The Astros have optioned Evan Gattis to Double-A, where he’ll get comfortable behind the plate, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports (links to Twitter). Houston has yet to utilize the 29-year-old as a catcher, but he broke into the league in that position. With the organization one of several struggling with receiving depth, it seems he’ll have a chance to don the tools of ignorance once again. Gattis, who’s off to a rough start at the plate (.213/.269/.328), says that he’s excited at the development. Kaplan suggests that Gattis is unlikely to spend more than the requisite ten days on optional assignment.
Here’s more from the AL West:
- Angels GM Billy Eppler made clear that the organization is not going to begin entertaining the idea of trading superstar Mike Trout after the awful pitching news received today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Halos are looking hard at options for the rotation, he says, and still believes in its chances. “This team was up against a lot of adversity last year and fought to the end,” says Eppler. “We’ve got a lot of character, a lot of the same guys on the club. They will not back down from a fight.” Some aren’t so sure that’s the right approach for the Angels. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs argues that the team’s near-term outlook, depleted farm, and continued payroll constraints provide cause to at least consider taking offers on Trout, who’d surely draw unprecedented trade interest. ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield, meanwhile, draws on that piece and looks at a few organizations that could plausibly make a run at a player whose immense productivity and appealing contract make him the single most valuable asset in the sport.
- The Angels have another quality young outfielder in Kole Calhoun, and Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times profiles his unlikely path to the majors. Long overlooked despite his performances as an amateur, Calhoun has turned into an eighth-round hidden gem for the Halos. “I don’t know what all of professional baseball was thinking,” said former scouting director Eddie Bane. “We were just dumb.”
- Former Angels prospect Hunter Green is sticking with his plans to retire, Mike DiGiovanna writes for Baseball America. The wiry lefty dealt with significant injury issues, and ultimately decided to hang ’em up after failing to get back on track. While the organization tried to convince him to stick with it, the former second-rounder has apparently decided to move on from the sport.
- Having seemingly come from out of nowhere to where he is now — a quality starter for the Athletics — Rich Hill’s back story remains of interest. According to Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, Hill showed plenty of signs back when he caught the southpaw in the upper minors, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. “The stuff for a left-hander, I always thought was something you don’t see much with the type of pitches he could throw,” said Wieters.
- Felix Hernandez has provided the Mariners with typically productive innings, but there’s some cause for real concern, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs writes. The veteran righty has seen his velocity steadily decline in years past, but now he’s experienced a sudden drop-off that’s left him sitting below 90 mph with his average fastball. Meanwhile, he’s also struggling to hit the zone. While Hernandez has thus far managed to generate plenty of soft contact, the 30-year-old certainly doesn’t look like the same pitcher he has been in years past. Whether he can continue to put up ace-like results remains to be seen.