Every player has different priorities, many of which go beyond maximizing earnings, though that’s not always easy to discern from publicly available information. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting recent example, though, in Jason Hammel of the Cubs. The right-hander and his wife were disappointed to be dealt away from Chicago at the trade deadline in 2014, with Hammel telling Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein that he would “pitch well enough that you bring me back” even as he departed for the A’s. Though Hammel wasn’t as good in Oakland as he had been before the deal, that’s just what happened, as Hammel inked a two-year, $18MM deal in the offseason. It looked like a nice value for the team at the time, and the veteran has rewarded the Cubs with 204 2/3 innings of 3.43 ERA pitching since his return.
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta has been cleared to begin swinging a bat, as MLB.com’s Jen Langosch reports on Twitter. Peralta’s thumb injury looked like a major blow at the time, and while his loss has been softened by the stellar play of Aledmys Diaz, he should still provide a boost for a club that’s hovering around .500 while their division rivals to the north lay waste to the rest of the league. Fellow middle infielders Kolten Wong and Jedd Gyorko haven’t been nearly as effective as Diaz, and could cede playing time to Peralta when he’s healthy.
- Shane Victorino is active at Triple-A Iowa for the Cubs, but he might not spend much time there before a decision is made on his future with the organization. Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register tweets that Chicago has informed the veteran outfielder that his status will be reevaluated after a few weeks with the team’s top affiliate. Victorino is off to a solid start, with five hits — including two doubles and a triple — in his first four games.
- There’s long been talk that Epstein would sign a new deal with the Cubs before reaching executive free agency after the season, but he tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link) that there are no imminent extensions — either for himself or with any of the team’s players. Nevertheless, the presumption still seems to be that Epstein will re-up with the organization at some point.
- It was always expected to be a difficult season for the Reds, but the organization has dealt with more injuries than might’ve been hoped. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer provides updates on several situations. Righty Michael Lorenzen is just now returning to the hill after experiencing elbow issues this spring and then suffering a bout with mono. Fellow pitchers Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, and Jon Moscot are all making progress with their own injury matters, but certainly that’s not a list of arms that the club hoped to see on the DL at this stage of the year. DeSclafani, like Lorenzen, has yet to appear in the majors this season.