East Notes: Davis, Gregg, Hellickson, McCann

Mets first baseman Ike Davis is being treated for a form of Valley Fever, though the team says Davis' infection is non-contagious and not very serious (via Mike Puma of the New York Post on Twitter).  Davis says he has yet to receive an official diagnosis and hasn't experienced any symptoms.  In recent years, Conor Jackson has also dealt with Valley Fever, missing most of the 2009 season with a more severe case of the infection.

Here are some (non-medical) news items from around both East divisions….

  • Jim Johnson seems to have enough of a lead over Kevin Gregg for the Orioles' closer job that Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports that Gregg could be traded if Johnson's back is healthy.  Gregg struggled in his first season in Baltimore and to move him, the O's would have to eat a big portion of Gregg's $5.8MM salary for 2012.
  • The Rays have renewed Jeremy Hellickson's contract for 2012, the team announced today.  Hellickson isn't eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season and is under team control through 2016.  The Rays also announced they had come to terms with 22 other players with less than three years of Major League experience, including such notable names as Desmond Jennings, Alex Cobb and Matt Joyce.  Tampa Bay's entire 40-man roster is now under contract for 2012.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks the Braves may have cost themselves by waiting to extend Brian McCannYadier Molina's five-year, $75MM extension with the Cardinals will probably raise the price for McCann to as much as $18-$20MM or even more per season.  O'Brien thinks AL teams have an advantage over the Braves if McCann hits free agency, since McCann wouldn't have to play the field in his later years if he went to the American League.  McCann is under contract through 2012 and the Braves hold a $12MM club option on the All-Star catcher for 2013.
  • The Blue Jays may be the best-positioned of any team to benefit from the expanded playoff format, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark.
  • The two East divisions boast seven of the top 16 fantasy pitchers in baseball, according to Mike Axisa's rankings for Roto Authority.  The Phillies alone have three pitchers in the top seven, including Roy Halladay in the top spot.


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47 Comments on "East Notes: Davis, Gregg, Hellickson, McCann"


cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

The more impressive thing to note is that 3 of the top-7 guys are on the Phillies.

Colin Christopher
3 years 5 months ago

It seems there is an echo in here.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

Yeah, what I meant was that having 7 of the top-10 between the two divisions with the biggest payrolls isn’t all that impressive. The fact that one team has 3 of the top-7 is noteworthy, though.

I guess it was more of a shameless plug for the site itself, though.

3 years 5 months ago

While, I enjoy reading Peter S’s columns when I can (The Sun suffers from an Eclipse) meaning they charge to read their paper online. I think he’s being a bit optimistic to say Gregg will be traded. I can’t think of one team that would want him no matter how much salary the O’s are willing to eat. There is simply no demand for him, not even Oriole fans demand for him.

The Blue Jays may be the best-positioned of any team to benefit from the expanded playoff format. I like the Royals a bit more, but like the Blue Jays the chances lie how well their rotation does.

As for the Phillies they better have a top rotation, they paid enough in trade and salary to have that distinction.

Rabbitov
3 years 5 months ago

My problem with Peter is he rarely ever has any real news, he just gives opinions, and he’s not the first person to suggest this move.  

not_brooks
3 years 5 months ago

There are easily eight relievers in Baltimore who are most likely better than Kevin Gregg, though that isn’t saying much…

Ayala, Bergesen, Berken, Johnson, Lindstrom, O’Day, Phillips, Strop, with Eveland and Wada in that group as well if they don’t make the rotation.

I doubt the O’s will be able to trade Gregg, even if they eat 90% of his salary, but I’d be happy to see him cut, a la Jay Gibbons a few years back.

mstrchef13
3 years 5 months ago

What I would like to see is for them to eat 80% of his salary and trade him to the Cubs for the Rule 5 pick (Flaherty) so we can send him down to Norfolk and still keep him.

not_brooks
3 years 5 months ago

Why would the Cubs give up the chance to get Flahery back in exchange for a 34-year-old reliever who they already dumped once?

mstrchef13
3 years 5 months ago

Because they are the Cubs? Oh, wait. They have Epstein in charge now. Damn.

3 years 5 months ago

I find it difficult to believe the Orioles will be able to find a sucker to take Gregg off their hands for any amount of money right now. Dude was flat-out awful last season.

Their only option is to hope he fixes whatever was wrong last year and bounces back to his average/slightly below average self and someone is desperate enough to take him for a D prospect at the deadline and saving a million dollars or so in salary. I think keeping him around for that slight chance is probably better than waiving him, its not like he can singlehandedly kill our playoff hopes Though thats possibly only because you can’t get lower than a 0% chance to start the season with.

mstrchef13
3 years 5 months ago

Problem is what was wrong with him is what has always been wrong with him, and that is he refuses to throw strikes. For all his stuff and his live fastball, he seems to have no confidence whatsoever that he can actually challenge a hitter and get them out. It’s entirely mental for him, interms of his attitude and his game plan. Just once I would like to see him come into the game with the idea that, “I’ve got a very good fastball and a pretty good slider, and I don’t think you can hit them. Here they are, prove me wrong.” Unfortunately, that’s just not his MO, and it’s why he’s got the worst ERA in the history of baseball for someone with at least five 20-save seasons (I’m not sure where I read that, but I totally believe it).

Rabbitov
3 years 5 months ago

In terms of not saying much. 

Have you seen O’Day’s stats before last year? He has had filthy numbers in the past.  Strop and Johnson could be really solid too, with Eveland being someone I have some faith in bouncing back for some odd reason.  Lots of good players in the pipeline too (Patton and a ton of other names that could be bullpen bound).  I don’t think the O’s do much of anything this year, but I bet you the O’s have a sneaky good bullpen this year.  

Also I wouldn’t cut Gregg, but he’s worth a salary dump.  He wasn’t completely useless as a reliever last year, just a really really bad closer. 

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

Time to break out, Mr. Bethancourt. I’d hate to see them lose McCann, but I don’t see him returning without a home-town discount(a rather substantial one at that).

basemonkey
3 years 5 months ago

THe Orioles bullpen situation for Jim Johnson doesn’t really have that much to do with a lead he has over Gregg. It’s moreso to do with the fact that they have the most out-of-option players in baseball, most of them pitchers, and they’re so stocked up on starting pitchers that they will have to be creative with the roster to keep that depth into the season.They may have to make several trades just from having to releasing a few roster-worthy arms.

Rabbitov
3 years 5 months ago

They really made some odd roster moves going into spring training.  I think a lot of people (including myself) want to see this bad O’s team give players like Jai Miller and Flaherty a chance.  Of course we go out and sign Betemit, which all but guarantees Jai and Flaherty doesn’t make the roster.  (at best 1/2 of them will).  

3 years 5 months ago

Kevin Gregg may be at the twilight of his closer days, and should probably be an 8th inning guy (or 7th). But, cheer up, Kevin….you haven’t gone totally Eric Gagne (yet)

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

“you haven’t gone totally Eric Gagne (yet)”

Ask the Cub fans from ’09 that and adding to that? Gregg is a “closer” who was happily ran out of every town he ever pitched for.. Say that as a Fish Fan, who watched Gregg, even then with that nasty habit of walking the 1st batter or 2 and then sweating hand grenades on the mound.. All from his own doing..

NYBravosFan10
3 years 5 months ago

Frank Wren comes off as the type of GM that says this “I don’t give a crap what Yodeler Semolina signed for, we’re handling this on our own and you can make up all the silly rumors you want. You don’t know diddly squat about what we’re discussing and you’re never going to until an agreement is made, now go away”

CT
3 years 5 months ago

Completely agree.  No one knew about the Uggla deal or Bourn deal, until they were finalized.

Coollet
3 years 5 months ago

AL East, you’ve been warned.

Signed, a Jays fan

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

The Marlins and Nationals didn’t get better? Heck, I think the Braves will have a better season than last year…..Still picking the Phillies, but to say the competition didn’t get better is stretching it to say the least…..

kräftig. entschieden
3 years 5 months ago

Well, their competition in the NL East certainly got better. They won’t be able to walk over the Nats and the Marlins like they have in recent years.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

Did you miss that Washington got Gonzalez, plus they have a (hopefully) healthy Strasburg and a nearly MLB-ready Harper? Also, the Marlins went crazy in free agency, so they’re clearly better. A full season of Bourn on the Braves and more experience for heir yougn SPs should lead to overall improvement.

Really, it’s the NL Central that’s taken a hit, though they added Latos to their ranks. The Cards and Brewers are due to trail off a little, though I think Marcum’s going to be better this season for Milwaukee.

Over in the NL West, it’s fairly even-leveled. The Dodgers are financially problematic, so they didn’t do much. The Giants improved on offense, by grabbing Cabrera and Pagan in the OF. The Diamondbacks added Cahill, and Bauer and Skaggs should show up in 2012, plus Kubel will give the offense a bit of a boost (as will a potentially-healthy Drew).

Overall, I think the NL improved from top-to-bottom, but the top teams (STL, MIL, PHI) lost something.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

 I think it’s fair to say that the Braves haven’t gotten any worse. A full season of Bourn opposed to 53 games will help. They do have health-risks in the rotation, but it’s deep enough to be one of the best in the league. Not expecting another historical performance out of the pen, but they’ve got a ton of depth there too. Heyward’s shoulder is healthy and there isn’t a person alive who can convince me that his shoulder injury wasn’t the biggest reason for his seemingly season-long slump last year. Uggla shouldn’t go MIA in the first-half. Prado, while not a prototypical left-fielder, should see a rebound of sorts. Almost every starting position player saw their OBP dip below their career norms last season and they still managed to miss out on the playoffs by just one game, I’m not confident in that offensive performance sustaining itself.

rundmc1981
3 years 5 months ago

Who on ATL had elbow problems? Jurrjens had knee problems and Hanson had shoulder problems – which has tweaked his delivery to respond – but I don’t remember anyone having elbow problems.

Still, I’d rather deal with that then have my 2 aces not too far removed from TJ surgery (Stras, Zimm), and Stras still hasn’t put together a full season.

mstrchef13
3 years 5 months ago

When talking about Gonzalez, keep in mind that while the Mauseleum is indeed quite pitcher friendly, Nats Park isn’t exactly a hitter haven either.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

160 innings of Strasburg is better than the 24 they got from him last season? Gonzalez is also going to be an improvement over what they had. His BB/9 has gone down each of the past 3 season, as has his FIP. His WAR has also gone up each of the past 3 seasons, with his 2011 WAR of 3.5 being higher than any Nats pitcher last season. It’s an improvement.

The Braves’ staff mgiht have questions, but it had them last season. Relative to what they WERE, they’re going to improve. Chipper and Heyward couldn’t have been worse last season, so any useful actions on their parts is improvement.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

 Well, Hudson did have back surgery and should miss a few weeks. He says his back is feeling stronger than it has in years though, so that’s good news.

Minor can’t do any worse than Lowe in the #5 spot. If he does, the Braves have Teheran, Delgado, and Medlen as options if he does.

A lot of people are underestimating pitching depth. Sure, a lot of these guys are unproven but they’re highly ranked for a reason. Wren’s banking on some of these position players bouncing back and it’s a solid bet that they do. If they don’t and the rotation is more or less healthy, they’ve got plenty of chips to acquire a bat.

Maybe I’m just a homer, but on paper I’ve got them winning one of the Wild Cards.

IndianaBob
3 years 5 months ago

 Derth, correctly spelled dearth, means scarcity.  I think you mean plethora.

lefty177
3 years 5 months ago

can’t forget that the D’Backs have a full season of a monster 1st baseman (Goldschmidt)

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

 They’re capable, sure. And with the additions of Medlen and Vizcaino it’s even somewhat realistic to expect it to be a better overall pen. I just worry about Kimbrel and Venters workloads, but as long as the Braves have a better offensive showing than last year those guys won’t be used as much(Vizcaino, Varvarro, and Medlen to me are more reliable than Linebrink, Sherrill, and Proctor as well).

rundmc1981
3 years 5 months ago

O’Flaherty was the 1st RP in MLB history (with more than 70 IP) to record less than a 1.00 ERA. It’s safe to say that he won’t repeat that, but even if he doesn’t, it’s okay with me. He’ll still be better than 95% of the LH situational pitchers out there today.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

 I don’t really blame Fredi for it. The Braves were in more high-leverage situations than any team in recent memory. In fact, they played the most extra-innings games of any team since 1922. Fredi did cut down on using them late in the season, but both were extremely ineffective there at the end.

If I’m not mistaken, Kimbrel and Venters made the most appearances in the league last year. That’s a bit worrisome when you consider Kimbrel was a rookie and Venters is in just his 2nd year. Venters has made 164 appearances these last two seasons, most of any pitcher in baseball.

But like I said, as long as Medlen and Vizcaino can prove their worth, those two should be fine.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

Heyward, Bourn, Prado, or Uggla….none of them have to have career years and nobody is really expecting any of them to. They just need to do more than last year, which is pretty reasonable to expect.

Anytime I see ‘mark my words’ I tend to give up on discussing any particular topic, but hey…..I’m a bit bored.

Bourn
Prado
Chipper
McCann
Uggla
Freeman
Heyward
Pastornicky

That’s a solid lineup. Look at their stats from last year and their career stats(excluding Heyward, Pastornicky, and Freeman….obviously). Heyward and Prado were borderline pathetic last year and saw major injuries. This same team(replace Infante with Uggla) led the league in OBP in 2010 and finished near the bottom last year. Again, it’s unreasonable to expect that to continue.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

A potentially monster 1B, a potentially sub-Carlos Pena 1B.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

A potentially monster 1B, a potentially sub-Carlos Pena 1B.

IndianaBob
3 years 5 months ago

 His BABIP versus righties was .365 last year with a 20% line drive rate.  I think that might fall some next year.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

He also did that while posting his lowest WAR in a season in his career, and while sitting just behind Alberto Callaspo and Placido Polanco in WAR, and while playing the second-fewest games in a season in his career.

By Chipper’s standards, he couldn’t have been worse.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

Using Chipper was a bad example though. Generally players don’t increase their WAR at age 39……The fact is that he was a top 5 player at his position last year.

Also, his 2009 WAR was his lowest and he played just 95 games in 2009, 110 in 2006, and 109 in 2005.

It’s more accurate to say Heyward and Prado couldn’t have been more useless last year. Point still stands though, and I agree with you. Just a bit confused why you chose the teams 2nd-best hitter last season as an example, especially when you consider how well he hit down the stretch when nobody else but Uggla was producing.

*EDIT* I see you’re using fWAR, my bad there. I’d be thrilled if he could put up that exact season this year though.

KJ4realz
3 years 5 months ago

Exactly. His numbers may get worse but it’s not like he’s going to pitch in Coors, which everyone seems to think OS happening.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

It’s very dependent on the WAR version you use. First off, IDK how I messed up on the games played total–just plain wrong on it.

As far as the fact I’m using fWAR, that’s right. By it, Chipper was 4th on the team offensively, behind Heyward by 0.1. The reason for that is Chipper’s a 3B by title only. His -8.0 UZR was one of the worst in baseball.

The same goes for his positional WAR. Jones was 16th in fWAR for all 3B with 200+ plate appearances at the position (I set it to 200 because there were so many big injuries at 3B in 2011).

The reason I didn’t choose Prado is because he doesn’t have the history of production Jones has, and he’s also not got the track record of truly being a starter (2010 was his only season with more than 130 games played).

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

You make a compelling argument, but I was referring to Chipper as being the team’s 2nd best ‘hitter.’

Prado became an everyday player the minute the Braves gave up on Kelly Johnson, which was around the middle of 2009. He’s qualified for the batting title 3 straight seasons and the vast majority of his plate appearances through that span came as a starter. From 2008 through 2010 he had a .309, .358, .461 line(over 1,400 plate appearances) compared to his .260, .302, .385 line from last year. The games he missed were due to injury, one being a complete fluke.

I suppose I lean towards fWAR in most cases(and always with pitching), so you’ve sold me on Chipper’s overall performance last year. Still though, he most certainly can do worse than that.

Thanks for not getting all snarky. This is apparently a pretty ‘sensitive’ forum. Haven’t had too many reasonable discussions lately….

Jeff
3 years 5 months ago

The blame for the overuse of the pen should be on Larry Parrish more then anyone else. 

CT
3 years 5 months ago

Is this a joke?  How are the Braves a mess?  I don’t think there’s any chance the Braves finish 4th, unless they have multiple major injuries.  The Braves got healthy during the offseason, which I see as comparable to signing FAs. 

Clayton Wilson
3 years 5 months ago

 Let’s see…..

In 2010 the Braves finished tops in the league in OBP/walks and toward the bottom in homers. Management made it a priority to not only upgrade their power(hence the Uggla trade) the following year, but preach it to the players. Sure, they didn’t hit for a high AVG in 2010 and didn’t have the prettiest lineup in the world, but they finished 5th in the league in both runs and runs per game despite losing Chipper after 93 games.

Now, take that same team but subtract Infante and Glaus/Hinske for Uggla and Freeman. Largely due to this new ‘aggressive’ approach they didn’t need in the first place, they ended up finishing 14th in the NL in OBP……which resulted in a below-average runs and runs per game mark. The aggressive approach worked to generate more power, they finished 3rd in homers last season.

That’s not the only factor in their poor offensive showing last season. Two of their three best hitters from 2010 were injured for the better part of last season. Check out Heyward’s numbers before he felt his shoulder pop. Prado, while not up to his usual standards, was also producing before the staph infection. While you’re at it, take a look at these guys career norms compared to last year, particularly in OBP. Do you honestly see that sustaining itself?

Base-running. The Braves were miserable on the bases for most of last year, and even Bourn somewhat disappointed in his short stint. They finished 14th in SB and their success rate was pretty low. 150+ games of Bourn, with the addition of Pastornicky, Constanza, and a slimmer Heyward could do wonders to help generate more runs. The Braves haven’t had this much speed in years. Hopefully Prado isn’t allowed to attempt them anymore…..

I doubt the Uggla deal will look all that great when all is said and done, but I also doubt it’ll be a ‘waste’ of money. Did you see what he did in the second-half? And don’t you think it’s a little unfair to say that Heyward isn’t ‘nearly’ as good as advertised considering his age, his fantastic rookie campaign, and the fact that he dealt with a bum shoulder for 75% of last season while still contributing 2.2 WAR? Come on…..

Also, you are aware that pitching depth is a pretty valuable asset…right? Assuming Hudson and Hanson stay healthy, they’ll have plenty of chips to get a bat if they feel they need one.

cubs223425
3 years 5 months ago

You should join the forums. We have them all the time, haha, We need more intelligent folks around there.

rundmc1981
3 years 5 months ago

If you’ve seen ATL play, they haven’t walked all over WSH in quite some time. They have trouble beating historically weak competition. Maybe their additions will convince Chipper and the Gang to put up a fight and not get 1-hit.