NL East Notes: Matsuzaka, Lannan, Burnett, Medlen

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Braves inked Cuban backstop Yenier Bello to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. Bello is likely ticketed to begin his career here in the minors, but he adds some critical catcher depth to the Braves, who of course lost Brian McCann to the Yankees this offseason. More from the NL East to kick off your Monday morning…

  • Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Newsday's Marc Carig (Twitter link) that Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are the favorites to win the fifth spot in his rotation. MLB.com's Marty Noble writes that Collins is still considering Jenrry Mejia, though the youngster is more likely to be used in a long relief role out of Spring Training. Noble writes that the Mets feel that role would allow Mejia to continue to build arm strength and can also serve as a developmental tool.
  • ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin writes that Mike Piazza is in Mets camp to serve as a special instructor but says he's not looking to get into coaching on a full-time basis anytime soon. Piazza says he has a seven-month old son, so his focus appears to be on his family. Travis d'Arnaud calls Piazza's tutelage "a dream," as the Long Beach, Calif. native grew up idolizing Piazza as a Dodgers fan.
  • New Phillies hurler A.J. Burnett made his Spring Training debut over the weekend, and it came against his former club, the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Burnett himself both told Biertempfel that there was nothing weird about Burnett pitching against the Bucs instead of for them, and neither hinted at any ill will. Hurdle simply called the change "part of the game," and Burnett offered nothing but respect for his former club.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark writes that although the Braves lost Tim Hudson to the Giants via free agency, talk that the club lacks an ace is overblown, as Kris Medlen has developed into that type of pitcher for the team. Assistant GM John Coppolella said of Medlen: "Look, the fact that he’s not 6 feet tall and that fact that he doesn't throw 95 [mph] makes it seem like he’s not a power guy, but he’s very good with what he does. … He’s a huge part of our staff. And we hope he will be for a long time."


32 Responses to NL East Notes: Matsuzaka, Lannan, Burnett, Medlen Leave a Reply

  1. Ron Loreski 1 year ago

    The term “Ace” gets thrown around way too much. I’d say there are about 10 pitchers in the league that are a true ace. So there are alot of teams that don’t have one.

    • k26dp 1 year ago

      Agreed. That includes the World Champion Boston Red Sox.

      • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

        Completely agree. Jon Lester is the anchor of that staff, but that doesn’t make him an ace.

        Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee, Chris Sale, and Yu Darvish are the only pitchers I think are true aces. Darvish may even be questionable.

        • bhambravesfan 1 year ago

          Add David Price and Stephen Strasburg to that list and I completely agree. A lot of fringe guys but only 9 Aces

          • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

            I included Price. I only left Strasburg off because I wanna see him put up those numbers one more year. I put Strasburg in the same category as Max Scherzer. Great, but do it again.

          • bhambravesfan 1 year ago

            I meant Scherzer and Strasburg, sorry

          • JCurrie39 1 year ago

            Max Scherzer is an ace too

          • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

            Max Scherzer pitched like an ace last season. But he hasn’t consistently done it for years.

          • stl_cards16 1 year ago

            I think part of being a true Ace is also being a workhorse. Strasburg has never thrown 190 innings in a season. I don’t think he is there , yet.

          • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

            If he throws 200+ innings this season, he’ll qualify as an Ace.

        • GoFish 1 year ago

          Chris Sale?

          • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

            Wow…I have to admit I forgot about Sale. Ya he belongs on the list. I’m gonna edit him in there lol.

        • Thomas J Botchulism 1 year ago

          If Chris Sale belongs on this list, so does Cole Hamels. Hes been doing the same thing, just a lot longer.

          • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

            I don’t like Cole Hamels.

          • Thomas J Botchulism 1 year ago

            Me either, and I am a Phillies fan from Philadelphia. Popularity doesn’t make a pitcher an Ace. But numbers do. If you are going to say Chris Sale is an Ace only after 2 full years, while going 11-14 with a 3.07 ERA in 2013. These are numbers comparable with what Hamels has done in 8 years straight. Chris Sale is not an Ace just as Cole Hamels in not an Ace. Cliff Lee should be the #1 starter on the squad because he is an Ace. What makes Sale an ace???

        • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

          Madison Bumgarner should probably be on this list. And, though I’ll sound like a homer, Hamels should be too.

          If you go by FIP, over the last 2 years with 400+ IP, there are 3 distinct levels.
          Tier 1: Kershaw, Felix, Wainwright
          Tier 2: Lee, Scherzer, Verlander
          Tier 3: Sale, Hamels, Bumgarner, Darvish

          Price misses out because of injury last year (but would have landed in the 2nd tier had he qualified).

          If you want to go to a 3 year sample, with 600+ IP, still using FIP, you get 2 levels, but a smaller group.
          Tier 1: Kershaw, Lee, Felix
          Tier 2: Verlander, Bumgarner, Price, Hamels

          This obviously leaves out Waino, Sale, and Darvish because they don’t hit the innings numbers (be it from injury or not being in the league). Scherzer also missed the innings cutoff (by about 5 innings) – but wouldn’t have landed in either tier.

          • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

            Baumgarner is a number 2 or 3 pitcher. I don’t care what his FIP is. An ace isn’t solely based on numbers.

  2. bhambravesfan 1 year ago

    I’m interested to see this Bello kid play. Sometime it’s the diamond in the rough that becomes the real prize. Look at Hisashi Iwakuma

  3. JCurrie39 1 year ago

    I wonder who the mets will start opening day. If Harvey was healthy he’s the obvious choice but seeing as he’s not

  4. mattynokes 1 year ago

    I found it funny that apparently the Braves “needed to add an ace” and a guy like Samardzija is mentioned. Have those people compared his numbers to Medlen’s? They aren’t even close enough to claim park factors as the difference. Honestly, I think what hurt Medlen was his 2012 numbers. Because he didn’t come close to those numbers in ’13 (not sure why people expected a repeat anyways) people get the assumption that he “regressed” or “isn’t as good as advertised”. It’s kind of like having $100 dollars and spending $10. You still have more than the guy with $80.

    • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

      People call Samardzija an Ace because his K/9 is nice for fantasy baseball. Nothing about the guy is worthy of Ace.

      • blob 1 year ago

        swingstrk% and k-rate make him a likely candidate to take a big step forward, so i guess thats why he gets so much love, but yea i agree with you. potential and production are two very different things.

        • Ron Loreski 1 year ago

          I’d say he’s on the same level as Brandon Morrow from a few years ago. I think we’ve already seen the best of him.

          • blob 1 year ago

            Yea I actually almost edited it to add his name for comparison. lol

  5. I don’t think the Braves need to have an ace right now, but their lack of pitchers who fit that mold is one of the reasons why they haven’t advanced in a single playoff series in quite awhile.

    • blob 1 year ago

      meh. minor, teheran, and medlen are all good enough to win in the postseason. plus, i think its especially hard this year to justify saying ATL has to go out and get one of the top 10 arms in baseball, or whatever, if it wants to compete when we just saw BOS win it all. atl outproduced that group. the pitching is good enough.

      honestly, they just always seem to shoot themselves in the foot come october. no idea why that is. it wasn’t because of a lack of talent last season, though.

      • Lester and Lackey both had ample playoff experience prior to 2013. The notion that they were able to win without an ace is overblown given that they had two pitchers who won clinching World Series games under their belts.

        • blob 1 year ago

          Very true. That’s a great point. But, going into ’14 there really aren’t any arms in their rotation now that lack playoff experience (If we’re talking about guys that would be most likely to start in the playoffs). So either way, I don’t see that being a huge issue for them for the 2014 season, at least not enough that it’d override whatever ginormous cost it would’ve incurred to grab Price. I wouldn’t expect it right off the bat, but I also don’t think it’s absurd to think they could get ace-production from one of the guys they already have. I actually think it was wise for them to stand pat. It was purely a case of a front office using restraint and that seems to be rare these days.

    • MJ 1 year ago

      Is it? Because I thought it was because they didn’t put Kimbrel in to send it to Game 5 when they had the chance. Weird. Didn’t realize Freddy Garcia was the problem in that one.

      And rewinding further back I didn’t know holding the Giants to fewer EARNED runs than what we scored for the entire series was the problem either. Brooks Conrad says hello for that one.

      The WC game? I think Chipper fully takes the blame in suddenly forgeting how to defend. Uggla didn’t help either. Neither did an infield fly but we were already down at that point so not gonna blame the call totally.

      Seriously though, come to think of it I don’t remember our starting pitching ever being the problem in recent years that kept us from advancing. Ever. Feel free to actually come up with some facts if I’m missing something though.

      • I said quite awhile, not just the recent years. Their playoff dominance has been nonexistent since the days of Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux. You are correct about recent years and I don’t doubt you’d be able to put to other reasons why they didn’t advance in any given year. That doesn’t mean that playoff proven starters aren’t a helpful commodity.

        • MJ 1 year ago

          That’s the thing. I’m not convinced they would have changed anything in the Braves playoff history. I mean maybe. But honestly, the Braves have had a strange combination of horrible luck and horrible play (and I’m talking about play you simply can’t prepare for….Brooks Conrad style).

          Let’s go back further though since we covered why I believe we lost the recent ones. I have nothing to do and this will at least be an un-fun trip down memory lane.

          Astros in 2005: Brad Asumus’ home run was not a home run

          Astros in 2004: Alright….this one was starting pitching. Beltran straight up thumped us.

          Cubs in 2003: Hit .215 as a team. Starting pitching did what it could but when Kerry Wood strikes you out constantly there’s not a lot an opposing pitcher can do. .215 is ugly for a series. Blaming the hitting in this one.

          Giants in 2002: Tom Glavine got dominated. No nice way to put it. But he’s technically one of your aces, so a lot of good that did.

          2001: Probably didn’t even deserve to be in the playoffs with only 88 wins, but this was the most recent year we actually advanced to the NLCS…..go figure…lol

  6. BG921 1 year ago

    The Braves may not have one true “ace”, but they have a very solid rotation from top to bottom. I do feel like Mike Minor and Julio Teheran both have the ability and consistency to become aces in their own right. I’d much rather have the Brave’s depth as a whole, versus having one “ace” and a bunch of question marks.

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