Quick Hits: TJ, Martinez, Dodgers, Cubs, Amateur

Pitching injuries are the big topic around the league, so let’s catch up on some of the latest commentary. Writing for GammonsDaily.com, Neil Weinberg offers a hypothesis (which, as he notes, may not really be testable) on the seeming Tommy John epidemic: what if the reason that more high-end professional pitchers are experiencing UCL tears is simply because better management at younger ages has actually prevented them from blowing their arms out at an earlier age? Meanwhile, pointing to the contractual effects of the injury bug, a GM tells Peter Gammons (Twitter link) that, “with all these injuries, I think pitchers will be reluctant to turn down extensions.” At Fangraphs, Wendy Thurm explores the costs to pitchers who lose time to TJ recovery, providing a bevy of salary information on past and current pitchers who have experienced the career-saving procedure.

Here are more notes from around the game:

  • One player coming off of surger (on his shoulder) is righty Cristhian Martinez, who Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com says (Twitter link) is expected to throw for teams by the end of May. The 31-year-old, who was non-tendered by the Braves, was good for a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings over 2011-12.
  • The Dodgers need to make some moves if they want to get back on trajectory, opines Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. While the team is among the most well-rounded in baseball, that does not mean it is without its faults; one scout tells Castrovince that “the bench is awful, the bullpen is fringy at best, maybe below average, and there’s no situational hitting.” Though Castrovince says that the stats don’t really bear out the latter concern, he says the team should take the much-discussed step of shipping out one of its highly-paid outfielders.
  • Trading away players is an expectation for the Cubs, of course, and Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com discusses the team’s most likely pieces (after ace Jeff Samardzija). Though Jason Hammel just suffered his worst start of the year, Rogers says he still looks to be on track to bring back a strong prospect return. Nate Schierholtz and Jose Veras still look like trade chips to Rogers, though both will need to improve rather substantially to maximize their trade value to their current club.
  • The latest amateur draft mocks are out, with MLB.com offering a first-round projection and Baseball America putting out its second version. The BA staff now sees a shake-up in the early portion: their board has the Marlins going with catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson at second overall, the Cubs choosing lefty collegiate Kyle Freeland in the fourth slot, and big-armed high schooler Tyler Kolek falling to the Phillies at number seven. Both MLB.com and BA like the Jays to take N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner and prep righty Touki Toussaint. Meanwhile, the Twins have interest in Jackson with their fifth-overall pick — if he lasts that long — tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, though he notes that there is still no consensus as to whether he can stick behind the dish.
  • Turning to the international market, there has of course been much discussion over whether — and, if so, how — a draft might be implemented. Writing for the Hardball Times, Alex Remington argues against a draft. Among his reasons are the concern that less young international players would have a chance to play professionally; various deleterious consequences that could occur in Latin America (without solving the issues that currently persist); and that implementation could pose a “logistical nightmare.”

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