Tag Archive | "Relief Pitcher"

MLB Trade Rumors Center Around St. Louis Cardinals Shortstop Pete Kozma

Trade rumors begin to swirl as spring training nears completion in Major League Baseball.  As Opening Day draws near, teams begin to identify their needs as well as their surpluses.  The St. Louis Cardinals, who have found themselves actively involved in the market for shortstops around the league over the last few seasons, suddenly find themselves with a player to offer to the market.

PeteKozma2

Pete Kozma is the odd man out in St. Louis, and general manager John Mozeliak hopes to benefit from that.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, the Cardinals have been shopping Kozma around the league, letting other teams know that the young shortstop is available:

The reasons for trade rumors surrounding Kozma are obvious.  The Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta during the offseason, Daniel Descalso offers a backup option who can play multiple positions and the team needs the room on the 40-man roster.

All of this could lead to a trade for a low-level prospect in exchange for the man who played 143 games for the Cardinals last season.

Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out another need that the Cardinals may wish to address with the rumored trade of Kozma based on the recent reassignment of relief pitcher Tyler Lyons.

“The Cardinals can option Kozma or keep him as Peralta’s backup. Having optioned Tyler Lyons to Memphis on Wednesday, the club could survey the market for long relief. No obvious internal candidate currently exists,” according to Strauss.

That option would not alleviate the roster restriction that exists but is a fair trade rumor as it fulfills both the team’s need and surplus at the same time.  The argument against a long reliever in return is based more on the value that Kozma holds.

Ben Humphrey of Viva El Birdos breaks down the value of Kozma on the market and what fans should expect in return.  Ultimately, Humphrey comes to the conclusion that a trade involving Kozmawould likely resemble the trade of Brendan Ryan in December of 2010.  In that trade, the Cardinals received relief pitcher Maikel Cleto, a low-level prospect with a lively arm.

The Cardinals will do their due diligence in shopping Kozma around to see if there is a trade that makes sense.  If the past can tell us anything, it is that Mozeliak will only move Kozma if he feels that the Cardinals will clearly benefit from the return.

Meanwhile, the trade rumors will continue to circulate.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com.
Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things baseball throughout the season.

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Luke Hochevar out for the 2014 season, will have Tommy John surgery

In an otherwise quiet Royals spring training, the team announced Friday relief pitcher Luke Hochevar will have Tommy John surgery to fix ligament damage in his right elbow. A specific time and date for the surgery hasn’t been announced, but it’s likely to happen in the next two weeks.

Luke  Hochevar 2014

 

The injury occurred during last Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Hochevar felt pain in his elbow on his next to last pitch and went to get a medical opinion in Los Angeles. The doctors gave him the option of rehabbing the elbow or Tommy John surgery. Hochevar and the Royals decided surgery was the best option.

Hochevar has a history of elbow problems. In 2010 he suffered a 20-40 percent tear in his ligament and rehabbed the elbow to continue pitching for another four years. But last Monday’s injury tore the ligament another 25 percent and made Tommy John surgery the only real option. Unfortunately for Hochevar, this happened after the Royals had their best season since 1989. With the Royals poised to be playoff contenders, Hochevar will not play an on-field role this season.

In the overall scope of the team and this season, Hochevar’s loss isn’t devastating. The Royals possess an already strong bullpen and Hochevar wasn’t considered as a starting rotation candidate. Wade Davis, a contender as a fifth starter, will take Hochevar’s spot in the bullpen.

The real devastation is to Hochevar. After several seasons as a starting pitcher where he didn’t live up to expectations as the overall number one pick in the 2006 Draft, Hochevar resuscitated his career as a reliever. Last season, Hochevar had a 1.92 ERA and two saves in 58 appearances, striking out 82 batters in 70.1 innings. In the final year of his contract, he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. For a player in his final year of his contract before free agency, the surgery is an untimely blow.

In hindsight, perhaps Hochevar should have opted for Tommy John surgery back in 2010. He might have recovered enough to be a more effective starter and instead of being a part of the Royals bullpen, he would be one the team’s better starters. But at the time, he struggled as a starter and it’s likely Hochevar and the Royals decided that rehabbing the elbow was the better option. Looking at that now, it appears to be the wrong decision.

Hochevar faces an uncertain future. Instead of getting the chance of showing himself as a good bullpen pitcher before reaching free agency, he will have to sign for less years and money, wherever he ends up. It’s possible we’ve seen the Royals story of Luke Hochevar as a promising number one overall draft pick end with Tommy John surgery and an uncertain baseball future.

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Despite record, St. Louis Cardinals have excellent start to spring training

The St. Louis Cardinals won just twice in the opening week of their 2014 spring training exhibition schedule, but wins and losses matter little in spring training, and the Cardinals, with a 2-4-2 record, have excelled in the aspects of camp that truly matter.

Trevor Rosenthal - photo from FoxSportsMidwest

Trevor Rosenthal – photo from FoxSportsMidwest

Through seven games, the Cardinals players who know they’ll be with the big club on Opening Day have played well, with few exceptions, and those who drew mild concerns have already had a couple of positive moments to potentially give them a comfort level through the balance of March.

As with the regular season, the first week of the spring training schedule typically draws much more scrutiny than any other because people pay more attention since they are excited to have baseball back before the monotony of the season begins and games start to blend together in memory.

The Cardinals have survived with extremely few problems. Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia’s shoulder injury flared up again in the opening week of camp in February, but otherwise the Cardinals have been injury-free with the exception of closer Trevor Rosenthal, who pitched his first inning Saturday and held the Washington Nationals scoreless after he suffered a minor groin injury early in camp.

Elsewhere, the Cardinals have only players who are at or near the end of their rehab from more serious injuries.

Relief pitcher Jason Motte continues to make progress in his return from Tommy John surgery to repair his injured right elbow in 2013, and outfield prospect Oscar Taveras made his much-anticipated first start of the spring Friday against the New York Mets in his return from right ankle surgery, and he promptly doubled on a ball to deep right-centerfield.

Rookie second baseman Kolten Wong also alleviated some fears about his offensive potential with a 3-for-4 day Friday in a 5-5 tie with the Mets.

The Cardinals vaunted young pitching staff has also made it through the first week with only minor road bumps.

Possible No. 5 starter Joe Kelly walked two Detroit Tigers hitters and allowed two runs in 1.2 innings Tuesday, but he also had two strikeouts and figures to be a stable pitcher for the Cardinals in 2014 no matter how they use him, whether as a starter or out of the bullpen.

Probable No. 4 starter Lance Lynn allowed five runs in 1.1 innings Friday in a split-squad game against the Miami Marlins, but any other Cardinals pitchers who allowed more than two runs total through the first week have been minor leaguers or non-roster invitees.

At this point, there is not much drama in Cardinals camp at all. All of the core players have performed well, especially Matt Holliday with his eight hits in nine at-bats, and newly signed shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who hit two homeruns Tuesday against the Tigers.

Those types of performances gives Cardinals management to focus more on the players on the fringe of a spot on the 25-man roster and those who it expects to remain in the minor leagues for at least the 2014 season, if not more.

But that situation also gives those minor leaguers an opportunity to play earlier in games and they therefore get more innings against opposing players who are already established in Major League Baseball.

The Cardinals have built an incredibly strong foundation that is now able to help the group of future Cardinals develop more quickly and maintain the level of excellence the organization has now sustained for four years.

It’s a cycle that builds upon itself, and the Cardinals currently have it as finely tuned as any team in the game.

They can’t get comfortable with what they’ve built, of course, but right now the only storms in Jupiter, Fla., come when the traditional mid-afternoon rain clouds pass over.

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Chicago at the All-Star Game

The 84th edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is in the books. For Chicago baseball fans, going into the game the bar for expectations were low. When the rosters were released, the two Chicago teams had a combined three representatives. For the White Sox they were pitchers Chris Sale and injured reliever Jesse Crain. For the Cubs it was pitcher Travis Wood.

ChrisSale

With Wood pitching Sunday night for the Cubs in the final game of the first half and Crain currently injured, the introductions likely would be the highlight of the night for Chicago. But then, enter lefty Chris Sale from the bullpen. Sale entered the game as a relief pitcher after the starter of the game Max Scherzer only pitched one inning. Sale then pitched the second and third innings facing six batters and retiring all six.

In the second, he retired David Wright on a groundout to third, struck out Carlos Gonzalez on an impressive slider, and got Yadier Molina on a fly out. Then in the third, struck out Troy Tulowitzki, got Michael Cuddyer on a weak ground out, and finally got Home Run derby runner up Bryce Harper on a line out.

They were an impressive two innings of work for Sale. With little to look forward to, he represented the city well. At the break, Sale is fifth in the American League in ERA and Strike outs. On the flip side is record is just 6-8 on the season. That is the result of little run support and a bad team supporting him.

Tuesday night was an excellent showcase for Chris. As the game progresses, the American League ended up shutting out the National League 3-0 with the National League only putting together three hits for the game. The winning pitcher was Sale. Come October, because of the victory, the American League will have home field advantage for the World Series. As it stands right now, that may have even less action from Chicago teams then the All-Star game featured.

For a few innings, Chicago baseball impressed. A tip of the cap goes to Chris Sale as he is one of the best young arms around the league. Sale is a former first round pick back in 2010 by the White Sox out of the college Florida Gulf Coast. Tuesday night was a nice victory and resume builder for the lefty from Lakeland Florida. Here is to the second half of the season building off of the mid summer classic.

 

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St. Louis Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist having success as if he’s Yasiel Puig

Away from all of the excitement and attention directed toward Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig, the St. Louis Cardinals have a rookie who has arguably had an even better start to his career.

KevinSiegrist

Cardinals left-handed relief pitcher Kevin Siegrist appeared in his 13th career Major League Baseball game Friday against the Chicago Cubs and finally became like every other pitcher in the game, one that has allowed at least one run.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro homered off of him in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Cardinals’ lead from 3-1 to 3-2, but Siegrist recovered in typical Siegrist fashion: He struck out the next three hitters.

Siegrist, now with a 0.69 earned-run average, has been simply dominant in his brief career. He has struck out 20 hitters while walking just three and giving up three hits in 13 innings. He also became the first Cardinals player since 1900 to not allow a run in his first 12 appearances.

Viewed through the narrow lens of the 2013 season, Siegrist’s performance as a big-leaguer came at nearly the perfect time for the Cardinals. The team called the 23-year-old up from the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds on June 6 in exchange for Maikel Cleto, who had 2.1 horrid innings when he gave up five runs in his only appearance of the season the night before against eh Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Cardinals pitching staff was in strong need of a boost at that point in the season. Yes, the team was 18 games over .500 and had the best record in baseball, but the pitching staff was in the midst of major changes.

Right-handed starter Jake Westbrook went on the disabled list May 12 with elbow inflammation, and left-handed starter Jaime Garcia succumbed to shoulder inflammation the next day. Then, left-handed replacement starter John Gast went on the DL with a shoulder strain two weeks later.

In the meantime, the Cardinals called up seven rookie pitchers, including Siegrist.

By and large, those pitchers did a fine job. Left-handed starter Tyler Lyons got rocked a few times before the Cardinals sent him back to the minors, but Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, Keith Butler, Michael Blazek and Michael Wacha each made positive contributions to the team.

But none more than Siegrist, who could’ve made a case he should have been an all-star if the fans had voted Puig into the game as the Final Vote winner.

The Dodgers called 22-year-old Puig up to the big leagues just five days before Siegrist, and Puig set the baseball world aflame with dramatic plays in the field and at the plate, which caused a large segment of the baseball community to say Puig should be an all-star even though he has only been in the league for six weeks.

Well, so has Siegrist. Puig has a .397 batting average with eight homeruns and 19 runs batted in during his brief career, but Siegrist has arguably played even better.

It is difficult to compare the two players because they play different parts of the game. Puig played in 37 games from June 3 through Friday while Siegrist appeared in 13, but each has surpassed even the greatest expectations for a rookie at their respective positions.

Had the National League Final Vote included middle relievers, as the American League Final Vote did, Siegrist would’ve had a strong case to be a candidate.

Nonetheless, he figures to be a vital part of the Cardinals bullpen in the second half of the season.

The Cardinals haven’t used left-handed specialist Randy Choate much at all (he’s pitched just six more innings that Siegrist although he’s been on the active roster since Opening Day), and they sent left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the minor leagues April 29 for ineffectiveness.

That decision left a gaping hole in the bullpen that Siegrist has filled as well as possible, although he has done much of his work in anonymity up to this point.

The pressure will increase when he ends up in a tight situation late in a ballgame against the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cincinnati Reds in the pennant race, but right now he should be the Cardinals go-to reliever when they need to shut down an opponent’s rally even though he received absolutely zero consideration as a potential all-star candidate.

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St. Louis Cardinals avoid doubleheader trouble in Pittsburgh

A big thunderstorm helped the St. Louis Cardinals avoid a possible loss Tuesday when they trailed the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 after two innings in Pittsburgh, but they got an even bigger break by not having to play a doubleheader the following day.

PNCRainout

The Cardinals and Pirates left the schedule unchanged and played just a single game Wednesday evening. They certainly had time to play another game that afternoon, but that would’ve been a minor disaster for the Cardinals pitching staff.

They wouldn’t have been able to bring Jake Westbrook back because he had already thrown the two innings Tuesday, so they would’ve had to find a replacement starter at the worst possible time.

See, the Cardinals are currently on a 10-day roadtrip and a 13-game stretch without an off day. They didn’t play April 11 before a three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers, and they won’t have another scheduled off day until April 25 as they travel home from Washington to face the Pirates for three games.

So the Cardinals are already in a tough part of their schedule, especially with good teams in the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals up next, and a doubleheader Wednesday would’ve really hampered their pitching staff heading into those games.

Shelby Miller was going to be the Cardinals starter for Wednesday’s regularly scheduled game regardless, but the Cardinals would’ve had to scramble to find someone to start the make-up game.

Joe Kelly might have been an option, but he pitched two innings Monday, and the Cardinals probably wouldn’t have let him pitch very deep into the game since he is now supposed to be a full-time relief pitcher.

If not Kelly, the Cardinals would’ve had to bring somebody up from the minor leagues to make an emergency start, and that wouldn’t have been good for anybody. Sure, Michael Wacha or Seth Maness could fill in if necessary, provided they didn’t just pitch a day or two before for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, but the Cardinals would’ve had to make corresponding roster moves to make space for a one-day appearance by a minor-league pitcher.

Plus, the bullpen would almost certainly be strained because of a doubleheader early in the roadtrip.

Cardinals starters let the bullpen rest throughout the weekend against the Brewers, as the team needed just five innings from relievers in the three games against Milwaukee, but their workload would’ve changed instantly with a doubleheader.

None of the Cardinals’ options to start the make-up game would’ve been allowed to go deep into the game no matter how well the starter pitched, so the bullpen would have to cover significant portions of at least one game while still providing normal support in the nightcap.

All of a sudden the relievers would have racked up innings heading into four games against the Phillies. That, in turn, would put pressure on the starters to again pitch deep into games to try and save the bullpen from an overwhelming workload.

A major-league bullpen requires a delicate balance between not enough work and too much work, and the Cardinals bullpen almost certainly would’ve struggled to maintain that balance because the team simply had so many games in a relatively short period of time.

This wasn’t going to be an easy roadtrip in any case, but a doubleheader on the third day of the trip would’ve really made this part of the schedule difficult to survive. It certainly would’ve been difficult for the Cardinals to thrive in that situation and run off several wins against the Phillies and Nationials.

But as it stands, the Cardinals were given a respite Tuesday. They were already down two runs just two innings into the game, and Westbrook looked anything but sharp.

Of course, the game will have to be made up at some point, likely during a four-game series in late July when the Cardinals are scheduled to play in Pittsburgh.

A five-game series would surely create issues at that point in the season, but for now the Cardinals can attack the rest of the roadtrip without that potential loss on their record, and everyone got another day of rest leading into some important games on the road.

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Team USA Survives, Advances In March Madness

“That was the closest 9-4 ballgame I’ve ever seen,” said USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler, just minutes after I ran into him behind the USA dugout, following the United States’ critical, do-or-die victory over Canada this afternoon at Chase Field in Phoenix.

final strike

He couldn’t have summed it up much better. It absolutely was a nailbiter. It always is, when Team USA and Canada meet on the diamond (as described in my book Miracle on Grass, when Canada shocked Team USA in the very first game of the 1999 Pan Ams, 7-6 in extra innings).

Only when Team USA’s Eric Hosmer ripped a bases-clearing double in the top of the ninth, with Team USA ahead 6-4, did anyone in the USA dugout feel comfortable.

The Americans were literally six outs from being ELIMINATED from this World Baseball Classic. They trailed Canada 3-2, going to the 8th inning. Yes, it would have been a natural disaster had Team USA lost this game. MLB was counting on them for higher TV ratings and higher ticket revenues for the next round in Miami, and possibly the finals in San Francisco.

When Canada’s Michael Saunders launched a 2-run homer in the second inning of USA starter Derek Holland, we were already off to a bad start. But the Americans battled back and tied it 2-2 in the 4th. Canada went back ahead 3-2 on a base hit by Adam Loewen, and it stayed that way until the critical 8th. That’s when Orioles star Adam Jones came up with the biggest hit of the event so far for Team USA, drilling a one out, two-run double into the left-center gap off Canadian reliever Jim Henderson. It gave Team USA a 4-3 lead.

But, just as they always do (see my column here that I wrote prior to the WBC starting): Canada fought right back, and had cut the lead to 5-4, with the bases loaded and two outs. Joe Torre went to relief pitcher Steve Cishek, to face Canadian pinch hitter Tim Smith. In what was the game’s most critical moment, Cishek got Smith to ground out to second base, securing the 5-4 lead.
The Americans then blew it open with four runs in the 9th, and all of the Canadian fans began to gather their things and walk out up the aisles and out of the stadium, as soon as Hosmer’s double cleared the bases. Craig Kimbrel came on to secure the final three outs, for Team USA.

It was a rousing way for Pool D to come to an end, and this will be remembered for the raucous fight between the two teams that failed to advance: Mexico & Canada, along with the surprising Italian team, that beat both of those squads to join the Americans in Miami.

Incredibly, Team USA came ever so close to being knocked out of the event and finishing in last place in the pool. Instead, they won Pool D outright and will meet the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Italy later this week in Florida.

I’m excited that they have advanced, but – if they wait as long as they did here in Phoenix to put their game faces on – I’m afraid they might not make it to the finals in San Francisco. The DR is my favorite to win the next round, and it will be up to the other three teams to decide which one grabs the second flight to California. Should be fun to watch. I will blog again during the second round. That’s all from here in Phoenix.

Here are some photos from today’s action between Team USA & Canada (use the navigation arrows to view all seven images):

<b>Anthems</b>

Picture 1 of 7


National Anthems before the game.
Follow David on Twitter @miracleongrass.

David Fanucchi is the author of “Miracle on Grass” – How Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda led Team USA to a shocking upset over Cuba, capturing the only Olympic gold medal in USA Baseball history. He was the official Team USA Press Officer for both the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Team and the 2006 USA World Baseball Classic Team. More information about Fanucchi and Miracle on Grass can be found on his website at www.davidfanucchi.com. Follow him on Twitter @miracleongrass.  

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Who Is Number Two In KC Rotation?

The Kansas City Royals took huge measures this offseason to fix their number one on-field issue, the rotation.  The addition of James Shields gave them a legitimate ace pitcher at the front of their rotation.  The rebuilt rotation looks stronger but leaves the question open: Who’s number two?

Rotation

Throughout 2012 the opinion around the Royals fanbase was very similar.  Many people felt that the team was full of pitchers that projected as the fourth or fifth best pitcher in a rotation.  There was no clear cut “ace” nor was there anyone that the fans felt confident in taking the mound to stop a losing streak.  The team had major league quality pitching, it just was not elite.

Dayton Moore seemingly set out to fix that during the end of 2012 and into the offseason.  A three year contract was reached with Jeremy Guthrie, who had pitched very well after joining the Royals during the second half of 2012, and trades were made for Shields, Wade Davis, and Ervin Santana.  The fifth spot is up for grabs this spring and eventually Danny Duffy will join these four to round out the starting five.

Shields obviously will head line the starting rotation for the Royals and is the type of pitcher that would headline most rotations across baseball.  Last year was a team full of rotation guys that projected as four and five starters, this year, it appears that the rotation may be full of guys that are top-three style pitchers.

Looking at the four starters that are set into the rotation this season, where will they rank at the end of 2013?

Wade Davis: Number Four
WadeDavis
Davis has been a solid Major League pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.  In four seasons he has proven to be a durable starter and a reliable relief pitcher.  The Royals brought him in as insurance and an upgrade over the pitchers they currently had, but he was never projected to be near the top of the rotation.  Davis will provide some inning-eating starts throughout the summer and be serviceable in his role, but ultimately will remain as a lower-rotation starter that may end up back in the bullpen before long if other pitchers are pitching well when Duffy returns.

Ervin Santana: Number Three
MARINEROS-ANGELINOS
Santana is the pitcher that the Royals most hope can realize his potential.  In eight seasons of starting pitching for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Santana has won 16 or more games three times in his career.  He has also lost 12 or more games three times as well.  An up-and-down career has seen moments of brilliance and frustration for Santana.  The Royals will hope that Dave Eiland can work with Santana on mechanical flaws in his delivery and help him regain his top-of-the-rotation form.  Santana should be able to be the number three starter when the smoke clears, though Kansas City may be hoping he is better than that.

Jeremy Guthrie: Number Two
JeremyGuthrie
Looking at past performance of all three starters would rank Guthrie much lower in this conversation.  However, in recent interviews Guthrie has talked very openly about a renewed confidence, a satisfaction with management and coaching and overcoming a mental block that he felt kept him for being a better pitcher in Colorado.  He has spoken to the fact that Kauffman Stadium is a pitcher friendly environment and that he feels that he has one of the best defenses in the league behind him.  The confidence shows in his statistics from last season, with nearly all of his stats showing best in his career type numbers.  He is pitching to contact, keeping the ball in the park, and letting his defense do the work.

By the time the smoke clears on the 2013 season, the Royals will be looking at a rotation that will feature top-tier players at most of the slots.  Jeremy Guthrie has every opportunity to become a great part of that rotation for the next three years.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Cooperstown Choices: Roberto Hernandez

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2013, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty four men on the ballot for the first time this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2013 menu at the top of the page.

In this article, we take a look at Roberto Hernandez

 

Roberto Hernandez
Ten teams would host Hernandez as a relief pitcher over his 17 year career.  He would be selected as an All Star in 1996 with the White Sox and 1999 with Tampa Bay.

Year Tm W L ERA G GF SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA+ SO/9
1991 CHW 1 0 7.80 9 1 0 15.0 18 15 13 7 6 52 3.6
1992 CHW 7 3 1.65 43 27 12 71.0 45 15 13 20 68 236 8.6
1993 CHW 3 4 2.29 70 67 38 78.2 66 21 20 20 71 185 8.1
1994 CHW 4 4 4.91 45 43 14 47.2 44 29 26 19 50 96 9.4
1995 CHW 3 7 3.92 60 57 32 59.2 63 30 26 28 84 115 12.7
1996 CHW 6 5 1.91 72 61 38 84.2 65 21 18 38 85 249 9.0
1997 TOT 10 3 2.45 74 50 31 80.2 67 24 22 38 82 176 9.1
1997 CHW 5 1 2.44 46 43 27 48.0 38 15 13 24 47 181 8.8
1997 SFG 5 2 2.48 28 7 4 32.2 29 9 9 14 35 168 9.6
1998 TBD 2 6 4.04 67 58 26 71.1 55 33 32 41 55 118 6.9
1999 TBD 2 3 3.07 72 66 43 73.1 68 27 25 33 69 161 8.5
2000 TBD 4 7 3.19 68 58 32 73.1 76 33 26 23 61 155 7.5
2001 KCR 5 6 4.12 63 55 28 67.2 69 34 31 26 46 117 6.1
2002 KCR 1 3 4.33 53 42 26 52.0 62 29 25 12 39 115 6.8
2003 ATL 5 3 4.35 66 12 0 60.0 61 36 29 43 45 99 6.8
2004 PHI 3 5 4.76 63 11 0 56.2 66 39 30 29 44 95 7.0
2005 NYM 8 6 2.58 67 20 4 69.2 57 20 20 28 61 160 7.9
2006 TOT 0 3 3.11 68 19 2 63.2 61 32 22 32 48 144 6.8
2006 PIT 0 3 2.93 46 14 2 43.0 46 24 14 24 33 153 6.9
2006 NYM 0 0 3.48 22 5 0 20.2 15 8 8 8 15 127 6.5
2007 TOT 3 3 6.41 50 20 0 46.1 59 37 33 25 31 71 6.0
2007 CLE 3 1 6.23 28 8 0 26.0 33 21 18 16 18 73 6.2
2007 LAD 0 2 6.64 22 12 0 20.1 26 16 15 9 13 68 5.8
17 Yrs 67 71 3.45 1010 667 326 1071.1 1002 475 411 462 945 131 7.9
162 Game Avg. 4 5 3.45 68 45 22 72 67 32 28 31 63 131 7.9
W L ERA G GF SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA+ SO/9
CHW (7 yrs) 29 24 2.87 345 299 161 404.2 339 146 129 156 411 153 9.1
TBD (3 yrs) 8 16 3.43 207 182 101 218.0 199 93 83 97 185 143 7.6
KCR (2 yrs) 6 9 4.21 116 97 54 119.2 131 63 56 38 85 116 6.4
NYM (2 yrs) 8 6 2.79 89 25 4 90.1 72 28 28 36 76 150 7.6
PIT (1 yr) 0 3 2.93 46 14 2 43.0 46 24 14 24 33 153 6.9
SFG (1 yr) 5 2 2.48 28 7 4 32.2 29 9 9 14 35 168 9.6
PHI (1 yr) 3 5 4.76 63 11 0 56.2 66 39 30 29 44 95 7.0
ATL (1 yr) 5 3 4.35 66 12 0 60.0 61 36 29 43 45 99 6.8
LAD (1 yr) 0 2 6.64 22 12 0 20.1 26 16 15 9 13 68 5.8
CLE (1 yr) 3 1 6.23 28 8 0 26.0 33 21 18 16 18 73 6.2
AL (13 yrs) 46 50 3.35 696 586 316 768.1 702 323 286 307 699 138 8.2
NL (6 yrs) 21 21 3.71 314 81 10 303.0 300 152 125 155 246 117 7.3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/12/2012.

Why He Should Get In
The question of Hernandez reaching the Hall Of Fame comes down to a question of how to judge his career.  When you spend your entire career as a relief pitcher, and over half of it as a reliever that is not closing games, it becomes increasingly hard to judge your worth.  He has over 300 saves in his career and an impressive 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but will it be enough?

Why He Should Not Get In
In short, relief pitchers that are not closers simply don’t find their way to Cooperstown.  While Hernandez’s numbers were sufficient to make him a sought after arm for many years, it is hard to see his credentials ever ending with “Hall Of Famer”.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Cards Reds Rivalry May Be Best Of 2013

As the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels spent unprecedented amounts of money during the offseason to try to establish dominance, a battle between rivals in the Midwest could be the most intense race of the 2013 season.

CardsReds

The St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds have won the National League Central Division in three of the past four seasons, and each team has made moves this offseason to bolster their chances to do so again next year.

The Cardinals haven’t added much, but they also didn’t have many holes to fill. They signed left-handed relief pitcher Randy Choate to a three-year, $7.5 million contract to fill the team’s biggest need in the bullpen. They also signed bench player Ty Wigginton to a two-year, $5 million deal, but unless Wigginton comes up with a late-inning homer against the Reds, that signing is negligable.

The Reds, who beat the Cardinals by nine games last year to win the division, made more substantial moves. They resigned reliever Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21 million contract to be the team’s closer for the foreseeable future and resigned leftfielder Ryan Ludwick for $15 million across two years. The Reds also traded for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Indians to be their centerfielder and leadoff hitter next year.

The Broxton signing should allow flamethrower Aroldis Chapman to be in the starting rotation next year, and the trade for Choo fills a massive hole at the top of the lineup.

Drew Stubbs, who went to the Indians in the trade, held that spot last season, but he hit just .213 with a .277 on-base percentage and 166 strikeouts. By contrast, Choo hit .283 with a .373 on-base percentage and struck out 150 times. That’s still a lot of strikeouts for a leadoff hitter, but Choo provides more power and is certainly an upgrade in a spot the Reds tried to improve at last season’s trading deadline.

Although neither team has made nearly as many moves as several other teams so far in the offseason, the Cardinals and Reds have fortified their rosters to stage quite a battle throughout the 2013 season. They’ll do so without handing out contracts worth more than $100 million, as the Dodgers did by signing pitcher Zack Greinke and Angels did by signing outfielder Josh Hamilton.

The Cardinals and Reds have a recent history full of intense games that have at times led to shouting matches and even a full-out brawl in 2010. With both teams loaded and ready for battle heading into the season, one might think this could be a season series full of more temper tantrums and games that will leave blood boiling for both teams and both fanbases.

But this year’s rivalry might take a more professional turn. Both the Cardinals and Reds know each organization has a good team, and they will likely be the two strongest contenders for the NL Central Division title.

In past years, the Reds were an up-and-coming team that felt it had to rough up the more established Cardinals to gain entrance to the top of the division. Those days are gone. General manager Walt Jocketty has built a roster with a good starting rotation, solid bullpen and increasingly potent lineup filled with stars such as Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.

This year’s Cardinals-Reds rivalry could be similar to recent battles in the AL West between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Both teams had some of the most talented rosters in the league, and they stuck strictly to playing solid, intense yet not over-the-top baseball games.

Although it might be fun for fans to watch for extracurricular activities on the field and in the dugouts similar to a playoff hockey game, it might be even more impressive to watch a season series that has good, high-quality baseball.

So while big-market teams on the West Coast battle each other with dollar bills in the offseason, actual games between the Cardinals and Reds next season could create the most interesting division races in all of baseball.

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