NL Notes: Thornburg, Henderson, Medlen, Phils, Tulo

The Brewers will go the rest of the way without righties Tyler Thornburg and Jim Henderson, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Thornburg will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in a bid to avoid surgery on his elbow, while Henderson may need shoulder surgery. Thornburg, 25, tossed 29 2/3 innings before being shut down, while the 31-year-old Henderson (who saved 28 games last season) scuffled through just 11 1/3 frames.

Here’s more out of the National League …

  • Braves hurler Kris Medlen is just two and a half weeks away from beginning to throw again after his second Tommy John surgery, and feels confident that he’ll be back on the hill  “at some point next season,” David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. But it remains to be seen whether he’ll work his way back with Atlanta, as his current $5.8MM salary and status as a two-time TJ patient makes him a non-tender possibility. “I’m a little nervous about it, just because it’s not in my hands,” said Medlen. “… It’s exciting to be able to pick up a ball in a couple of weeks, but I’m not going to lie, the contract stuff and wanting to come back — I mean, that’s somewhat up in the air this time, so it’s a little nerve-racking, but all I can do is get healthy.” In spite of his uncertain future, the 28-year-old righty should draw plenty of interest around the league if the Braves allow him to hit the open market.
  • Were it not for Jonathan Papelbon‘s continued presence at the back of the Phillies‘ bullpen, young righty Ken Giles would likely have moved into the closer’s role, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. Commenting on the story, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider link) argues that the club should move Papelbon back into a setup role to give Giles an audition as a 9th-inning option and to prevent Papelbon from finishing enough games for his 2016 option to vest at $13MM. While this approach has some facial appeal, I would note that allowing Giles to begin racking up saves now will ultimately raise his price significantly when he ultimately reaches arbitration. (And, of course, there is the question of how to handle Papelbon’s insistence that he continues to close.)
  • Yesterday, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. again discussed his organization’s future, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Declining to give many specifics, Amaro said that the “biggest plan is to make sure we improve offensively and with our pitching overall,” saying he will look to address those (rather broadly-framed) needs “in a variety of ways.” Sitting 14 games back in the division and 11 out of the wild card, the Phillies are nonetheless not entirely ready to give up hope this year. “Right now, we’re trying to win as many games as possible,” said Amaro. “At the same time, at some point, we’re going to have to start looking to the future. … And at some point, we may be looking more at what we have to do for 2015 as far as what’s going on, on the field. … We’re not quite there yet.”
  • Though Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies continues to play shortstop at a very high level, it is time he considered moving to first base, argues Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. Tulowitzki’s bat is obviously good enough to make the move — he led the league in all three triple-slash categories (.340/.432/.603) when he suffered his season-ending hip injury — but switching to first would obviously sap a good portion of his immense bottom-line value. On the other hand, of course, it is fair to wonder whether playing the least-demanding spot on the diamond might not only help keep Tulowitzki on the field but might also enable him to hit at a top-end level even further into the six years (and $118MM) left on his contract.


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21 Comments on "NL Notes: Thornburg, Henderson, Medlen, Phils, Tulo"


dylanp5030
1 year 17 days ago

I could see a grievance being filed if Papelbon was moved out of the closers role.

Phillyfan425
1 year 17 days ago

Exactly, in theory, it’s a great idea. In practice, Papelbon, his agent, and possibly the MLBPA would have a field day with moving one of the top closers for the year (while his peripherals haven’t been great, he’s in the top 10 this year – with a chance at the top 5) out of his role – especially with the vesting option of games finished in his contract.

jb226
1 year 17 days ago

Not to mention that it’s absolutely disgusting for a national sports writer come right out and suggest manipulating a player’s usage to avoid paying him what he should be due according to the contract the parties both agreed to.

NomarGarciaparra
1 year 17 days ago

Especially when Pap is having a tremendous season

Wek
1 year 17 days ago

So RAJr has not been looking at the future nor at 2015 at all? No surprise there.

Phillyfan425
1 year 17 days ago

Except he did an interview a week ago, saying that he has already starting to look toward 2016 as a realistic year to be a contending team, again. RAJ is never straightforward with the media (and any GM that is really isn’t doing their job properly).

Jeff McCoy
1 year 17 days ago

For some GMs, guile is part of the game with the media, but with Amaro, I’m pretty sure it’s just general incompetence,

Phillyfan425
1 year 17 days ago

I don’t know. Back when he was kinda liked (well, let’s go with “not fervently hated”) – he’d say things like “we’re not in on this player” or “we’re targeting *this guy*” and then go after *that guy*. It seems normal GM misdirection.

Eric
1 year 17 days ago

I’ve never heard of wanting to move a player off of shortstop to reduce injury risk. That seems absurd to me.

Jeff McCoy
1 year 17 days ago

Especially when you consider that 1B is a position where players turn and move on EVERY groundball to the infield.

dubinsky
1 year 17 days ago

players are moved from shortstop to less demanding positions routinely.

Eric
1 year 16 days ago

Players moving from SS happens due to skill reasons (ie Hanley), but I’ve never heard of it happening to preserve a players health.

dubinsky
1 year 16 days ago

Baltimore managers used to want to move Ripken from short to third as they thought that he would be less likely to be banged up and/or injured at the corner.

Ripken preferred to stay at short and play when hurt

SwingtimeInTheRockies
1 year 17 days ago

In Denver, we tend not to put much stock in the words of Mark Kiszla. I think every town has a guy like that.

Eric
1 year 16 days ago

Dave Kaplan in Chicago.

KJ4realz
1 year 17 days ago

There have been quite a few Philljes articles on here and it’s so bittersweet.

1 year 17 days ago

Bumping Papelbon would create more problems than it would solve. Beyond the clubhouse toxicity, could you imagine what the bullpen atmosphere would be like if Papelbon was the set up man?

Matt Bennett
1 year 17 days ago

Troy Tulowitzki had a .811 2014 OPS away from Coors Field. He owns a .818 career OPS away from Coors Field. Neither of those marks would even rank in the top ten first base qualifiers for 2014.

Mike1L
1 year 17 days ago

Moving Papelbon to set-up will not only create an ugly clubhouse situation, but also brings up the possibility of a grievance if he doesn’t vest because of losing his job as closer–particularly since his performance this year doesn’t justify a demotion.

jvent
1 year 17 days ago

I would hate to trade wright but what about a big trade with Colorado wright,duda,niese and montero for cargo,arenado and morneau
Than trade den deckker colon and gee to cubs for castro and Travis wood only cause the mets would need a Lp colon could be their ace lol
Mets lineup could be grandy,murph,arenado,cargo,Castro,morneau,d’araund and lagares
Rotation Harvey ,degrom,wheeler,wood and syndergaard

SFGiantsfan_10
1 year 17 days ago

That Colorado trade is interesting. I think that if you take out Duda and Montero and put in one of Syndergaard or DeGrom then you have a deal.