Mining the News (3/26/24)

• First, there is a ton of garbage coming from writers right now that feels canned as everyone gets ready for the regular season. Most of the news is either the last bench spot or bullpen spot which doesn’t matter for fantasy. Or injury news covered by everyone. I’ve read through so much trash the last couple of days and this is all I have found and I’m sorry for the lack of content. Look at the bright side, you didn’t dig around for the information.

• I mentioned it a few instances in the article, but here is a nice article going through the likely Opening Day lineups.

There is a chance Jordan Montgomery is waiting to sign until after Opening Day. If he waits until then, he won’t be linked to a qualifying offer.

Of course, as recently discussed by MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald, Montgomery wouldn’t be eligible for a Qualifying Offer this coming winter if he were to sign with a club after Opening Day. Speculatively speaking, that could create a situation where Montgomery remains focused on finding a multi-year deal in the days leading up to Opening Day without considering one-year arrangements until it, and his eligibility for a Qualifying Offer this coming winter, have already passed. Reporting earlier this month suggested that Montgomery was hoping to land a seven-year deal, though it’s unclear if either of the reported offers Montgomery currently has in hand approach that length.

Editor’s Note: Montgomery signed with Arizona on a 1-year deal about an hour or so after this posted. There is also a vesting option for next year if makes 10 starts, so it’s essentially a 2-year/$50 million deal.

American League

Astros

• Top prospect, Joey Loperfido will take reps at first base in AAA.

Both Espada and Storey said Loperfido will play more first base in Sugar Land, the surest sign that Houston has him in its immediate plans. Loperfido is a natural outfielder, but has Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers and even Mauricio Dubón ahead of him in the major-league pecking order in left and center. Kyle Tucker isn’t leaving right field, either.

Blue Jays

Kevin Gausman might pitch on Monday to give the bullpen more rest.

The Blue Jays would love to open the season with Gausman pitching fourth or fifth in the rotation, which would line him up with either Sunday’s finale in St. Petersburg or Monday’s opener in Houston.

This needs to be viewed holistically too. Games two, three and four of the season have first pitch times of 6:50 Friday, 4:10 Saturday and 1:40 Sunday, which creates some tight windows. If a starter has a short outing, things could snowball quickly in the bullpen. If Gausman only has 70-75 pitches to work with in his first outing, perhaps the opener in Houston would line up best, but the Blue Jays will consider dozens of factors here, including how this would schedule out over the next few weeks and the matchups it would create.

Twins

• The team continues to not name a “closer”.

[Griffin] Jax and Brock Stewart are the most likely candidates for save opportunities with Jhoan Duran out to start the season due to a right oblique strain, though Jax says the Twins haven’t necessarily approached him outright, instead maintaining their typical message: Just be ready to pitch.

“I don’t think that’s helpful trying to give people titles and things like that, so we’re not going to do that, but he’s a really good late-inning Major League reliever who I will pitch against anybody,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Matt Wallner takes 400 swings a day.

… Wallner said he perhaps got up to 400 swings one day in the cage.

WTF.

White Sox

• The team is not going to name a closer just yet.

Michael Kopech threw his fourth scoreless inning out of the bullpen Monday, but Grifol would not name a set closer.

“I wouldn’t have one anyway, unless you bring back Dennis Eckersley or somebody like that,” Grifol said. “We’re attacking leverage. Somebody takes it on, somebody takes it on.”

National League

Brewers

• Here is a dated (Garrett Mitchell injury) Opening Day roster according to David Adler.

Brewers:
1. Garrett Mitchell, CF
2. William Contreras, C
3. Christian Yelich, LF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Willy Adames, SS
6. Sal Frelick, RF
7. Jackson Chourio, DH
8. Joey Ortiz, 3B
9. Brice Turang, 2B
SP: RHP Freddy Peralta
CL: RHP Trevor Megill

Two notes I found interesting from it.

  1. Turang starting versus a lefty (Quintana). Turang has struggled against lefties (career .465 OPS), so it’ll be interesting to see if it happens and sticks.
  2. Megill as the closer. With several options, I’m not sold on Megill so don’t overspend adding him.

• With the injury to Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick might lead off according to his manager.

Sal Frelick and Garrett Mitchell were the top candidates to replace Yelich as the leadoff hitter, but Frelick could find himself there more often early in the season because Mitchell is expected to miss at least a month with a fractured left hand. Murphy has mentioned Chourio as a potential leadoff man if he continues to progress as he did in Spring Training.

Cubs

• Even though Ian Happ will play Opening Day, he is still having effects from his hamstring injury.

Ian Happ has “plateaued,” Counsell said, in his recovery from the strained hamstring that has lingered for most of March. Happ is scheduled to play again Monday, which would represent a four-day break between games. In terms of getting ramped up and feeling in a rhythm, Happ has gotten only 18 Cactus League at-bats this spring. Happ is a Gold Glove left fielder, a durable player who appeared in 158 games in each of the past two seasons and a possible leadoff hitter in Counsell’s lineup.

“We’re trying to just get him over this plateau with more exerted running off the field than in the games,” Counsell said. “The goal is obviously to put it behind him. And it’s not quite behind him (yet).”

Is Opening Day in jeopardy for Happ?

“No,” Counsell said, “not right now.”

Phillies

• The team hasn’t and won’t likely set a closer.

CL: RHP Jose Alvarado

Alvarado is listed as the closer, but anybody who knows Phillies manager Rob Thomson knows he prefers a closer-by-committee approach. It could be almost anybody in the ninth inning on Opening Day.

• The General Manager is happy with Spencer Turnbull in the rotation.

On that front, though, Dombrowski was categoric: he doesn’t believe the team is in the market for a free-agent starter.

“I feel very good about [Spencer] Turnbull stepping in to pitch for us,” said Dombrowski. “I think he’s throwing the ball extremely well. He’s healthy, which is great. He’s probably even thrown the ball better than you could have anticipated.”

Turnbull, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Phillies this offseason, was set for a bullpen role before Walker went down. Instead, he re-adjusted his routine to begin the season, and he delivered encouraging results in his first spring start on Saturday. The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts, hitting 96 mph with his sinker, well above his average velocity, while maintaining good movement on his pitches.

• A Tyler Phillips is being considered for the rotation.

After Turnbull, Dombrowski pointed to Tyler Phillips, as potential rotation depth.

Who the f___ is that guy?

Pirates

Jared Triolo (qualified at third base) is the team’s second baseman after reworking his swing.

Therefore, can we assume that Jared Triolo is the winner of the second base job?

“I would say that’s a very safe assumption,” Shelton said with a grin after the Pirates’ 4-1 win over the Red Sox at LECOM Park on Saturday.

It’s hard to find fault with Triolo being the guy. He’s hit well this spring, recording a .324 batting average and a .919 OPS. A converted third baseman, he’s looking more than comfortable at second base. Plus, he finished last year on a tear after his June debut, recording 2.1 WAR with a .786 OPS as a rookie in 2023.

“We saw what he did last year in September,” Shelton said. “The [swing] adjustment he made when he went to Indy, he carried it over into September. He’s carried it into spring. Someone asked the other day where he has improved defensively. It’s around the bag. Going to his left today on the ball, that’s a tough play for a big-bodied second baseman. He made that really smoothly. He just continues to get better on that side of the field.”

Rockies

• Thomas Harding of MLB.com thinks Justin Lawrence is the likely closer.

Kinley, with 202 Major League appearances, and Beeks, with 131, lead the crew. Lawrence, the likely closer, has 12 career saves (Kinley, who could also get chances, has six).





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

8 Comments
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TheBabbo
27 days ago

Calling it “garbage” that MLB beat writers are covering their teams’ final roster decisions is an odd take – seems like they’re just doing their jobs, a lot of fans of those teams care about that stuff.

Average Fastball Velociraptormember
26 days ago
Reply to  TheBabbo

Agreed – writers complaining about getting paid to write about baseball never sits well with me.

dl80
26 days ago
Reply to  TheBabbo

I assumed “canned” meant “written months ago and only published now because there is nothing new.” As in, a “canned response” that is overly rehearsed or recycled.

Richiemember
26 days ago
Reply to  dl80

Exactly this.

Babbo, Velociraptor, you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

Average Fastball Velociraptormember
25 days ago
Reply to  Richie

I mean, he literally said “garbage” but ok

si.or.nomember
26 days ago
Reply to  dl80

I like that canned == garbage-canned to someone out there.

And that they were so certain enough about that interpretation to write a defensive comment.

Last edited 26 days ago by si.or.no