Quick Hits: Cardinals, Lester, Penny

John Gibbons of the Blue Jays, Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks, and Terry Collins of the Mets are among the managers currently on the hot seat, writes FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Gibbons presided over an extremely disappointing 2013 Jays season, Gibson's Diamondbacks haven't taken a step forward, and Collins might become a victim of unfair expectations. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • Good closers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and big-name closers aren't always what they seem to be, Tyler Kepner shows in a long piece for the New York Times. That means overpaying for a closer can be a mistake. "We had a different guy for about six years in a row — Joe Borowski, Todd Jones, Armando Benitez," says Marlins director of baseball operations Dan Noffsinger. "Each one of these guys would have 30-plus saves, be successful and go get a bigger contract elsewhere. We would just move on to the next guy." The Marlins' example shows one reason why the Orioles were willing to trade Jim Johnson this offseason, for example, and the White Sox were willing to deal Addison Reed.
  • The selection of Shelby Miller in the first round of the 2009 draft marked a turning point for the Cardinals, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. "By the time we picked Miller, I think our knowledge base in at least how to avoid the high-risk players had evolved to the point where we felt more comfortable fishing in those waters," says Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who ran the Cardinals' draft at the time. "He had the delivery. He had the pitches that we thought could develop. The size. The makeup. We had learned from our mistakes." Goold points out that before Miller, the Cardinals hadn't selected a pitcher in the first 30 picks of the draft since 1991. The Cardinals attacked the problem of which high-school pitchers were the best picks by looking at big-league pitchers and figuring out why they succeeded, and they focused on arm strength and athleticism. Later in that same 2009 draft, the Cardinals also selected Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal.
  • Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester isn't concerned about his impending free agency, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. "If I use that for motivation, I’ve got problems," Lester says. "That’s not what motivates me to go out and pitch and get better. Money has never driven me." Lester and the Red Sox recently suspended negotiations on an extension.
  • Free agent pitcher Brad Penny has changed agencies from to the Legacy Agency to Millennium Sports, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. In early March, the Royals released Penny from their minor-league deal with him.

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