Category Archives: Closer Looks

Joba Chamberlain is Back, Baby

It feels like Joba Chamberlain has been around forever. And given how many twists and turns his career has taken him through, it’s not a farfetched notion.

But in reality, Chamberlain is just 28 years old. Continue reading

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New York Mets: Who Is Going to Crack Their 2015 Rotation?

Going into 2015, the New York Mets will be faced with a unique situation: The team will have far too many starting pitchers.

In addition to Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner returning from Tommy John surgery, the Mets will also sport at least two additional major league-ready pitching prospects in Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. And if you’re a believer in Jacob deGrom as a starter, he would bump that number up to three.

With the likes of current rotation mates Zack Wheeler, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and, to a lesser extent, Jenrry Mejia, all under contract next season, the Mets will possess 10 very viable starting pitchers for just five rotation slots in 2015.

Assuming the Mets front office will look to improve the team’s collective park-adjusted 88 wRC+ for next season, dealing at least one of their starting pitchers only makes sense.

Below details the likelihood of each pitcher’s chances of locking up a 2015 rotation spot, getting relegated to bullpen duties or possibly being shipped elsewhere. Continue reading

Should the New York Mets Be Worried About Bartolo Colon?

When the New York Mets signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million contract this offseason, it seemed like a prudent acquisition. In many ways, signing the 41-year-old starting pitcher to a comparatively reasonable deal was the very savvy, Moneyball-esque free-agent move many Mets’ fans had been waiting for Sandy Alderson to make.

But Colon has been a bit more vulnerable in 2014 than over his past three seasons. The right-hander has pitched to the tune of a 5.65 ERA (versus a 4.42 FIP) and park-adjusted 60 ERA+ in his first six starts in orange and blue. By comparison, Colon combined for a far superior 3.32 ERA (versus a 3.60 FIP) and a 119 ERA+ from 2011 to 2013.

Yet, perhaps the most worrisome signs of the Dominican native’s cold start have been the rate and distance of his home runs allowed. Continue reading

3 MLB Hitters Enjoying Surprising Aprils (And Could Continue to Surprise in 2014)

If there’s one thing prudent baseball observers dread the most, it’s the inevitable sweeping analysis—for better or worse—based on a small sample size (SSS). But even though the 2014 baseball season is still in its infancy, there are a variety of players enjoying surprising Aprils that could realistically enjoy fruitful 2014 seasons, too. Continue reading

Minnesota Twins: It’s Time for the Josmil Pinto Era

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, Minnesota Twins’ fans have been witnessing non-Joe Mauer starting catchers behind the dish this season. The Twins decided that Mauer, who has been the Twins’ starting catcher since June of 2004, would transition to first base—full time—in 2014.

The team’s offseason signing of Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $2.75 million deal only solidified the organization’s impactful decision.

Mauer, owner of a career .322 batting average and park-adjusted 136 OPS+, has missed far too many games in his career due to the rigors associated with squatting and blocking pitches. In fact, the 30-year-old St. Paul native has sat out 144 games total since 2011.

Yet, considering the former-Oakland Athletics’ farmhand hasn’t posted an OPS+ over 90 since 2009, rookie Josmil Pinto might make Suzuki’s reign as the starter short lived. Continue reading

Could the Texas Rangers Be a Fit for Daniel Murphy?

As most teams whittle down their rosters in preparation for opening day, the Texas Rangers were dealt a last-minute curveball. Rangers’ starting second baseman Jurickson Profar will miss 10-12 weeks after suffering a slight muscle tear in his right shoulder, according to U-T San Diego’s Dennis Lin.

Even though the Rangers prefer to tap someone internally to take Profar’s place, per Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson, such a decision would either involve starting non-roster invitee Kensuke Tanaka or rushing 20-year-old prospect Rougned Odor.

Instead, general manager Jon Daniels could do what he’s done so many times before: make a “win-now” trade. And New York Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy would be a perfect fit.

Continue reading

Ervin Santana: A Potential Bargain for Pitching-Starved MLB Teams

At the same point last offseason, starting pitcher Kyle Lohse was still a free agent. In fact, it would take until March 25 for Lohse to finally sign a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. But unlike Lohse, who too wore the rejected-qualifying offer Scarlet Letter, current free agent Ervin Santana has apparently waved the white flag in his pursuit of a multiyear deal.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the 31-year-old is eager to sign with a team and get to spring training—even at the cost of a lucrative, long-term contract. Aside from how most teams would forfeit an unprotected first-round pick to sign the right-hander, the sheer opportunity to sign a free-agent pitcher of Santana’s caliber to a one-year deal instantly makes him a bargain. Continue reading