MLB Player News
Drew Storen will compete for the closer job, but general manager Ross Atkins said the team doesn't expect to choose a closer until midway through spring training if not later, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports.
After bringing in Storen over the offseason, he will compete with Roberto Osuna for the closer job. After Osuna saved 20 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, they still sought to improve their pen by bringing in Storen, who saved 29 games last season and saved 43 in 2011. This could be a lengthy battle between the two as both have the stuff and experience to close for the Jays, who should be considered the front-runners for the AL East.
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said that the team doesn't expect to choose a closer between Roberto Osuna and Drew Storen until midway through spring training, if not later, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
The acquisition of Storen in a trade with the Nationals in early January has added a layer of confusion for fantasy owners trying to determine the Jays' plans for the ninth inning to begin 2016. While Storen's experience may ultimately lead him to the job, Osuna proved capable of holding down the job and pitching at a high level upon arrival last season. Both players have the potential to finish as a top-10 closer if they can secure the job all season.
Bobby LaFromboise was designated for assignment Wednesday, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports.
The left-hander was claimed off waivers from the Angels on January 29, but he'll already be sent off the 40-man roster in order to make room for the recently-acquired Taylor Featherston. He pitched well with the Pirates last season, posting a 1.13 ERA in 11 appearances. Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, it seems he'll either have to spend another season primarily in the minors or wait to be claimed off waivers by a team who needs another southpaw in the bullpen.
Manager Dave Stewart announced Monday that Brad Ziegler will begin the season as the Arizona Diamondbacks ' closer, Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona reports.
Bringing Tyler Clippard into the fold could have been taken as a challenge to Ziegler's gig, but the incumbent will remain in the closing role once Opening Day rolls around. In 2015, Ziegler replaced Addison Reed in May and proceeded to complete 30 saves, which he supplemented with a crisp 1.85 ERA and 0.956 WHIP. However, Ziegler's lack of heat doesn't equate to many strikeouts, as evidenced by 4.76 K/9 last season.
Brad Ziegler is expected to remain the Arizona Diamondbacks ' closer to begin the year despite the addition of Tyler Clippard on a two-year contract, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
While Ziegler does not have the swing-and-miss stuff of a prototypical closer, his ability to keep the ball on the ground and success in the closer role a year ago will likely keep him in the ninth inning to start the 2016 campaign. Clippard's signing bolsters the team's back-end depth for now and gives the Diamondbacks a quality fallback option should Ziegler's ERA return closer to his 2014 mark.
Andy Oliver will join the Baltimore Orioles during spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Oliver split the 2015 campaign between the Rays and Orioles organizations, performing relatively well for the teams' respective Triple-A affiliates. It appears the Orioles were impressed enough to offer Oliver another minors deal that includes an invitation to spring training, where he'll face an uphill battle to earn an Opening Day roster spot.
Tyler Clippard signed a two-year, $12.25 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Clippard has been one of the most consistent relievers in baseball over the past several years, most recently playing an integral part of the Mets' World Series run. That being said, the 30-year-old is pretty reliant on the flyball to get outs, which may not translate very well in a hitter's park like Chase Field. Regardless, Clippard could still push Brad Ziegler for the closer job in Arizona at some point, though Ziegler's success in the role last season may keep him in the ninth inning to start the year.
Craig Stammen signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians that includes an invitation to spring training.
Stammen sat out for most of 2015 with a forearm injury, which led to the Nationals non-tendering the 31-year-old. That being said, he has had some decent numbers out of the bullpen during his career, posting a 2.93 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with nearly a strikeout per inning from 2012 through 2014. If he can get back to full health, Stammen could prove to be a nice under-the-radar pickup for Cleveland.
Pierce Johnson took advantage of his time off with injuries to work on his changeup in 2015, the Chicago Cubs ' official site reports. "I was able to throw it for strikes, and that was huge," he said of the pitch. "Just having the confidence in that pitch made it that much better."
The Cubs have been trying to get Johnson to develop a third pitch ever since he was drafted in 2012, and he finally looks like he has one to go with fastball and slider. He's already one of the better pitching prospect in the system, but his rise to the majors has been stalled a bit. Don't be surprised to hear his name a bit more in 2016.
Fernando Rodney was taken out of a Caribbean Series game earlier this week as a precautionary measure after feeling some leg tightness, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports.
This came a day after the San Diego Padres agreed to terms with Rodney to presumably get the first crack at closing for them this year. In three games this month for the Dominican Republic he has allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out five. There is no reason to believe the injury is anything serious, but it's worth noting as spring training approaches.