Padres general manager A.J. Preller was on-hand to watch the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate earlier this week, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Roughriders, Grant notes, were playing the Padres’ own Double-A affiliate so there’s the possibility of reading too much into the situation, but he notes that the GMs of selling clubs are more concerned with watching who they might acquire this time of year rather than evaluating their own internal talent. Per Grant, the Athletics also had one of their top minor league evaluators, Billy Owens, present at that contest. Grant notes that names like Andrew Cashner and Rich Hill have been connected to the Rangers in recent weeks, so there’s reason to believe that some homework on one of those two very available pitchers was being done. On a related note, the Padres are reportedly hoping to trade Cashner before his scheduled start tomorrow evening.
A few more notes out of the American League West…
- ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that rival evaluators and executives are trying to determine exactly how much the Rangers truly value Joey Gallo (Twitter link). Some within the industry, according to Olney, feel that the Rangers’ firm reluctance to part with Gallo is actually a smokescreen, and they’d be more willing to part with him than has otherwise been indicated. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported something similar earlier this week, writing that some rival executives do think the Rangers would move Gallo for the right offer. Many Rangers fans questioned why Gallo wasn’t promoted today with news of Prince Fielder’s potentially season-ending injury breaking, but as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes, the likely reason for that is that the Rangers are planning to give the lion’s share of Fielder’s at-bats to another ballyhooed young player: Jurickson Profar.
- Astros top prospect — and the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, per ESPN’s Keith Law — Alex Bregman played left field for the first time with Triple-A Fresno tonight, writes Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. As Kaplan notes, increased defensive versatility will make it easier to keep Bregman in the lineup once he joins the big league club — especially with Yulieski Gurriel not far behind him. Kaplan says that while the Astros aren’t publicly tipping their hand as to when Bregman will be promoted, it could happen as soon as Friday for the club’s weekend series against the Angels. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX and MLB.com hears similarly, tweeting that Bregman could be playing left field in the Majors by next week.
- The Mariners received a devastating bit of news today, as the club’s first-round pick, Kyle Lewis, suffered a torn ACL as well as medial and lateral meniscus tears in his right knee in a collision at home plate. The former Mercer outfielder was said by some to be the top talent in the 2016 draft but slid to Seattle with the No. 11 pick. The 6’4″, 210-pound Lewis was off to a brilliant start to his pro career, slashing .299/.385/.530 with eight doubles, five triples and three homers through 135 plate appearances with Seattle’s short-season Class-A affiliate in the Northwest League. He’ll be sidelined for the remainder of the 2016 season and hope to be back to full health in time for the opening of the 2017 season.
- Sticking with the Mariners, the team’s acquisition of Dan Vogelbach in today’s Mike Montgomery trade leaves Adam Lind with a virtually MLB-ready prospect waiting in the wings at Triple-A. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter) that many executives believed that the Mariners would shop Lind, who has had a disappointing season, even before acquiring Vogelbach. The addition of the slugging first baseman/designated hitter makes it even likelier that the club will move on from Lind. Of course, Lind is having arguably the worst season of his career; he did slug a homer today (his 15th) but is still hitting just .231/.264/.449.