Here’s the latest from around the AL West…
- Mariners lefty James Paxton was two outs away from a complete game victory yesterday when he was hit on his throwing elbow by an Andrelton Simmons line drive. Fortunately for Paxton and the M’s, x-rays were negative and manager Scott Servais told reporters (including Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune) that he’s hoping Paxton may not even miss a start, thanks to an off-day this week in Seattle’s schedule. The injury has been diagnosed as a deep bruise, and Paxton will be able to pitch if the swelling subsides. Paxton has been a big part of the Mariners rotation, posting a 3.53 ERA, 4.06 K/BB rate and 8.04 K/9 over 81 2/3 IP this season, and any missed time for Paxton would undoubtedly be a blow to Seattle’s wild card hopes.
- In other Mariners pitching news, Taijuan Walker was optioned to Triple-A to create a 25-man roster spot for the newly-acquired Arquimedes Caminero. Ariel Miranda will continue in the Mariners’ rotation filling Walker’s spot. [Updated Mariners depth chart at Roster Resource.] Walker got off to a strong start this season that fueled his solid year-long stats (4.10 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 4.0 K/BB rate), though he has had trouble pitching deep into games. Walker has also struggled in his last two outings, sandwiched around a month-long DL stint due to right foot tendinitis, and the M’s couldn’t allow for Walker time to regain his form with the team in a playoff race. “His last 13 starts, he’s had three quality starts. It may be different if we were 10 or 15 games below .500. We’re not,” Servais told Dutton and other reporters.
- Despite the demotion, the Mariners haven’t given up on Walker and aren’t looking to trade him, Dutton tweets in response to a reader question. Walker received a lot of attention from other teams prior to the trade deadline but GM Jerry Dipoto said the young hurler wasn’t available.
With the Angels already looking ahead to 2017, both MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and the Los Angeles Times’ Pedro Moura addressed the team’s future in separate mailbag pieces. Gonzalez believes the Halos will have an offseason similar to last, when they look to upgrade with relatively low-cost or cost-neutral moves since the payroll will still be bogged down by several large contracts (albeit with some relief since C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver will be off the books). Aiming for contention in 2018 may be a wiser move since Josh Hamilton’s contract will also be up, and Gonzalez feels Kole Calhoun could be an interesting trade chip to address other needs, though Calhoun is obviously a valuable piece of the current roster.
Moura’s mailbag addresses such topics as whether or not Arte Moreno would consider selling the team (Moura doesn’t believe so), the possibility of Yunel Escobar being traded and Kaleb Cowart possibly stepping in as a low-cost third base option in his place, plus how Angels GM Billy Eppler really can’t be judged on his job performance since Eppler is still dealing with poor organizational decisions made prior to his hiring.