Anthony DeSclafani’s first appearance of the spring will be delayed due to the fact that the Reds right-hander is experiencing some “tenderness” in his elbow, manager Bryan Price told reporters, including C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Price stressed that the team is merely being cautious and said there’s “no red alert” surrounding the team’s presumptive Opening Day starter. “At this point in time, we don’t have any great or grave concerns or any concerns that he won’t be ready for Opening Day roster,” said Price. That’s certainly encouraging, though the situation at least merits monitoring until DeSclafani is healthy enough to take the hill. The 26-year-old missed the first two months of the 2016 season with an oblique injury but was the team’s best starter upon returning. In 123 1/3 innings, DeSclafani pitched to a 3.28 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate.
- Sticking with the Reds, Price isn’t planning on utilizing a traditional closer this season, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. The manager instead hopes to have as many as four relievers that can work in various scenarios and be available for multiple innings. Offseason acquisition Drew Storen voiced a willingness to pitch in any role and spoke to Sheldon about the evolution of bullpen management in recent seasons and added that picking up high-leverage outs in other innings can be equally satisfying. Presumably, Storen is one of those arms that Price hopes to be able to lean upon in later innings. Other candidates, from my vantage point, include Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen and Tony Cingrani
- The Cardinals and Yadier Molina face a more complicated negotiation process than the majority of extension scenarios, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports observes. Molina is a franchise icon in St. Louis, and the team hopes to have him spend the entirety of his career in a Cardinals uniform. However, he’ll also turn 35 this summer, and even an additional three years would carry Molina through the age of 38. For a catcher with his type of workload, that’s a potentially troubling commitment for the team to make, especially when it’s top position prospect is young catcher Carson Kelly. “Both sides are trying to work hard and see if we can make it happen,” agent Melvin Roman told Rosenthal. The three-year, $50MM sum suggested by Rosenthal feels quite steep for a 35-year-old catcher whose power has diminished in recent years, though. Molina also had some uncharacteristic struggles in slowing the running game last year, as he caught just 21 percent of attempted thieves. Then again, as Rosenthal suggests, Molina’s case is fairly unique, and he remained quite productive at the dish last season (.307/.360/.427).
- Also from Rosenthal’s piece, Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been impressed by a number of the team’s young prospects in camp. While few would be surprised to hear that top-regarded names like Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ have caught Maddon’s eye, Rosenthal notes that the skipper is also impressed by minor league outfielder Mark Zagunis and infielder Chesny Young. Chicago’s deep stock of prospects will serve them well not only by offering depth pieces in the event of injury but also when addressing needs that may arise prior to the non-waiver trade deadline this summer.