 season opener against the Cardinals on Thursday. He pitched just 5 2/3 innings in Cactus League competition, allowing two hits and two walks and striking out six of 20 batters faced. While he’s still two years removed from the career-high numbers he posted with Milwaukee in 2017, he turned in 16 saves with a serviceable 3.58 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 14.3 SO/9, and 1.0 fWAR through 55 1/3 frames in 2018.

The Brewers, meanwhile, have yet to announce an official replacement for Knebel at the back end of the bullpen. While both the Brewers and Braves have been continuously linked to free agent closer Craig Kimbrel this spring, it doesn’t look as if either team is particularly close to striking a deal with the right-hander just yet.

A ‘Mystery Team’ may be in on Gerrit Cole. What does that mean?

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“Mystery Team” is a term invented by Jon Heyman at the 2010 Winter Meetings in Florida. That’s when he published a rumor in Sports Illustrated that then-free agent pitcher Cliff Lee was being courted by “the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and a third mystery team.” He added — and I am not making this up — that “the mystery team remains a mystery and is also seen as a long shot.” That’s a heck of a line.

The whole “Mystery Team” thing was initially seen as a joke — and by some as Heyman trying to sound plugged in when he didn’t know anything — but he showed all of us when, the very next day, Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies who were, in fact, the “Mystery Team.”  With that a meme was born, and Heyman has owned it since then, mostly ironically, but certainly as a part of his personal brand. I’ve long been critical of Heyman for a lot of things, but the “mystery team” thing is kind of fun, actually. Takes some of the seriousness out of all of this. It’s certainly put his own stamp on his beat.

Welp, we got another one today:

I like to poke fun at the concept of “Mystery Team,” but given where the bidding is already, I don’t think that Cole needs a phony rumor of another bidder in order to inflate his market. He’s gonna make bank. As such, I’m willing to believe that there is, in fact, an unnamed team in the bidding.

I feel like we’ll find out soon.