Chris Withrow Rumors

NL West Notes: Padres, Greinke, Withrow

The Padres are baseball’s most improved team, opines Jim Duquette of MLB.com. The additions of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris should revive an offense that has slumbered for years. GM A.J. Preller managed to overhaul the offense without dipping into his starting pitching depth nor by trading the team’s best prospects. For what it’s worth, I’m more impressed by the efforts of the Cubs, who Duquette lists as the fifth most improved club.

  • Dodgers starter Zack Greinke has not decided if he will opt out of his contract following the 2015 season, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The 31-year-old signed a six-year, $147MM contract prior to the 2013 season, but he can opt out following next season. He’s averaged a 2.67 ERA over the last two seasons, which could set him up for another big, multi-year contract in free agency. In the past, we’ve seen CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez leverage opt outs with the Yankees to gain more guaranteed dollars and years. Greinke may take the same approach with the Dodgers. Per his comments, he seems comfortable in Los Angeles.
  • Greinke doesn’t believe the Dodgers improved via “addition by subtraction” this offseason. Outgoing players like Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, and Brian Wilson weren’t distractions in the clubhouse per Greinke. President Andrew Friedman has admitted the club might lose a little on offense, but the goal is to replace the runs scored with better defense and depth.
  • Reliever Chris Withrow may be a long shot to help the Dodgers this season, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles (via Twitter). The righty has pitched well in parts of two seasons with Los Angeles, with a 2.73 ERA, 11.41 K/9, and 4.98 BB/9 in 56 innings. He’s currently recovering from Tommy John and back surgeries. The back issue has slowed the timetable for his Tommy John rehab.

NL West Notes: Withrow, Black, Billingsley, Romak, Rockies

Yet another name can be added to the long list of Tommy John victims this season, as Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweets that Dodgers right-hander Chris Withrow has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and Tommy John is, unsurprisingly, the recommended treatment. The 25-year-old Withrow had a 2.95 ERA in 21 1/3 innings for the Dodgers this season, averaging 11.8 K/9 but also an unsightly 7.6 BB/9. His loss only further depletes a Dodger bullpen that entered Thursday with just the 22nd-ranked bullpen ERA in the Majors at 4.03. More from the NL West…

  • MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom looks at what a stabilizing force manager Bud Black has been on the Padres since assuming the role in 2007. Bloom asked Black if his team being in a constant state of rebuilding or recovering from overwhelming injuries is taxing, to which Black replied: It makes it tough in the short term. You hope you have some players who do find their way and become successful Major Leaguers. I mean, all of us want to win whether you’re in New York, L.A., Detroit or Texas.” As Bloom notes, Black has been a constant through three ownership groups, three GMs and multiple club presidents.
  • Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley is on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery and took a positive step in his recovery by throwing a 30-pitch simulated game today, writes MLB.com’s Earl Bloom. Manager Don Mattingly said Billingsley could either have one more simulated game or head right to a minor league rehab assignment, depending on how his arm reacts to today’s work. Billingsley’s rehab is worth keeping an eye on, as he has a $14MM club option ($3MM buyout) and could be an interesting free agent if that option isn’t exercised.
  • It’s been a long road to the Majors for Dodgers outfielder Jamie Romak, writes Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Romak, who is in his 12th minor league season since being drafted in the eighth round by the Braves back in 2003, was called up to replace Carl Crawford on the active roster when Crawford hit the DL. He called the promotion a “dream come true.”
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post wrote earlier in the week that the Rockies need to take action by promoting some of their highly touted Double-A Tulsa right-handers. Saunders wrote that the “Tulsa Trio” — Eddie Butler, Jon Gray and Daniel Winkler — are all near-MLB-ready and should be leveraged to give the Rox a shot at their first NL West title. He opines that the offense is good enough to win the division if the team can improve its 4.09 rotation ERA. Manager Walt Weiss told Saunders that when it comes to Butler “the development is behind him,” and he doesn’t have much to prove in the minor leagues.