There’s a difference between rebuilding and tanking, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. Teams like the Braves, Brewers and Phillies have already made great strides in restocking their minor league systems after only relatively recently starting the rebuild process, and it could be argued that the way baseball’s system is currently set up, a smaller-market team like Milwaukee really has no option but to tear things down in order to amass the young talent it needs to eventually compete again. Rosenthal also notes that some of the recent criticism of tanking may be less fueled by the spirit of competition than it is by big-market teams upset that their revenue-sharing contributions aren’t being reinvested in the on-field product by the smaller-market teams getting those funds. Here’s some news from around baseball as we head into a new week….
- Even without Andrelton Simmons, the Braves are building an enviable amount of middle infield depth, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies highlight the prospects already within the system, and O’Brien notes that the Braves may also wind up with infielders Kevin Maitan and Yunior Severino in the next July 2 international signing period. That’s not even counting the current incumbents at short and second, Erick Aybar and Jace Peterson. If Swanson progresses as well as Atlanta hopes, he could make his MLB debut late in the season and Aybar could then become a trade chip.
- Masahiro Tanaka reported no issues following a 20-pitch bullpen session on Saturday, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told reporters (including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch). This was Tanaka’s first time throwing off a mound since he had a bone spur removed from his elbow in October. Tanaka said last week that he couldn’t guarantee he’d be ready for Opening Day; while the procedure wasn’t a major one, the Yankees are obviously taking it easy with Tanaka given his history of arm problems.
- In an interview on KMOX Radio (hat tip to the Associated Press), Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said catcher Yadier Molina had the cast removed from his surgically-repaired left thumb. It will be at least a couple of weeks before Molina and the team can guess if he’ll be ready for Opening Day, though “right now all arrows point positively,” Mozeliak said.
- The odds are against a pitcher returning from a second Tommy John surgery, yet Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood is eager to return to action, The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders writes. Chatwood hasn’t pitched since April 29, 2014 but Colorado is hoping he can become an important member of the rotation.
- There’s no formula for deciding when to promote a top prospect, as ESPN’s Jim Bowden lists the many factors (beyond, obviously, just talent) that teams weigh when deciding to elevate one of their best minor leaguers.