When Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers cornered the market on right-hander power hitters this offseason, he couldn't have imagined it'd go this well this soon.
Through the first week of the season, the Diamondbacks' combination of Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo has been among the best hitting duos in the league. Goldschmidt, the MVP runner-up last year, has carried over his monster 2013 season into 2014, batting .400 (14-for-35) with four doubles, a home run and two stolen bases. Goldschmidt has hit safely in eight of the nine games this season, and he's had six multi-hit games thus far.
But even with Goldschmidt's hot start, it's Trumbo who's arguably been the bigger story in the early going. The left fielder has five home runs and 13 RBI already this year, slugging .771 through the first nine games. That includes homering in each of his last four games as he settles into his new lineup.
It's a small bit of vindication for Towers, who took heat over the offseason when he dealt for the contact-challenged Trumbo to pair with Goldschmidt. At the time, Towers said acquiring the right-handed Trumbo gave the team a leg up on the division.
“With Goldy being tied up (contractually) as long as he is (through 2018) and controlling this guy for three years, we feel we have two legitimate right-handed power bats that should give us a lot of strength within our division,” Towers said in December.
In fact, Sunday was a big day for both of Towers' key offseason acquisitions. After eight strong innings from Wade Miley, newly acquired closer Addison Reed came in to shut the door in the ninth inning.
But Trumbo was the big-ticket item. The 28-year-old has hit 66 home runs over the past two seasons while driving in 195 runs, and Towers couldn't pass on the opportunity to grab one of the most prolific right-hander power hitters in the game today. The Diamondbacks parted with promising young left-hander Tyler Skaggs to acquire Trumbo to provide some lineup protection for Goldschmidt.
Through one week, he's done all that and more.
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Parnell To Get Tommy John
Just days after it seemed Bobby Parnell would wait two weeks before making a decision on Tommy John surgery, that decision has been made.
The Mets said Sunday that Parnell will have the surgery this week, ending the right-hander's season before it started. It's a stark contrast from the plans outlined late last week in which Parnell would be shut down for two weeks before making a decision on the surgery. That timeline was originally supposed to be six weeks while Parnell and the Mets waited to see if a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow would help the torn ligament heal.
No indication was given as to why Parnell decided to move forward with the surgery, but the Mets are now looking at a situation where their best option for saves this season is 36-year-old Jose Valverde. Vic Black, who was acquired from the Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade last season, was supposed to be the closer of the future, and despite a poor spring that saw him demoted to Triple-A he could also be an option for saves going forward. Free agent options exist in Ryan Madson, Kevin Gregg and Joel Hanrahan, and the Mets could also look internally at minor leaguers such as Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo suggested.
For the 29-year-old Parnell, he's got a year of rehabilitation ahead of him. He'll have the surgery Tuesday, so it's likely he'll be ready shortly after the start of the 2015 season.
Gallardo Strong To Start 2014
Yovani Gallardo's ERA never dropped below 4.09 in a subpar 2013, but a new approach and newfound confidence have given the right-hander a better outlook for 2014.
Gallardo moved to 2-0 on the young season and hasn't allowed a run through 12 2/3 innings as he pitches to contact, something he didn't do early in his career.
"I think he's changed the way he's pitched, especially since he first came up," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after the game. "When he first came up, he was high fastball, strikeout out of the zone. Now, everything he does is trying to be down. When you're down, it usually turns into ground balls."
It has for Gallardo through two starts, and those ground balls have turned into outs thus far. In Sunday's win over the Red Sox, Gallardo coaxed 11 ground ball outs while striking out just three batters. In his first start, the 28-year-old fanned just four over six shutout innings against the Braves.
It's a big difference for the right-hander, as he'd routinely struck out a batter per inning over the first six years of his career. Last year, those strikeout numbers dipped while his batting average against rose. Gallardo did post a career-best 1.42 groundouts/air outs ratio, but his commitment to pitching to contact wavered from start to start.
He said consistency in his approach will be the key to ensuring his poor 2013 season was the exception, not the rule.
"It's always a good feeling to go out there and have good starts to start off the year, but you still have to keep going," said Gallardo, who is 2-0 for the first time. "You can't depend on two starts. You have to be consistent when you go out there every fifth day."
National League Quick Hits: An MRI on Ryan Zimmerman's shoulder showed no structural damage. It's just inflammation at this point, but it's likely still serious enough that he'll require a trip to the 15-day disabled list ... the Pirates lost top prospect Jameson Taillon for the season after it was decided the right-hander needs Tommy John surgery ... Matt Kemp hit two home runs in Sunday's win over the Giants, his first two homers of the season in just his third game back ... Hanley Ramirez also added his first two homers of the year Sunday ... Ryan Braun (thumb) returned to the lineup and the field Sunday, collecting two hits and a stolen base ... Yasiel Puig (thumb) missed Sunday night's game after hurting the thumb sliding into first base Saturday ... Aroldis Chapman (head) played catch Saturday, the first time he's thrown a ball since being hit by a Salvador Perez comebacker in spring ... Ike Davis and Lucas Duda continue to trade proverbial shots in the battle for the starting first base job in Queens. After Duda's two-homer performance Friday, Davis launched a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam Saturday before coming through with two more hits as a starter Sunday.
American League Quick Hits: Chris Colabello, whom the Twins tried to sell to a Korean team over the winter, leads the American League with 11 RBI after driving in four runs in Sunday's win over the Indians ... After neck discomfort forced him to miss his first start, Yu Darvish looked just fine in holding the Rays scoreless over seven innings for his first win of the season Sunday ... Josh Willingham left Sunday's game after being hit on the left wrist by a pitch, but X-rays came back negative and he should be good to go in short order ... J.J. Hardy was scratched from Sunday's game with back spasms, and they'll likely keep him out of Monday's contest as well ... Dexter Fowler continues to deal with viral gastroenteritis, a condition that threatens his availability for the Astros' upcoming series against the Blue Jays ... Gordon Beckham (oblique) missed a third straight rehab start Sunday as his oblique continues to bother him ... Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will begin throwing off a mound this week ... Chris Sale pitched eight scoreless innings to move to 2-0. The rest of the White Sox pitchers are a combined 1-3.