Quick Hits: Blazek, Axford, Olt, Frasor, Santana, Rays

The Brewers shipped out reliever John Axford to the Cardinals at last year's trade deadline, bringing back young righty Michael Blazek. Milwaukee has been impressed with the 25-year-old, with manager Ron Roenicke saying he profiles as a late-inning arm, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentine. Meanwhile, after being non-tendered by the Cards and signed by the Indians, Axford hopes to continue learning from his brief stint in St. Louis. As MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports, his former club informed him that he'd been tipping pitches, and Axford hopes that correction — along with regained velocity — will allow him to return to his peak form. 

Here are more stray notes from around the game …

  • Another trade deadline mover, Mike Olt of the Cubs, has shown substantial improvement in the eyesight issues that plagued him last year with the Rangers, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times. Though his prospect stock has fallen in the meantime, all that matters to Olt is maintaining his health. "As long as I'm healthy," he said, "I know that I can do what I was capable of."
  • Reliever Jason Frasor explained that he elected to re-sign with the Rangers for the simple reason that he likes playing for the club, reports Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com"Free agency isn't that great for middle relievers," he said. "I never wanted to be the kind of guy that bounced around from team to team as middle relievers often do with one-year deals. I found a place I really, really liked. … I think I was the first [free agent] to sign [this offseason]. I just didn't feel it was worth it to try to scrape out maybe a little better contract … ."
  • One free agent who faces a much more open-ended market is former ace Johan Santana. As Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports, Santana has fielded interest from at least three American League clubs. The 34-year-old is hoping to be ready to take the mound in a big league game in June.
  • The Rays' roster battle features several situations where options will play a role, reports Bill Chastain of MLB.com. Among the players who must make the active roster or face a DFA are Chris Archer, Josh Lueke, Jake McGee, Cesar Ramos, Brandon Guyer, and Matt Joyce

52 Responses to Quick Hits: Blazek, Axford, Olt, Frasor, Santana, Rays Leave a Reply

  1. Kyle Smith 1 year ago

    M’s should make a move for Brandon Guyer if the Rays don’t have room for him

    • RaysfaninMN 1 year ago

      Guyer is going to be the 4th OF this year. Lueke and Ramos would be DFA’d before him. Rays have plenty of BP arms in the minors that could replace them.

  2. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    Josh Lueke is a terrible human being so hopefully he gets dropped before anyone else.

    • Patrick 1 year ago

      Seems to be the way Tampa Bay rolls: get unlikable guys on the team.

  3. Jeffy25 1 year ago

    Neat that the cards caught the tip.

    Always cool when that stuff is known

    • Jeffy25 1 year ago

      Although, axford was good enough against the cards in 2013 that apparently it wasn’t so much of a tale that he couldn’t pitch around it.

  4. 0vercast 1 year ago

    I wonder if Johan has considered a relief role. It would almost certainly help him maintain his health. Let’s face it: he’s quite fragile in this stage of his career. Money shouldn’t be an issue anymore, not that relievers are playing for scraps. A veteran, lefty, power-reliever that can hold his own will have the top contenders lining up.

    Honestly, I just really want to see this guy continue to pitch. It’s a real treat to me.

  5. Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

    If Mike Olt can turn it around and go back to the player he was projected to be, what a bonus that would be for the Cubs and what a deal the Garza trade would be for 2 months of Graza (Edwards, Olt, Ramirez, Grimm) He would allow Bryant to move to the OF and what a power lineup the Cubs could have with Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, and Olt maybe by June comes around

    • John Wiszezur 1 year ago

      While I wouldn’t be shocked to see Baez up at the end of June or early July, I think Bryant would absolutely have to destroy Double A and maybe even AAA to have a shot. It seems the Cubs brass wants to keep him down this year.

      But yeah, I am getting rather excited about the futureā€¦and trying to be as patient as possible!

      • Mil8Ball 1 year ago

        Yah I would be very patient if I were you. They have little to no pitching in the minors. Even their top pitching prospects are questionable when talking about the rotation.

        Things better turn around fast or I see lots of 90 loss seasons ahead….not saying things can’t change, but right now pitching wise they have an awful future outlook.

        • Trock 1 year ago

          If there position players mash like they are projected to, I see the Cubs going hard the next 2 offseasons for premier pitching (or possibly packaging some of there other prospects that don’t necessarily pan out for their plan)

          • Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

            Soler would be a guy I would give up for pitching. Not as high on him for some reason. Also, if Alcantara turns out to do well in majors, I would make Castro tradable as well.

          • Trock 1 year ago

            I forgot about Alcantara. As far as OF, I am not sure which one I would want to trade for pitching. I don’t foresee all of them panning out, but we have 5 guys who are supposed to be pretty darn good in the OF and offensive producers, so I am thinking at least 3 pan out. Just gotta figure out which ones will!

          • Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

            Soler is the risky one of them all

        • Strugz 1 year ago

          The Cubs pitching situation is not as bad as people make it out to be. There are a lot of players that can contribute at least in the bullpen or back of the rotation.

          If you’re talking about high ceiling guys, then yea, there’s not much there. The Cubs minor league pitching is shadowed by the position players, but is better than a number of other teams.

        • Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

          Like to add that the Cubs do have money and can spend it on the free agent market. If Max Scherzer goes on the market, Cubs will go after him

        • cachhubguy 1 year ago

          This year will be the last 90 loss season for a long, long time.

    • Trock 1 year ago

      I would like to see Bryant get more seasoning before being called up. However< I think later this season is the time to call up the young kids and see how they play. They need to poise themselves for next offseason early, as I feel if the kids can mash, they go after pitching hard the next offseason, have a cheap young team that is cost controlled and sink good money into building your rotation. Trade Shark. If the Cubs position players are as good as they say they will be, Shark isn't that great of a pitcher and would be back of the rotation depending on who they pick up for there starting rotation.

      • Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

        Yes, Cubs have to trade Shark this season. All got to hope he pitches like an all-star from April-July and then trade him. Just look at the deal we got for Garza for 2 months. You can double that if Shark pitches well

        • Trock 1 year ago

          Shark has a lot of pressure riding on him. I don’t think he is an ace on any team, but a lot of Cubs fans make him out to be that. I think he wants to be that guy, so he tries beyond his potential. He could POSSIBLY be a 2 guy (I think hes got potential still) but is more likely a 3/4 guy on a team (some teams even a 5, or not making the rotation).
          If he can pitch to his means, he can have a solid year and we can get a good package for him.

          • Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

            I agree with you on not being an Ace, but I think on all the other teams he is a number 3-4 starter.

          • Rod MacKay 1 year ago

            Name one team in the majors where he isn’t a starter right now??? That’s just absurd. I don’t think he’s a true #1, but he eats innings and if he can get his walks under control, he’s easily a #2 on pretty much any team. What you have to remember is that this is only his 3rd year as a starter in the majors even though he’s 29. He’s getting better every year (minus the walks…. uuuuuugggggghhhhh), and is pretty durable. People will pay him one way or the other. If Edwin Jackson can get that much money, Shark is going to see >$20M per year easily. Kings ransom back or sign him to a big deal IMHO.

  6. AmericanMovieFan 1 year ago

    Santana was very well compensated for one very good season, two so-so seasons and three lost seasons, two of which he never played. I think if he really wants to play the game but still wants “fair” compensation, he takes a league minimum contract, but with plenty of easily attainable incentives based on innings pitched, days on/off the DL, etc. that would take it up to, say $5MM. OR, you know, he could just play for the league minimum with no incentives…

    • Who would do that?

    • Who would do that?

    • 0vercast 1 year ago

      Santana has TWO Cy Young Awards, both from seasons that were nearly identical. So-so seasons don’t win those things.

      • AmericanMovieFan 1 year ago

        I’m referring to his time on the Mets, not his Twins years. I’m viewing it in the time period of his most recently expired contract. In those six years, he had one standard-issue Santana season like his years as a Twin, but after that he was either mediocre or injured. So, for the past 5 years, he’s been virtually worthless, objectively, yet he’s been paid $120MM for those years. Hence, I think it’s justifiable for him to take a virtually worthless contract, merely to re-establish value. If he’s vintage Santana or above-average, then he’ll deserve an eight-figure guaranteed deal again, but first he needs to stay healthy.

        I cringe when I think of some of the loftier come back contracts in sports: $5MM for Grady Sizemore after he was injured on the back half of his $24MM extension. Then there’s the A’s giving Ben Sheets $10MM guaranteed despite the year off. In other sports: Greg Oden getting $1.5MM for literally nothing.

        Anyway, I just think the best structure for come back deals is a very low base salary with plenty of lucrative performance-based incentives built into the deal.

  7. mstrchef13 1 year ago

    How do Archer and McGee NOT make the Rays roster?

    • Matt Galvin 1 year ago

      The guys that were mentioned who are on the 40 man will make it.

      • Holy Smokes 1 year ago

        McGee won’t close. He’ll be back in the 7th inning since Peralta is here. Joe likes hitters seeing gas in the 7th, junk in the 8th and a mixture in the 9th.

      • RaysfaninMN 1 year ago

        Your first point is correct but Balfour is the closer. McGee is LSU. Joyce is their primary DH.

      • RaysfaninMN 1 year ago

        Your edit is now almost correct except DDJ is in LF. DDJ/Guyer/SRod platoon in Left, DJ in center, Myers in Right. Third edit the charm?

  8. burnboll 1 year ago

    I wonder if mike Olt is the new Lars Anderson.

    • parkdav 1 year ago

      Just cringed at Lars name. How sad.

    • Brian Baker 1 year ago

      Justin Smoak is/was Lars Anderson at the same time. Mariners just kept playing him anyways!

  9. Holy Smokes 1 year ago

    Archer – McGee – Joyce in. Ramos and Guyer – will have to force a decision in ST. Probably more Guyer than Ramos – Lueke is gone.

  10. Brian Baker 1 year ago

    Cubs guys, where do you see Olt long term? 3B or corner OF? Same question for your 1st rounder last year.


    • BlueCatuli 1 year ago

      Depends on other players.

    • schaddy24 1 year ago

      As BlueCatuli said, it all depends on the development of other players, namely Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. The Cubs are currently in a scenario where they have too many promising infield prospects, and not enough open positions. Good problem to have, but it’s unlikely that all the prospect will pan out. Right now they are in a ‘wait and see’ stage. I personally hope that Olt has a great spring and makes the opening day roster.

      • 0vercast 1 year ago

        With any luck, the Cubbies will have the most wicked left-side-of-the-infield in baseball in a couple years. Castro can move to second base or to the OF if he wants to remain on the Northside.

        • schaddy24 1 year ago

          That is certainly one option. Then add Arismendy Alcantara’s name to the mix and it gets even harder to determine a future infield. I think he has a chance of being a poor mans J-Roll, but this season will be particularly important in his development. I’m excited to see the Cubs, Twins, and Astros contend in 3/4 years. All those farms are loaded.

          • meinhardt1992 1 year ago

            from what i have heard it sounds like Bryant will go to the OF along with the upcoming rookies of Soler, Almora (supposably a five tool player), and Lake (this does not include Jackson and other players who could go there) the infield that I heard would be if Olt pans out he will be at 3B and if he doesnt bryant will move there Beaz at SS Beaz at 2B or i have even heard 3B, Alcantara has been mentioned to play 2B and obviously Rizzo will play 1B. needless to say the Cubs will have a deep roster of decent players if all players pan out like planed. The Cubs just need pitching depth

          • BlueCatuli 1 year ago

            They have pitching depth, just nota TOR guy that screams ace. A lot of guys that are 3-4 ceilings that could develop into 2s. Really want to see Paul Blackburn have a nice year. He could breakout and be a top five in their system.

      • BlueCatuli 1 year ago

        Next offseason, and even the trade deadline this year, the Cubs could trade from depth to acquire some front end pitching.

        • schaddy24 1 year ago

          Agreed. I think Soler would be the first prospect on the list to be traded. If Alcantara and Olt both pan out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baez move to the OF, thus making Soler the odd man out with a OF of Baez, Almora, Bryant. Not saying it’s likely, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • Trock 1 year ago

      Kind of on board with what everyone else is saying. I am hoping Olt pans out at 3rd, moving Bryant (which I hear he has some time at) to the OF with Almora and Soler in the OF with Jackson and Lake possibly for bench (if they all pan out, I say move one of the two in a package for some sort of ML pitching).
      Baez at SS and Castro over to 2nd (I heard Baez is a filthy SS. Castro hasn’t really proved to me IMO that he is an elite SS) so he slides over. Rizzo at first and then all you have to worry about then is FA pitching and doing something at catcher

      • cachhubguy 1 year ago

        Castillo had 3.2 WAR last year. Catcher not a big need right now.

        • Trock 1 year ago

          I am not sure why I forgot about Castillo. Thanks!

          • Shane Flannagan 1 year ago

            I’m hoping the Cubs pick Alex Jackson with their first pick this year he’s a catcher. Allow 3-4 years for him to develop and Castillo is good enough to stick around for those years

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