Since finishing out his contract with the Royals, veteran outfielder Alex Rios has remained conspicuously absent from the rumor mill. And with nearly a month of the season in the books, he has yet to sign. But the 35-year-old isn’t necessarily retiring, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). Rios had offers to play for teams, says Heyman, but has held out for a “significant role.” Of course, it seems unlikely that such an opportunity will suddenly present itself while Rios waits at home — particularly since he slashed a meager .255/.287/.353 last year — so it may well turn out that we’ve seen the last of him in the majors.
Here are a few notes from the central divisions:
- The Cubs have placed catcher Miguel Montero on the 15-day DL to give him a chance to rest his back. Expectations are that Montero won’t be out for long, and he says that he believes the issue stems from a chronic bulging disk, via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Chicago has gone with Tim Federowicz to pair with David Ross for the time being. As Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweets, the veteran call-up is likely to get a fair bit of playing time; Ross, after all, has been a career reserve and is in his final season. The 28-year-old Federowicz didn’t see any major league action last year after a four-year run with the Dodgers, but has been off to a hot start at the plate at Triple-A-.
- As Joe Maddon told reporters, including Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, it wasn’t quite the right time to give top prospect Willson Contreras a shot at the major league level. Maddon cited his “overall development” as an imperative, particularly with only a short fill-in likely needed. “In your mind’s eye,” said Maddon, “if you’re putting this whole thing together, with a guy like Willson, you’re probably going to wait until the second half, hopefully, to get him involved here. Or the latter part of the season to really get him here (and) get his feet on the ground.”
- The Reds are on the verge of getting some much-needed rotation help, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. Right-handers Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are each nearing the end of their minor league rehab assignments, as is left-hander John Lamb, who tossed eight innings in a rehab outing on Wednesday. Raisel Iglesias and Brandon Finnegan figure to remain in the rotation regardless, but Alfredo Simon and Jon Moscot could find themselves on the outside looking in, Sheldon notes. With righty Robert Stephenson and left-hander Cody Reed also on the precipice of MLB readiness, the Cincinnati starting unit could see a significant amount of turnover, which could have some positive trickle-down effects into what has been a dismal bullpen so far in 2016.