Cafardo On Britton, Norris, Garza, Red Sox

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that strikeouts are on the rise this season and there are an abundance of theories as to why.  One prominent AL GM believes that the umps are using a wider strike zone.  Former pitcher Curt Schilling believes the strikeouts are piling up because there are more power arms than ever before.  Others believe that there are a lot of youngsters in the game right now who may not be major league ready, leading to a lot of Ks.  Here's more from today's column..

  • As the Orioles look for pitching help, there’s an increasing feeling among baseball people that Zach Britton is the arm the Orioles could dangle in a deal.  The 25-year-old has begun the season well in Norfolk and has 1.98 ERA with five strikeouts and seven walks in three starts. 
  • Astros pitcher Bud Norris could be the No. 1 guy on contenders’ wish lists – along with the Cubs’ Matt Garza, if he’s healthy and productive – according to an AL GM.  Erik Bedard can also draw interest but he has an injury history, which scares teams off.  Carlos Pena has value because of his power and could find himself on a contender if he has a strong showing in Houston.
  • Scouts feel that Red Sox minor league outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker has put himself back on the map as a player teams might be interested in trading for.  Early in the season, the 25-year-old has a slash line of .271/.308/.563 with four homers in Triple-A.  Scouts say he has taken a far more aggressive approach at the plate and is swinging at good pitches in good counts.  Hazelbaker is also showing some power and is considered a plus defensive outfielder.
  • The Red Sox never pursued Ted Lilly while he was available because it would have been too difficult to add him to the 25-man roster. The Sox have been looking for a veteran starter they can keep at Triple-A in reserve, but haven’t found the right guy. 
  • Brad Penny is still a free agent and looking to get back to the majors.  However, he's still waiting for a team to bite.  The 34-year-old last pitched for the Giants in 2012 and also had a disappointing few months with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan. 

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