Change for a Nickel

The Crossover Column: A bit of Baseball …

… A lot of something else …

Neal Huntington gets ’em. Ray Searage fixes ’em.

They signed a pitcher with a broken arm (okay, it was the right arm and he is a lefty, but still …) and have gotten 35 wins out of Francisco Liriano. They brought back A.J. Burnett after he led the world in losses and turned him into a first-time All-Star. They dealt for a reliever with 6.20 ERA and turned him into a 51-save closer.

Now they’ve gone so unconventional, the GM should launch his own fast-food franchise and call it Neal out of the Box.

They’ve essentially swapped Neil Walker and Charlie Morton, who was 9-9 with a 1.38 WHIP, for Jonathan Niese, who was  9-10 with a 1.40 WHIP. Ryan Vogelsong is this year’s boomerang Buccos righty, trying to pull a Burnett. The 40-man teems with projects.

Jim Benedict had always gotten a lot of the credit for past pitching makeovers. But he is now the Marlins’ vice president for pitching development, so we’ll find out if Searage is the real Dr. Frankenstein. …

“I want to see whether the Royals can make an adequate defense of their pennant or whether they’re as bad as they look on paper …”