Posted on: March 24, 2011 2:05 pm
By Matt Snyder
After meeting with the esteemed Dr. James Andrews, likely Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco was given a clean bill of health, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
"It doesn't hurt," Francisco said.
Still, he will begin the season on the disabled list as he works his arm back into shape. If things progress are planned, Francisco will not miss much of the season.
Meanwhile, another closing option is Octavio Dotel, and he's dealing with hamstring issues. He will throw an inning in a minor-league game Thursday. In doing so, the Blue Jays would still have the option to put Dotel on the disabled list backdated to the last time he threw in major-league action.
The good news for the Jays if both pitchers are forced to start the season on the DL is that they have a third pitcher in the bullpen with recent closing experience in Jon Rauch. He saved 21 games last season. Dotel had 22 saves and Francisco is one year removed from a 25-save season for the Rangers.
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Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 4:09 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Toronto Blue Jays are readying for opening day, deploying a lineup in Tuesday's spring-training game that could be the lineup manager John Farrell trots out for his managerial debut, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports.
That lineup is:
The only differences that could occur are Bautista and Encarnacion swapping positions, as EdE isn't expected to play much at the hot corner while that will be Bautista's new home.
Rivera is tabbed for right despite being defensively challenged. Snider is as well, though, and has only 57 games in right to his name in the majors while Rivera has 272. Neither have right field as their primary position but it appears Toronto will have to sacrifice defense given the team's composition.
In other news, Knobler reports that relievers Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel (pictured) may hit the disabled list to start the year, with GM Alex Anthopoulous believing it is possible neither can be ready in time -- but that's not definite.
Francisco felt discomfort during a bullpen session Saturday in his pectoral muscle, but a MRI came back clean. He is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews, which makes one immediately think "Tommy John surgery," but the Jays do not expect that type of news. Meanwhile, Dotel's left hamstring injury has kept him out of major-league spring training games for a week, but tossed an inning Tuesday in a minor-league game. The club expects him to be ready, but if not, Jon Rauch will likely function as closer until both return.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 9:06 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Blue Jays went into camp with no shortage of closers with experience, but no real favorite.
Two weeks into exhibition games, that apparently hasn't changed much.
"It's premature to say who's in that slot," manager John Farrell said (via MLB.com). "The main thing is guys that are taking the ball and getting on the mound are certainly putting themselves in a position to establish roles. So right now, we're not here to say who has that spot locked down."
That points toward Jon Rauch, left, because of injuries to Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco, both scratched from their next scheduled outings because of injuries. Francisco, scheduled to pitch today against the Phillies, was out with a right pectoral injury and Dotel, expected to throw Wednesday and Saturday, has a sore left hamstring.
Rauch, signed two a one-year deal with a team option for 2012 in the offseason, had 21 saves for the Twins last season. Farrell also praised his recent performance, including a scoreless inning against the Phillies on Tuesday.
Francisco is still expected to be ready for opening day, Farrell said.
"We feel like if we can get him three or four games [more] before we leave camp, he'll be fine," Farrell said. "He's not overtly concerned or overly alarmed. He feels this is a spring training aches and pains type thing that he's going through. The red flag is not up per se with Frankie."
Posted on: March 15, 2011 3:45 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"I have confidence in Jon Daniels and our scouts," manager Ron Washington told reporters, including ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon on Tuesday. "If that's the case, I'm 100 percent sure they'll go out there and find somebody to close ballgames down for us."
If that's the case, the Rangers will be looking for their seventh different closer in the last seven seasons (defining "closer" as "dude with the most saves."). The last Ranger to lead the team in saves in back-to-back years was Francisco Cordero in 2004-05. Cordero has since been an All-Star for two different teams.
The Rangers' internal candidates appear to be Mark Lowe and Alexi Ogando (right). Or the team could go with a closer-by-committee until the trade deadline, also using veteran lefties Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver along with Lowe and Ogando. Prospect Tanner Scheppers is another (remote) possibility. The Rangers traded Frank Francisco, their closer in 2009, to the Blue Jays in exchange for Mike Napoli in the offseason.
As for trade candidates, the team could go out now, or wait until the trade deadline when more candidates would be available.
Among those available could be the Padres Heath Bell, the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez and the Orioles' Michael Gonzalez. The Blue Jays have several experienced closers on their roster, including Francisco, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.
If the team waits until the trade deadline, if the Mariners David Aardsma could be available, as well as Cordero, who could be supplanted by Aroldis Chapman (or Nick Masset). Others that could be available include Kevin Gregg, J.J. Putz and Brandon Lyon.
However, Washington did tell reporters in the same sitting that he felt confident enough with the rotation as it is and Feliz in the bullpen. It also appears, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson writes, that Washington would prefer to keep Feliz in the bullpen unless Daniels can get another closer.
Tags: AL West, Alexi Ogando, Arhtur Rhodes, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Lyon, Darren Oliver, David Aardsma, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Francisco, J.J. Putz, Jason Frasor, Jon Daniels, Jon Rauch, Kevin Gregg, Mark Lowe, Michael Gonzalez, Mike Napoli, Neftali Feliz, Nick Masset, Octavio Dotel, Rangers, Ron Washington, Tanner Scheppers
Posted on: February 18, 2011 1:53 pm
It looks as if new Blue Jay Frank Francisco is the early favorite for the closers job, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes.
Francisco is competing with Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel -- also newcomers to Toronto -- for the closer's spot.
"When you look at the guys in that mix, the fact that he attacks lefties with that success rate kind of gives him the edge coming in -- at least on paper," Jays manager John Farrell said.
All three have closing experience. Francisco, 31, had 25 saves in 2009 before Neftali Feliz came along. He also had two saves last year. Left-handers have hit just .214/.318/.315 against Francisco in his career, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is better against right-handers (3.16) than left-handers (1.93).
Dotel, 37, is joining his 12th team of his career. He has 105 career saves, including 22 last season (21 for the Pirates and one for the Dodgers). He had 36 for the Astros and A's in 2004.
Francisco and Dotel each have career ERAs of 3.75, while the third member competing for that spot, Jon Rauch, has a 3.71 career ERA.
Rauch, 32, had 21 saves for the Twins last season and 47 in his career.
Rauch and Dotel signed as free agents with the Blue Jays, while Francisco came from Texas in exchange for Mike Napoli.
"I played there for six years and I didn't feel comfortable anymore," Francisco said. "They had a great, great staff and a great group of guys, but I wanted to see a change and see myself establish in the bilge leagues, like a closer -- not a setup man -- but a real closer. That's my dream."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 17, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 4:12 pm
Rauch will join Octavio Dotel in battling for the closer's job in a year where he will earn $3.5 million with a club option for $3.75 million in 2012.
Rauch, joining his sixth team (seven if you don't count Montreal and Washington as the same team), is coming off a year where he nailed down 21 saves for the Joe Nathan-less Twins, posting a 3.12 ERA and moving to a setup role after the acquisition of Matt Capps. Rauch has long been a quality middle reliever with career numbers of 2.2 walks per nine innings and 7.3 K/9.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 21, 2010 10:47 pm
The Mariners are asking for an "impact bat" in exchange for closer David Aardsma, MLB.com's Thomas Harding writes .
Aardsma will be 29 next week. He is arbitration-eligible for the second time this season, making $2.75 million in 2010. Aardsma has 69 saves over the last two seasons since the Red Sox traded him to Seattle in exchange for Fabian Williamson before the 2009 season. Aardsma has a 2.90 ERA since joining the Mariners, striking out 129 batters in 121 innings. Last season he had a 3.44 ERA and struck out 49 in 49 2/3 innings.
The Rockies have been looking for a reliever, but with the Mariners' demand, they're not a fit for the a trade. Aardsma went to high school in the Denver area.
Harding writes the Rockies are interested in Grant Balfour, but he's a Type A free agent and Colorado doesn't want to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. Other possibilities for the Rockies include free agents Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls and Todd Coffey.
Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told Harding the team would offer a multiyear deal to a reliever, but only under the "right circumstances."
As for Aardsma, shopping him makes a ton of sense. Closers are currently overvalued and a good one is certainly a luxury for a team that figures to be as bad as the Mariners. Seattle would be wise to flip him for offensive help and save some money in the deal. To do so, thought, they'll have to find a taker. That could be easier near the trade deadline.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 16, 2010 9:23 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 11:50 pm
The Rockies are determined to get a right-handed reliever, but won't dip into the market requiring three-years for middle relievers.
The Denver Post 's Troy Renck reports on Twitter that Colorado has discussed a deal for Mariners closer David Aardsma (pictured), who would likely compete with Huston Street for that honor for the Rockies. Aardsma is eligible for arbitration and could be due around $4 million, which could make Colorado skittish.
That's not the Rockies's only option, though.
Other names include Todd Coffey, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls and Grant Balfour. Balfour is a Type-A free agent, so would necessitate a sign-and-trade for Colorado to be interested. However, the other names are extremely unlikely to get a three-year commitment, if not two years. Renck feels that the Rockies will land one of the aforementioned names.
-- Evan Brunell