The resurgence of Padres outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. is “opening eyes,” according to Friars general manager AJ Preller, who told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that the 31-year-old is garnering trade interest as a potential 30/30 player (Twitter link). Upton has racked up 16 home runs and 20 steals this year, so he at least has an outside shot at joining the 30/30 club. Overall, he has hit an above-average .262/.311/.454 through 353 trips to the plate this season. Dating back to last year, Upton has accounted for 3.2 fWAR while logging 581 plate appearances, thereby reviving his career after back-to-back poor seasons in Atlanta. The longtime Ray is expensive, though, with a $15.45MM salary this year and $16.45MM coming his way next season.
More from the National League:
- Given Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal’s ongoing struggles, manager Mike Matheny isn’t ruling out sending the right-hander to Triple-A. “You never know how guys are going to respond,” Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’ve got keep trying to figure out whatever it is we have to do to get him right. I don’t think you take anything off the table.” Rosenthal would join Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk as the third Redbird to unexpectedly receive a demotion this year, though the latter two responded well to theirs and are now back in the majors. A late-game ace with the Cardinals from 2012-15, Rosenthal has posted some ugly numbers – namely a 5.64 ERA, 7.12 BB/9 and 15.8 percent home run rate – leading the team to remove him from the closer role earlier this summer. Rosenthal also picked up his fourth blown save of 2016 on Friday, when he retired only one of four seventh-inning batters and allowed an earned run.
- In light of Rosenthal’s troubles, the Cardinals will search for bullpen aid before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, writes Hummel. General manager John Mozeliak doesn’t seem particularly worried, though, saying, “That’s not necessarily a thing (where) we have to do that.” The Cardinals rank 10th in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.66) and 11th in K-BB percentage (14.8). Help from within could come from star right-handed prospect Alex Reyes, Mozeliak stated, though the executive added that Reyes is likelier to receive a promotion as a starter. For now, Mozeliak is content with Reyes, 21, continuing to develop at the Triple-A level in Memphis, where he has accumulated 41 1/3 innings this year. The flame-throwing Reyes is Baseball America’s second-ranked prospect.
- Diamondbacks standout center fielder A.J. Pollock is making “ridiculously good” progress in his recovery from April surgery to repair a fractured elbow, and he expects to play this season, he told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “With these types of injuries, I’ve done research in the past and for some reason you don’t always see bone-to-bone healing,” Pollock said. “Maybe you see a little bit, but usually you have kind of fibers that bridge the gap. They don’t expect 100 percent bone-to-bone healing, but if you can get 50, 60 percent … but I’m way past that. I’m up in the 80s or 90s.” A return to the D-backs is nowhere near imminent for Pollock, notes Piecoro, who points out that the 28-year-old is only hitting off a tee right now, still has to rebuild his throwing strength and will need to embark on a multi-week rehab assignment upon receiving medical clearance to come back.
- The Rockies’ next 16 games might decide whether they hold or sell at the deadline, opines Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. At 42-48, Colorado sits six games out of a Wild Card position, but it has a chance to inch closer with its next eight matchups coming against the bottom-feeding Braves and Rays. If not, outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon, left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa and southpaw reliever Boone Logan are among the players the Rockies could ship out, Saunders contends.