The Rays optioned catcher Hank Conger to Triple-A on Monday, reports the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, who adds that either J.P. Arencibia or Luke Maile will likely replace him. Before joining the Rays via trade with the Astros in the offseason, Conger served as an excellent pitch-framing defensive option and, in both 2013 and ’15, a league-average bat over 484 plate appearances. Neither has held true this year, though, as Conger has hit an ugly .194/.265/.306 through 137 major league plate trips and earned negative pitch-framing marks. The 27-year-old also had a stretch of allowing 48 straight stolen bases dating back to last season, though he put an end to that May 1. Overall, Conger threw out 8 of 35 would-be base stealers this year prior to Monday’s demotion.
More from the AL East:
- The .500 Yankees have told left-handed reliever Andrew Miller that they’ll trade him by the Aug. 1 deadline if an offer comes along that’s too enticing to pass on, he said Monday (Twitter link via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). It’s unclear what kind of package would compel the Yankees to deal Miller, but the 31-year-old has established himself as an elite bullpen weapon in recent seasons and should be able to bring back an impressive return. Miller, who’s signed through 2018 at a reasonable $9MM per year, has thrown 101 innings as a Yankee going back to last season and put up a 1.78 ERA, 15.06 K/9, 2.23 BB/9 and 51.1 percent ground-ball rate.
- The Blue Jays and pending free agent Edwin Encarnacion have not restarted dormant contract talks, the designated hitter and first baseman told Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). “Nothing. We don’t talk anymore about that,” said Encarnacion, whom MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes currently ranks as the third-best free agent in the upcoming class. With a .267/.358/.541 line and 23 home runs in 387 plate appearances, the 33-year-old has remained among the game’s most formidable sluggers this season.
- Soon-to-be 40-year-old Yankees right fielder and DH Carlos Beltran is aiming to play two more years – though he acknowledged that he’d likely to have remain in the AL because of the DH – writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The way I’m contributing and the way I feel physically, two more years would be a great accomplishment for me personally and give me a chance to win a World Series,” said the free agent-to-be and potential trade chip at this year’s deadline. A potential future Hall of Famer, Beltran has slashed .299/.338/.550 with 19 home runs in 320 PAs this year en route to his ninth All-Star selection.