With the next wave of season openers nearly upon us, here are a few of the final notable roster decisions from around the league…
- The Reds have placed right-hander Homer Bailey on the disabled list and promoted fellow right-hander and top prospect Robert Stephenson, the club announced. However, it appears that Stephenson, who rates among the game’s 35 best minor leaguers (per Baseball America, MLB.com and ESPN’s Keith Law) will merely be making a spot start and isn’t yet being viewed as a long-term option in the rotation; C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Stephenson will likely be optioned back to Triple-A following his start, as right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will be ready to come of the DL and join the rotation on April 10. Cincinnati currently has Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan and Stephenson lined up for their season-opening series against the Phillies, with Alfredo Simon set to start the club’s fourth game of the year. DeSclafani should grab Stephenson’s spot in the rotation’s second cycle of the season, and right-hander Jon Moscot should be able to return mid-month — possibly to start on April 17. As such, Stephenson’s promotion could simply amount to a glimpse of the future for Reds fans at this time, though Cincinnati’s rotation picture is fluid enough to imagine Stephenson changing their plans with a dominant showing. Service time doesn’t figure to be a major factor here, as the Reds would only lose a year of control if Stephenson were to accrue 172 days of service this season, and a quick return to the minors would make that unlikely.
- Veteran right-hander Chien-Ming Wang made the Royals’ roster, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes. Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, who filled that same role with the Yankees a decade ago when Wang was pitching in New York, tells Flanagan that the righty looks like the pitcher he had in his rotation 10 years ago. Wang’s velocity is said to have spiked to the mid-90s this spring, and when he does toe the rubber for the Royals, it’ll be the first time he steps foot on a Major League mound since 2013. Additionally, outfielders Reymond Fuentes and Terrance Gore have made the Kansas City roster. (Neither Wang nor Gore appeared in last night’s season opener against the Mets.)
- The Rangers assigned right-hander A.J. Griffin to Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, but as Anthony Andro writes for MLB.com, there’s a good chance he could be recalled on Friday to serve as the club’s fifth starter. As Andro notes, the assignment could be a tactical move, as Texas doesn’t need a fifth starter until Friday, and stashing Griffin at Triple-A will allow the club to carry an extra reliever for the time being (in addition to delaying a 40-man roster decision). Griffin, though, has not yet been officially informed that he is the team’s fifth starter, Andro stresses. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets the same, adding that the lack of definitive word from the club could indicate that the Rangers are still looking at the trade market for starting pitching additions.