The White Sox have lost 14 of their last 18 games, including a nightmarish weekend sweep to the Royals that saw Chicago blow late-inning leads in all three games. Saturday’s result was the most crushing of all, as the White Sox held a 7-1 lead with one out in the ninth before allowing seven runs to lose 8-7. The sweep also pushed the Royals into first place in the AL Central. Here’s more from around the division…
- Phil Hughes is being moved to the Twins bullpen, manager Paul Molitor told reporters (including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger). Kyle Gibson will replace Hughes in Minnesota’s rotation. Hughes allowed a league-high 29 homers in 2015 and has struggled to a 4.74 ERA over 208 2/3 innings since the start of last season. Unless he can regain his form while relieving and eventually get back to the rotation, the Twins will face further scrutiny over signing Hughes to an extension following his excellent 2014 season, the first year of a three-year/$24MM contract. The Twins overwrote the final two years of that deal for a new extension that guaranteed Hughes $58MM from 2015-19.
- While the Indians could well be deadline buyers as they make a push for the division title, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer figures top prospects Clint Frazier, Bradley Zimmer and Bobby Bradley are untouchable in trade talks.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that since the start of the 2013 season, Justin Upton and Marlon Byrd have posted more similar counting stats than one might think. Upton is the better player overall (as seen through an fWAR comparison) and is a decade younger, though Pluto’s point is that the Indians are getting a bargain after signing Byrd to a minor league deal worth a $1MM guarantee plus incentives. The veteran is outperforming Upton, who has been a sub-replacement player in his first two months with the Tigers.
- Shane Greene could return to the Tigers as either a starter or reliever when he comes off the DL, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Michael Fulmer seems to have locked up a rotation spot, so Greene could find himself back in the pen barring further notice (such as if Jordan Zimmermann’s groin injury worsens). Greene has been sidelined with a finger blister.
- Dave Dombrowski is happy to have “a championship type of guy” like Eduardo Rodriguez on the Red Sox roster, but the southpaw was a trade roadblock back when Dombrowski was the Tigers’ general manager. As Dombrowski tells Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, Detroit was eager to acquire Andrew Miller from the Red Sox at the 2014 trade deadline and Dombrowski felt a deal was imminent after the Tigers agreed to give then-Sox GM Ben Cherington the two players he was seeking. Cherington had to make one more call, however, which led to Miller being dealt to the Orioles for Rodriguez. “They didn’t say we had a deal but you thought you had a deal,” Dombrowski said. “There is a difference between the two….It’s ironic how it worked out because I’m the benefactor of it. Really when they got Eduardo Rodriguez, he was better than the guys we were offering. So I understood it.”