Tag Archives: Bleacher Report

Dellin Betances: The Biggest Success Story in the 2014 New York Yankees’ Bullpen

The close of the 2013 season marked the end of a long era of dominant relief pitching in the Bronx. Mariano Rivera, who reigned as the New York Yankees’ closer since 1997, decided to hang up his cleats and infamous cutter—for real, this time.

Luckily for the New York Yankees, however, the team had closer-in-waiting David Robertson in tow. Robertson, 29, owned a 1.91 ERA (versus a 2.31 FIP) and 3.58 strikeouts-to-walks ratio from 2011 to 2013 while setting up for the future Hall of Famer.

As expected, Robertson’s transition to closer in 2014 has been a natural one, tossing a 2.40 ERA (versus a 2.32 FIP), 7.67 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and 11 saves over 15 innings. Yet, even though the right-hander’s dominant performance has put the Yankees at ease, perhaps the rise of Dellin Betances has been the bigger bullpen story in New York this season. 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

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

Nick Franklin: MLB Suitors Should Beware of His Defense at Shortstop

Going into the offseason, the Seattle Mariners obviously weren’t satisfied with their production up the middle. To address their concern, the Mariners boldly handed Robinson Cano a $240 million contract to man second base for the next decade. And with the more defensively apt Brad Miller entrenched at shortstop, it leaves 22-year-old Nick Franklin without a starting job.

But then again, middle infielders with a career minor league .819 OPS+ don’t grow on trees. The Mariners have reportedly been contacted about Franklin’s services by both the Tampa Bay Rays, per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, as well as the New York Mets, per ESPN’s Adam Rubin.

Yet unlike the Rays, who might acquire Franklin as a means to stockpile unique talent, the Mets likely view the second baseman as a solve at shortstop. Continue reading

Atlanta Braves: Is Andrelton Simmons the Next Extension Candidate?

In an offseason in which most teams handsomely rewarded mediocrity, the Atlanta Braves chose an alternative path. And instead of chasing the likes of Robinson Cano and Masahiro Tanaka, who signed for a combined $395 million, or re-signing Brian McCann, whom the New York Yankees eagerly gobbled up, general manager Frank Wren focused on extending the organization’s burgeoning, homegrown talent.

Since the 2013 season ended, Wren extended Jason Heyward (through his remaining arbitration years), Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and most recently, Craig Kimbrel. Even Wren himself was extended within the past 48 hours, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s David O’Brien.

The general manager’s sole dip into free agency, in fact, has just been signing ex-Chicago White Sox hurler Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million deal. And Floyd, who is nine months removed from Tommy John surgery, is really just a Plan B for a rotation featuring all Braves-developed pitchers; pitchers with an average age of 25.4, too.

With an established organizational strategy in place, one has to wonder where Wren and the Braves will draw the line, if at all. Is it possible that the reigning National League East champion Braves could manage to retain most of their productive core players? Continue reading

5 Realistic Moves the New York Mets Should Have Made This Offseason

Playing armchair general manager is often met with skepticism. In an ideal world, the New York Mets would have outbid the Seattle Mariners for Robinson Cano’s services, subsequently adding one of the premier offensive threats at a notoriously light-hitting position.

But given the Mets’ small-market approach, inking Cano was never in the realm of possibility—even if the team did buy him lunch (per the NY Post’s Ken Davidoff).

Yet, there were a number of low-cost, high-reward acquisitions other teams executed that the Mets could have also made.

For instance, despite posting comparable three-year averages to many of the highest-earning starters this offseason, Paul Maholm only garnered a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Given the mediocre Plan B rotation options behind Jenrry Mejia, the Mets should have invested in Maholm. Continue reading

Ubaldo Jimenez: What Kind of Contract Does He Deserve?

Property of ESPN.com.

Property of ESPN.com.

It’s a rather commonplace for players—in particular, pitchers—to cash in on productive seasons. For instance, Scott Kazmir and Scott Feldman both landed multi-year contracts this offseason that few could have predicted before their respective 2013 seasons.

That said, remaining free-agent Ubaldo Jimenez has yet to receive the love he deserves. Continue reading