The Athletics have a history of adding veteran starters to eat innings and serve as mentors within otherwise young rotations, and the team will again be looking to add such a pitcher this winter, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes in a look at the starting situations on both Bay Area teams. “You have to bring in the right guy in that situation. Not just any veteran or experienced guy can come in and play that role, so we’ll certainly survey the market and be opportunistic,” Oakland GM David Forst said. As for the Giants, they seem pretty set in the rotation, as they’re counting on better health and/or returns to form from Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore, with Ty Blach and Chris Stratton competing for the fifth starter’s job.
Here’s more from both the AL and NL West divisions….
- Improved health, a lower arm slot and an altered slider all led to Brad Peacock’s breakout year, though as recently as this Spring Training, Peacock seemed a longshot to make the Astros roster or even stay in Major League Baseball, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle writes. “We thought we were going to Japan, honestly,” said Peacock’s wife Stephanie. Dan Straily’s emergence in 2016 made the Astros hesitant about giving up on another arm, however, and Peacock found a roster spot when Collin McHugh began the year on the DL. The rest was history — over 132 innings as a starter and a reliever, Peacock posted a 3.00 ERA, 10.98 K/9 and 2.82 K/9 rate. He’ll make his first postseason appearance today as Houston’s starter in Game 3 of the ALDS.
- Rich Hill is no stranger to reinvention, and after the curveball that fueled his late-career revival began his fail him early this season, The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh illustrates how Hill moved away from his signature pitch. Hill began to utilize his fastball to great success, what the southpaw’s heater lacks in speed (89mph), it makes up for with excellent movement. Cutting back on the curveball usage also may have helped Hill avoid the blister problems that plagued him in 2016. The end result was another strong season for the Dodgers lefty, as Hill posted a 3.32 ERA with 11.01 K/9 over 135 2/3 innings.
- The Rockies have almost $54MM in payroll coming off the books this winter in the form of Carlos Gonzalez’s salary and over $33MM in “dead money” paid to players no longer on the roster, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Between that large sum and another $24MM being freed up by other impending free agents, Colorado has plenty of cash to spend this winter, though some of those funds could go towards re-signing some of those players, perhaps Greg Holland and Jonathan Lucroy. Saunders also wonders if the Rockies could look into extensions for Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu (free agents after 2018) or Nolan Arenado (after 2019).