Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2/29 Morning Buzz: Ryan Braun, Freddie Freeman, Tommy Hanson

Top Story:
Statements from Dino Laurenzi, the Ryan Braun sample collector.

Braves Bits: - Freddie Freeman to miss time with knee injury. - Tommy Hanson to retake concussion test Thursday.
ESPN - Brian McCann extension talks "premature."
MLBTR - The Braves' offseason in review.
Talking Chop - Reviewing Javy Lopez's book.

MLB News:
Nationals - Lost Sammy Solis to Tommy John surgery.
Mariners - Franklin Gutierrez suffered a pectoral injury.
Astros - Named Brett Myers the closer. He had a 4 fWAR in 223 IP in 2010. But yes, relegating him to one inning on a Houston team that needs all the extra value it can get is always the best idea.

MLB Bits:
A good source for extension news.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2/28 Morning Buzz: Chipper Jones, Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina

Top Story:
Chipper takes shot at drug cheaters.

Braves Bits:
Talking Chop - Terry Francona Interviews Fredi Gonzalez. - News and notes from the MLB site.

MLB News:
Royals - Signed Salvador Perez to a five-year extension.
Royals - Signed Vin Mazzaro to one-year deal.
Athletics - Scott Sizemore out for the season with a torn ACL. I would expect Josh Donaldson to get first crack at third base.
Cardinals - Expected to sign Yadier Molina for five years at around $75 million. It's just too much money for him. Work out your $/WAR all you want, whatever it comes out to be. But it's too much.
MLB - Danys Baez is retiring.
Red Sox - Jason Varitek will retire Thursday.
Reds - Signed Sean Marshall to three-year extension.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2/27 Morning Buzz: Ryan Zimmerman, Joel Zumaya, Ryan Braun

Top Story:
Ryan Zimmerman signs six-year extension worth $100 million. He will be the second richest third baseman annually behind Alex Rodriguez. He also gets a full no-trade clause beginning in a couple years. This type of money was bound to happen for Zimmerman, so good job by the Nationals to get it done quickly.

Braves Bits:
Capitol Avenue Club - Medlen and Vizcaino Boost Bullpen.
AJC - Tommy Hanson could return by Tuesday.
AJC - On Michael Bourn and Tyler Pastornicky. "Uncle Tyler."
AJC - On Freddie Freeman. - On Brandon Beachy. - On Joe Terdoslavich, Hanson and Jonny Venters.

MLB News:
Twins - Joel Zumaya threw all of 13 pitches before needing another surgery. Not to be insincere about Zumaya's situation, but the worst part of this is he was the Twins' bullpen move this winter. For a pen that finished last year with a 4.51 ERA and 4.43 FIP, that's not good news.
MLB - Hideki Matsui can't find a job.
Athletics - Scott Sizemore went down with an apparent knee injury.
MLB - Bengie Molina officially retires.
Angels - Torii Hunter wants to play two or three more years.

MLB Bits:
Brewers - Will Carroll's details on the Ryan Braun case.
Red Sox - Bobby Valentine bans alcohol in Red Sox clubhouse. This will get a lot of play, obviously, but it should be a normal occurrence, in my opinion.
Rays - Rays' rotation quietly among MLB's best.
Mariners - Entertaining intrasquad game recap from Lookout Landing.

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.