And the case of the missing reliever

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And the case of the missing reliever

PostitusPostitas zhangzk » 14.05.19, 6:20

2018 Rating: 5.642017 Rating: 6.852018 Performance: 15 G Jay Buhner Jersey , 16.1 IP, 0-0, 1.65 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 267 ERA+, 9.4 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 1 HR ,0.5 bWAR, 0.1 fWAR2018 Salary: Pre-arbitration2019 Status: Pre-arbitrationAfter a successful September call-up in 2017 it looked like Jimmie Sherfy was a lock to fill one of the bullpen vacancies in 2018.Alas, it was not meant to be. After making the playoffs in 2017, Mike Hazen and the rest of the front office made the decision to take another run at the playoffs in 2018. Part of the plan for the playoff run was to rely on established arms, rather than turn to the minors. This resulted in Fernando Salas and Jorge De La Rosa claiming the two vacant bullpen slots. Although somewhat surprising at first, the decision did not feel like a terrible one - at least, not at the outset.Before April was out, things were already becoming unsettled with Arizona’s pitching. currently has three obvious bullpen vacancies. With the mandate to trim payroll, it would seem like Mike Hazen would have even more incentive to finally dip into the minor league ranks and promote some of his relievers that are waiting in the wings. Sherfy should be at the top of that list. As we saw with 2018 though, anything is possible. He could still wind up starting the season in Reno. For my money though, I expect he makes the 25-man roster out of spring. The catcher position has been a black hole offensively for the Boston Red Sox this season.Sandy Leon (87 games), Christian Vazquez (75), Blake Swihart (28) and Dan Butler (two) posted a .533 OPS that ranked dead last at the position while hitting a combined .194/.246/.288 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI.It would make perfect sense then for Boston to target Yasmani Grandal.The 29-year-old posted a career-high 121 OPS+this season and has averaged 19 doubles, 22 home runs and 61 RBI in his four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.He's also one of the best pitch-framers in baseball and is generally regarded as a solid receiver Denard Span Jersey , despite his struggles in that department during the playoffs.While Boston would present an appealing landing spot from a contention standpoint, the threat of having his job usurped could be enough to scare Grandal away.Despite a disappointing season at the plate, Vazquez remains an excellent defensive backstop. He's thrown out 42percent of base-stealers and racked up 31 DRS in his four seasons in the majors, and that earned him a three-year, $13.55 million extension in March that includes a $7 million team option for 2022.Grandal watched last postseason as Austin Barnes seized the lion's share of the playing time thanks to his strong defensive work, and he might not want to risk a similar situation with Vazquez in Boston.RF Bryce Harper: Washington Nationals6 of 10Dustin Bradford/Getty ImagesIt's time for a change.The Washington Nationals looked like the team to beat in the National League more than once between 2012 and 2017while posting six straight winning seasons and making four playoff appearances.However, all they have to show for that run is four disappointing NLDS exits.With Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg both locked into lucrative long-term deals, re-signing Harper would likely max the Nationals out financially, leaving little room to further improve a roster that had some obvious holes in an 82-80 season this year.Further, it could also prevent them from re-signing one or both of Anthony Rendon and Tanner Roark, who are set to reach free agency after 2019. So it's not off-base to think the Nationals could actually be worse when 2020 rolls around as a direct result of bringing back their homegrown star.For Harper, the No. 1 priority should be to find a team that can be a perennial contender, especially if he's onboard for a good chunk of the next decade.It seems inconsequential to talk about additional revenue streams when discussing a player who might secure the first $400 million deal in MLB history, but Harper is also not maximizing his marketing potential in Washington D.C. A move to somewhere like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles would present him with more opportunities to build his brand, so to speak.So while there appears to be a very real possibility that Harper will re-up with the Nationals, it doesn't look like the right move for player or team.SP Dallas Keuchel: Milwaukee Brewers7 of 10Bob Levey/Getty ImagesThe Milwaukee Brewers have leaned heavily on an excellent relief corps this season, and that's been a big reason behind their success.While the bullpen-centric approach makes sense in the condensed environment of postseason baseball, it remains to be seen if it's sustainable over a full 162-game slate, so it shouldn't exclude the Brewers from pursuing the market's top starting pitchers this offseason.Dallas Keuchel would essentially be a luxury version of stopgapstarters Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez nd his ability to eat innings would really help lighten the bullpen's load.However, there are some factors worth considering.For one, Keuchel saw his ground-ball rate go from 66.8 percent in 2017 to 53.7 in 2018 , and that trend could spell disaster for a pitcher who doesn't light up the radar gun.And while the sample size is small enough to be deemed irrelevant, it's also worth mentioning that he's 0-3 with a 12.75 ERA and 2.83 WHIP in three career starts in Milwaukee.The Brewers found a terrific bargain when they signed Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year, $15.5 million deal last offseason, and they might be best served taking a similar approach this winter.Meanwhile, the Astros, Angels and Yankees all look like better hypothetical landing spots for Keuchel.RP Craig Kimbrel: St. Louis Cardinals8 of 10Elsa/Getty ImagesCraig Kimbrel should benefit greatly from the record-setting deals signed by Kenley Jansen (five years, $80 million), Aroldis Chapman (five years, $86 million) and Wade Davis (three years, $52 million, with an option) in recent offseasons.The 30-year-old leads active pitchers with 333 saves, and he was lights-out once again this season, nailing down 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 63 appearances.His overpowering stuff will play anywhere, so there's not a bad fit from a ballpark standpoint.The St. Louis Cardinals could be a tough landing spot for a number of reasons, though.Despite a talented roster, there's no guarantee the Cardinals will be able to keep pace with the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Assuming that pitching for a contender features prominently on Kimbrel's wish list, that could be a strike against the Cards.There's also the presence of Jordan Hicks.Kimbrel is one of the best closers in baseball and has been for several years, but nothing is guaranteed for a pitcher on the wrong side of his 30th birthday.The flame-throwing Hicks has the stuff to be a dominant closer if he can trim his walk rate, and Kimbrel might not like the idea of a closer-in-waiting breathing down his neck.
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