If you forgot to look at a calendar consider this your public service announcement for the day. It’s Valentine’s Day moron. Go out and get your special someone something special. It doesn’t have to be a diamond ring – though I’m sure those are welcomed – it just has to be something that shows you care. A box of candy (one that doesn’t look like you bought it at the convenient store on the corner would be nice). A stuffed teddy bear like the one above. Hell, if all of that isn’t happening make a card. Nothing says I care like a handmade card. Don’t worry if it looks like it was done by a seven year old. This is one time that it will seem adorable even if you have no artistic talent (for those of you who are interested in the holiday, the History Channel has a nice little section of videos discussing the day).
Before I go and get all soft on you all, and yes I have a special day about to be set in motion (my lady planned an evening for me that is a total surprise. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed it by mentioning it here in this piece), let’s get back to the world of baseball which is the real reason you came to BaseballGuys.com today, not to read my mushy thoughts on the holiday.
Grant Balfour will likely miss 4-6 weeks as he went under the knife on Thursday for a knee issue. The club hopes he will be able to return in time for Opening Day, but that’s obviously an open ended question at this point. Ryan Cook would seem most likely to take over given that he filled the role with aplomb last season in the first half. Some may have forgotten with Cook that he had 14 saves, 21 holds, a 2.09 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 9.82 K/9 mark in 2012. That’s an elite line folks. Some will mention Sean Doolittle as a possible closing option, but the guy literally has less than 75 innings pitched in his career (he’s a converted hitter). He’s got a huge K arm, 11.41 per nine last year, and he walked only 2.09 per nine, but he’s just so inexperienced and really only has one solid pitch at the moment (he threw his fastball 87 percent of the time in ’12).
Trevor Cahill lost 10-15 lbs over the winter. Question. How does Cahill not know how much weight he lost? Did he never weigh himself before (I mean, can he see his toes now or what)? There’s obviously a benefit to getting in better shape. It should take some pressure of Cahill’s legs and give him a bit more oomph at the end of the season. Cahill pushed his K-rate to 7.02 per nine last year, a career best, and more than a batter above his career rate. If he holds on to those gains, and is able to maintain his out of this world 2.69 GB/FB ratio from last season, that ERA (3.78) and WHIP (1.29) could certainly come down.
For those of you looking for some sexy Valentine’s outfits…
Rich Harden threw Wednesday and said that his surgically repaired shoulder felt pretty good. “I’m hoping it’ll feel the same when I start facing hitters. I threw mostly fastballs because I’m trying to get that feel back.” The Twins don’t know exactly yet if Harden would fit best in the bullpen or at the back-end of the rotation, but I would bet that if he’s healthy he’ll be able to get batters out. For his career Harden has struck out 949 batters in 928.1 innings.
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Kyle Lohse is still looking for a team as clubs are still a bit unsure about whether giving him all that cash, and giving up a first round draft pick as compensation is worth it. For more on Lohse see his Player Profile.
Adam Wainwright had a 3.94 ERA and 1.25 WHIP last season, solid numbers indeed but off the pace he set for himself before he had Tommy John surgery. I’m here to tell ya though, he pitched much better than it seemed. Take a look at his xFIP for a quick snapshot of how he performed: 3.32 in 2009, 3.02 in 2010, Tommy John surgery in 2011, 3.23 in 2012. His 8.34 K/9 mark is a five year best, and his 3.54 K/BB ratio was better than his 3.02 career mark. Toss in a career best 1.93 GB/FB ratio (career 1.57), and we have a guy who is primed for a huge season in 2013.
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By Ray Flowers