37-year-old Adam Wainwright, who re-upped with the club on a one-year pact earlier this month, was elated with the progress of his balky right elbow over the season’s last two months, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details in a lengthy overview of the situation. Wainwright, who had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and has dealt with discomfort in his elbow on multiple occasions, has apparently had issues with “deep” bone bruises in the area for a number of years now, an ailment for which he could not seem to find a solution. That appears to have changed, as Goold notes, with Wainwright’s adoption of a new, longer arm swing in the middle of his delivery. “Whole new avenues are back in play that I haven’t been able to do in years,” Wainwright said. “I left this season, I left that last start feeling motivated and feeling better than I have in a long time.” The stats do seem, at least in part, to reinforce Wainwright’s perspective: in 22 1/3 IP after his return from the DL on September 10, Wainwright struck out 25 batters and walked just three. His 8.93 K/9, albeit in an extremely small, 40 1/3 IP sample, ranks as the highest in his career, though the rest of his peripherals (a 4.02 BB/9 that led to a career-worst 106 xFIP-) leave little to shout about.
In other news from other around the league . . .
- Mark Zuckerman of MASN peers into Victor Robles’ place in a potentially crowded Washington outfield next season. The consensus top five overall prospect’s status as a coveted trade chip will likely be on hold until the impending Bryce Harper sweepstakes have reached their conclusion, it seems, as the Nats will almost certainly plug Robles into the center field role should Harper depart. Zuckerman notes that Robles, in addition to possessing a near limitless all-around ceiling, is a “gregarious” personality who brims with confidence in all aspects of his play. Indeed, after an uninspiring start to the season at Triple-A Syracuse and in a short stint with the parent club, the 21-year-old unleashed his dormant offensive ability, slashing .359/.405/.718 over the season’s last two weeks after recovering from a hyperextended elbow suffered earlier in the year. The Nats, of course, could both re-sign Harper and make room for Robles by trading outfielder Adam Eaton, though that scenario does not seem to be on the club’s table at the moment.
- MLB.com’s Mark Bowman outlines the Braves’ prospective payroll next season, estimating that the club will have “at least” $60MM with which to maneuver this offseason. Atlanta, who boasts one of the game’s deepest farm systems, a unit stacked with high-upside starting pitchers of all kinds, could look to the trade market – as GM Alex Anthopoulos seemed to suggest in a recent summit with reporters – to address a thin big league rotation and question marks behind the plate and (at one spot) in the corner outfield. Third base, manned mostly by a resurgent Johan Camargo, who slashed just .278/.333/.372 across parts of seven minor league seasons, could also be an area of need, as projection systems will likely not be kind to the 24-year-old. For his part, David O’Brien of The Athletic believes the Braves will have far less than Bowman’s $60MM estimate to spend, placing the figure at nearly half the stated mark.