Friday, February 24, 2012

2/24 Morning Buzz: Ryan Braun, Mike Minor, Roy Oswalt

Top Story:
Ryan Braun will not be suspended 50 games. Braun's statement can be found here. MLB "vehemently disagrees" with the decision, naturally. And here is the best explanation I found about the news. And here is the best opinion I found on MLB's reaction.

Braves Bits:
AJC - Mike Minor feels he should either be in Atlanta's rotation or not in the organization. I would like to think his words were out of context or he was put on the spot or however it usually goes. It's not good practice for a young player to make such comments, even if they are true.
Talking Chop - John Smoltz To Release Autobiography.

MLB News:
MLB - Roy Oswalt will sit out the first half of the season and remain ready. You're not THAT valuable, Roy.
Dodgers - Claimed Matt Angle off waivers from the Orioles. Also, Rubby De La Rosa was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Angle.
Dodgers - Joe Torre's group withdrew from bidding.

MLB Bits:
MLB - Elijah Dukes was arrested again. The guy was trying to eat a bag of pot.
Yankees - The Yankees and Russell Martin was discussing a three-year extension.
Padres - The Padres and Cameron Maybin are discussing an extension.
Nationals - The Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman continue to discuss an extension. However, they face a Saturday deadline.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2/23 Morning Buzz: Michael Bourn, Roy Oswalt, Ichiro

Top Story:
No extension talks for Michael Bourn yet. I made the case for extending Bourn last week. Here's to hoping something can get done at some point.

Braves Bits: - Via the link above, Bowman notes Tommy Hanson will rest over the weekend from his concussion suffered during a car accident on Monday. Also, Fredi Gonzalez backtracked on his comments regarding either Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado starting the season in the Braves bullpen.

MLB News:
Angels - Signed Jason Isringhausen to a minor league deal.
Yankees - Signed David Aardsma to a one-year deal with a club option for 2013. It's basically an addition for the stretch run.
Blue Jays - Signed Rick Vandenhurk to a split contract.

MLB Bits:
MLB - Roy Oswalt could make a decision as soon as today.
MLB - Edgar Renteria won't play in 2012 and could retire. I've always been a huge fan of Renteria and it will be a sad day for me when it becomes official.
Dodgers - Clayton Kershaw's first pen was delayed by a tight back.
Indians - Jon Garland is no longer an option for the Indians. It appears he isn't ready to return from rehabbing his shoulder yet.
Rays - Ben Zobrist: The Guy We Should Have Predicted.
Cubs/Red Sox - Cubs Fan Buys Red Sox Spring Park Domain Name.
Mariners - Ichiro's new swing. For the first time in his life, Ichiro has a load in his swing, and his lower half is sound. I see more power coming from this swing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Should Kris Medlen Get A Shot At Starting In April?

A lot of uncertainty surrounds a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery. As past victims have told it, it's about regaining a feel for the ball. As analysts have shown it, walk rates sometimes come into the picture as the pitcher struggles to regain control.

Therefore, penciling in Kris Medlen for anything more than a relief role could be risky. But to me, Medlen is the best choice to fill in for Tim Hudson until Hudson returns from back surgery in late April or early May.

One, Medlen has been there. I know Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado have major league innings, but Medlen threw 107.2 innings in 2010 and was very effective, recording a 3.68 ERA, 3.78 FIP and 3.49 xFIP. His walk rate was a VERY good 4.8%, and he had a solid mix of 19 K% and 42.9 GB%.

Medlen's strength has always been control, evident by a 5.5% walk rate in 120.1 innings at Double-A at 22 years old. So regaining a feel for the strike zone is perhaps more important to Medlen than for a pitcher who might rely on better stuff. But if Medlen is able to rebound from the surgery and prove just as effective as he was prior, the spot should be his.

Building off the fact that Medlen has more experience than Teheran and Delgado is that having Medlen in there provides the least amount of risk of the three options. Yes, Teheran and Delgado are both immensely talented arms, but let's face it, they're young and could require a learning curve. If I'm looking for the best numbers in a month of starts, I'm going with Medlen.

All three options come with their share of risks. Medlen could respond poorly in his return off the bat, while Teheran and Delgado could stumble out of the gate knowing the job is theirs for a month. Then again, all three are talented and should succeed if given the opportunity. It's a nice problem to have.

We have a little bit of early knowledge from Florida on the topic, as David O'Brien reported that Medlen is being looked at as more of a Plan B for the rotation right now. I hope hype isn't driving this decision. For a full month, the Braves need to start the arm that can give them the best numbers. I feel Medlen should be the answer.

2/22 Morning Buzz: Tommy Hanson, Braves ESPN Coverage, Baseball America Top 100

Top Story:
Hanson has minor concussion, likely out a few days. Grade 1 concussion, the most minor, if there is a such thing. At least if it had to happen it did early in camp.

Braves Bits:
ESPN - Braves stay mostly intact from year ago.
ESPN - Which way is Freddie Freeman headed?.
Talking Chop - Bobbleheads Are Back In 2012.

MLB News:
Yankees - Signed Eric Chavez to a major league deal.
Indians/Rangers - The Indians sold Kelvin De La Cruz to the Rangers.
Indians - Signed Cristian Guzman to a minor league deal with an invite.
Cubs/Red Sox - The compensation for Theo is Chris Carpenter. I just love that the Red Sox initially asked about Matt Garza and Starlin Castro. Also of note from the link is Bobby Jenks was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Carpenter.

MLB Bits:
MLB - Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects. Julio Teheran - 5, Arodys Vizcaino - 40, Randall Delgado - 46, Andrelton Simmons - 92.
MLB - Interview with Dirk Hayhurst.
Twins - Interview With Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony.
Yankees - Bearish On Betances.
Dodgers - Javy Guerra Opens Camp As Dodgers Closer.
Dodgers - Dodgers name Clayton Kershaw opening day starter.
Mariners - Ichiro moves to third in the lineup. Chone Figgins will likely bat leadoff. Chone Figgins can't get on base.
Rays - Matt Moore Is Good. Simple, yet elegant.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2/21 Morning Buzz: Tommy Hanson, Manny Ramirez, Mariano Rivera

Top Story:
Hanson in accident, checked for concussion. I can think of better ways for Tommy Hanson to begin his spring than blowing a tire and bumping his head.

Braves Bits:
Capitol Avenue Club - Fifth Starter Out Of Camp.
AJC - Medlen prefers starting.

MLB News:
Athletics - The A's signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal. There's nothing you can really hate about this. If it works out, Oakland gets a solid bat for nothing. If it doesn't work out, they lose nothing.
Yankees - The Yankees signed Raul Ibanez for one year at $1.1 million.
Korea - Former Brave Horacio Ramirez signed with the Kia Tigers. Knowing Horacio is 32 years old leaves me wondering where the years went.

MLB Bits:
Yankees - Contemplating the End of the Mariano Rivera Era.
Pirates - A.J. Burnett in a Pittsburgh jersey. He already looked like a pirate anyway.
Angels/Tigers - Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder in their new jerseys. I've felt all along that Pujols seems to fit in Angels gear. Maybe it's just the red I'm used to.
Giants - Giants tell Posey not to block plate this season.
Rockies - Rockies commit to Jim Tracy 'indefinitely' with new deal.
Red Sox - Bobby Valentine on Mike Aviles, Nick Punto and Jose Iglesias.
Mets - Jonathan Niese has a new nose, everybody.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2/20 Morning Buzz: Mike Cameron, Tim Hudson, Reporting Day

Top Story:
Mike Cameron announces his retirement. The big-name retirements continue. Cameron was forever underrated because he relied on defense, but he was an extremely valuable center fielder in his career.

Braves Bits:
AJC - Jurrjens, Hudson: worried to optimistic in 2-1/2 months. "(Hudson) nodded across the clubhouse to Kris Medlen and said the versatile starter-reliever was as good as anyone the Braves had." I feel like this isn't getting nearly enough play. Medlen should be in line for a rotation spot in Hudson's absence, in my opinion.
AJC - Moylan progressing in rehab, won't rush return.
AJC - Jason Heyward throwing at Disney. Beautiful sight.
AJC - A full gallery of photos from the first day. - Several Braves get early start on spring work. - As camp nears, Wren has confidence in Braves.

MLB News:
Phillies - Kyle Kendrick signs a two-year deal worth $7.5 million. I don't see the reason for this, as Kendrick isn't really worth a multi-year deal at any point in his career. But I guess the Phillies know what they're getting with him, and they're fine with that.
Giants - Ryan Vogelsong has a strained back and will miss the first 10 days of camp. It's not a good start for someone trying to maintain consistency following a breakthrough season last year, but it might be minor.
Yankees - New York signs left-handed reliever Clay Rapada to a minor league deal.

MLB Bits:
MLB - Win percentages for position players. H/T The Book Blog.
Yankees - Johnny Damon is no longer an option for the Yankees.
Cubs - Cubs Might Talk Extension With Matt Garza.
Phillies - Jonathan Papelbon 'excited' for Phillies. I don't know, man. What about that contract, man? Yeah, man.
Cardinals - Cardinals table extension talks with Yadier Molina.
Cubs - New 'Cub Way' beginning in Arizona.