Financial reasons played a key role in the Nationals’ offseason decision to trade for then-White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton instead of the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). With his $4MM salary this year, Eaton is much cheaper than McCutchen ($14MM), and acquiring the latter would have forced the Nationals to jettison left-hander Gio Gonzalez and his $12MM price tag in a separate deal, says Rosenthal. In addition to having concerns over how their payroll would have looked with McCutchen, the Nationals had no interest in meeting Pittsburgh’s lofty demands for the five-time All-Star. Washington bought high on Eaton, whose excellent 2016 helped convinced the club to give up high-end pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning for him. McCutchen, on the other hand, had a career-worst season last year, yet the Pirates wanted an even more impressive package for him than the Nationals sent the White Sox, according to Rosenthal. Pittsburgh held out for both pitching prospects and major leaguers, leading the Nats to go in another direction.
More from around the sport:
- Outfielder Coco Crisp said during the winter that he wasn’t ready to retire, and even though he still hasn’t landed a contract, the 37-year-old wants to continue playing, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Crisp hasn’t been able to find work on the heels of a season in which he hit an underwhelming .231/.302/.397 with 13 home runs and 10 stolen bases in a combined 498 plate appearances with the Athletics and Indians. He was worse in the field, accounting for minus-10 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-11.1 Ultimate Zone Rating.
- Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias “might” make his first big league start of 2017 in the coming week, manager Dave Roberts said Saturday (via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). Urias would step in for Alex Wood, who Gurnick notes would return to the bullpen after making a start in place of the injured Rich Hill on Friday. The 20-year-old Urias tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings and 93 pitches Friday with Triple-A Oklahoma. As for Hill, who has dealt with chronic blister issues since last year, he has “tinkered” with a new grip during his latest DL stint, per Roberts. Hill has also tried to cure his problems with pickle juice and rice, among other methods mentioned by Gurnick. It seems the 37-year-old has made progress in his recovery. “It’s toughened up for sure,” Hill said of the blister.
- Jorge Soler is getting closer to making his Royals debut. The outfielder, on the shelf since March with an oblique injury, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Friday, relays Dave Sessions of MLB.com. The Royals are unsure when they’ll call up Soler, whom they acquired from the Cubs for closer Wade Davis over the winter. When Soler is healthy enough to return, his bat “could be a big boost,” manager Ned Yost said. Kansas City’s offense entered Saturday dead last in the majors in both runs and wRC+, so its lineup certainly needs a jolt.
- Rangers minor league left-hander Joe Palumbo will undergo Tommy John surgery during the upcoming week, tweets TR Sullivan of MLB.com. Palumbo, one of the Rangers’ 10 best prospects, will now lose a year of development as a result of a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The 22-year-old was extremely impressive this season at the High-A level, where he recorded a 0.66 ERA, 14.49 K/9 and 2.63 BB/9 in 13 2/3 innings.