A look at what’s trending in Major League Baseball:
Power of Brew: Chris Carter tied for the National League lead last season with 41 home runs. The Brewers let him go — for nothing! — and replaced him with Eric Thames, who had washed out of the majors in 2012 but hit 124 home runs in three years for the NC Dinos in South Korea. Thames, 30, is batting .379 with eight home runs — the most in the majors — in his first 16 games for the Brewers. Turns out the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays also pursued him last winter. “Milwaukee has great beer,” he told USA Today. “I love beer.”
Rocky mountain high: The Colorado Rockies rebuilt their pitching staff with a veteran-laden bullpen, taking a chance on former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland, in his first year coming off Tommy John surgery. Holland has appeared in nine games and saved each one. The Rockies surged to the early lead in the NL West in large part to a bullpen that has put up a 2.64 ERA – the best in the NL. The Rockies’ relief ERA last season: 5.13. The Colorado pitching depth already is tested because two of the top four starters are on the disabled list, Jon Gray (fractured toe) and Chad Bettis (testicular cancer).
Going out in style: Ichiro Suzuki said in spring training that he’d like to play until he’s 50. For now, he’s a 43-year-old fourth outfielder, which means every season could be his last. On Wednesday, in what could have been his final at-bat in Safeco Field, he homered for the Miami Marlins. Ichiro is revered in Seattle, the brightest star on the last Mariners playoff team in (ugh) 2001 and one of two Mariners to win the American League MVP award. Ken Griffey Jr. is the other, and the Mariners put up a statue of him last weekend. Ichiro could very well be next. What, you think A-Rod is getting one?
Giant mess: Hey, San Francisco Giants, this is your April: Your best player, Buster Posey, suffered a concussion. Your manager, Bruce Bochy, had to undergo a heart procedure. And now your best pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, injured his pitching shoulder in what the team said was a dirt-bike accident. The Dodgers survived two months without Clayton Kershaw last season, so maybe the Giants can do the same without Bumgarner this season. But if the injury had happened to Bumgarner’s nemesis, Yasiel Puig, wouldn’t Puig have been ripped for disrespecting his teammates by engaging in a dangerous activity during the season?
Powering down: As Jose Bautista headed into his walk year last season, he reportedly told the Toronto Blue Jays that he needed at least five years and $150 million. Such a contract would have taken Bautista to at least age 40, in an era where drug testing has restored the aging curve for sluggers. The Jays said no and, when he hit free agency last fall, so did every other team. He took a one-year contract to return to Toronto, rebound from a .234 season and earn a…