Here’s the latest on some relief situations from around baseball…
- Free agent righty Ross Ohlendorf has garnered multiple offers and could sign with a team as early as today, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Ohlendorf might even land a guaranteed Major League deal, Cotillo suggests. The 33-year-old opted out of his minor league contract with the Royals earlier this week, and the club subsequently released him. Ohlendorf, an eight-year veteran, threw 19 1/3 innings in relief for Texas last season and put up a 3.72 ERA, 8.84 K/9 and 3.26 BB/9. It’s worth noting that his average fastball velocity in 2015 was 93.7, a solid increase over his career mean (92.0).
- The Marlins are one of the teams connected to Ohlendorf, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com reports. Miami took a hit to its bullpen with the news that Carter Capps will miss all of 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery, so it makes sense that the Fish would be looking at relief help. Jim Benedict, the newly-hired Marlins VP of pitching development, is familiar with Ohlendorf from their shared time in the Pirates organization.
- The Astros’ trade for Ken Giles surprised many in the industry, ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes, particularly since dealing five young players for a reliever seemed so counter to Jeff Luhnow’s strategy since taking over Houston’s front office. Three factors seemed to fuel the trade — the Astros’ bullpen meltdown in last year’s ALDS, the trend around the game for a lockdown relief corps for late in games, and Giles’ own unique promise as a long-term star closer.
- Pirates lefty Cory Luebke has scouts “buzzing,” tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who notes that the 31-year-old is hitting 94mph with his fastball and 87mph with his curve this spring. Luebke has an out clause in the minor league contract he signed with the Pirates last month, meaning he could be available to sign anywhere soon if he doesn’t win a spot in the Bucs’ bullpen. Luebke last pitched in the majors in 2012, having since undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries. His most extensive action came as a Padre in 2011, when he tossed 139.2 innings of 3.29 ERA ball to accompany an outstanding 9.92 K/9 and 2.84 BB/9. San Diego then signed the seemingly emerging starter to a four-year, $12MM extension, only for Luebke to fall victim to injuries. Luebke finally returned to the field last June to throw seven innings at three different minor league levels in the Padres organization, but a flexor strain diagnosis and a subsequent minor forearm surgery brought an end to his season.
Connor Byrne also contributed to this post