The latest from the National League . . .
- Following Thursday’s departure of reliever Adam Ottavino to New York, the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders spoke with GM Jeff Bridich about the state of affairs in the team’s bullpen. On the heels of last offseason’s months-long reliever binge, which saw the club devote nearly a third of its payroll space to the most fickle asset in the game, Colorado apparently couldn’t save room for dessert. The club didn’t offer Ottavino a contract, preferring instead to take its chances with the current crop: “We need last year’s decisions to pitch better than they did in 2018,” said Bridich. “It’s not a lack of talent or a sudden inability to perform well. But they need to do a better job.” Bryan Shaw, Mike Dunn, and Jake McGee, though, did exhibit a sudden inability to perform well, as the trio combined for an ugly -0.7 fWAR in 118 combined IP. Wade Davis, too, was hardly himself in ’18, stranding just 66.9% of baserunners – down from an MLB-best 87.5% from 2014-17 – en route to his lowest career output. Scott Oberg, who began the year in AAA despite being arguably being the team’s most effective pre-spree reliever, again paced the returning bunch, limiting homers at an elite rate and continuing to maintain a stellar walk rate.
- President of baseball operations John Mozeliak provided injury updates on two key Cardinals during a Saturday chat with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who was bothered all season by a nagging shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery, hasn’t yet begun throwing, and the club “isn’t sure” if he’s taken hacks in the cage, either. Ozuna has spurned treatment at the club’s spring facility in favor of offseason rehab in his native Dominican Republic, which Mozeliak deemed “not ideal,” but the 28-year-old outfielder, who heavily regressed toward his established mean last season after a breakout 2017, has expressed no reservations about his outlook for the upcoming season. Reliever Luke Gregerson, who was limited to just 12 1/3 IP last season after a shoulder injury of his own, “hasn’t felt right” in offseason workouts, and the club isn’t anticipating much from him in Spring Training. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Gregerson has endured one of the game’s heaviest reliever workloads since debuting in 2009, accruing a staggering 611 IP over that span, and appearing in an MLB-high 623 games from 2009-17.
- Per GM Alex Anthopoulos (h/t to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Gabe Burns on Twitter), the Braves have made an outfield acquisition their top priority at current, and a move “may be resolved soon.” The club, of course, has been linked to still-available A.J. Pollock (who would cost the team a second-round draft pick if signed) and the recently-departed Nick Markakis to fill its vacancy at one outfield spot. With an overflow of starting pitching talent in the upper minors, the team seems better positioned than almost any to fill its hole via trade, but has thus far shown little interest in doing so. The Blue Jay version of Anthopoulos was an ardent mover of minor-league assets, shuffling talent in all directions when circumstances dictated, but has been far more cautious in his short time with Atlanta. With a still-unsettled rotation mix, perhaps this strategy is prudent, but distancing his club from the ravenous NL East pack will almost surely require a return to old ways for the young Braves GM.