This year’s Padres are turning “tanking” into an art form, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Padres feature three players selected in the Rule 5 Draft, plus an incredibly inexperienced outfield and three starting pitchers who have recently been released. GM A.J. Preller’s strategy this season, Sherman writes, amounts to a “more extreme version of, say, what the Astros and Cubs did” — essentially, being indifferent to winning in the short term in order to get choice draft picks. Notably, Sherman detects a personal tone to criticism of the Padres’ strategy from employees of other organizations, in part because of Preller’s failure to disclose some relevant medical information in past trades, including the deal last season that sent Drew Pomeranz to Boston.
- The Astros have liked what they’ve seen so far of Charlie Morton, who signed a two-year, $14MM deal with the team last winter, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “I do believe that Charlie Morton isn’t a back-of-the-rotation guy,” said GM Jeff Luhnow during Spring Training. “He hit 97 three times in the first inning yesterday, with a lot of sink on his pitches and good secondary stuff. A healthy Charlie Morton could work himself into the conversation with Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers at the top of our rotation.” Morton allowed just two runs and two walks while striking out six in his first start of the year against the Mariners this week, although, uncharacteristically, he allowed 11 fly balls. Morton is excited about his new team’s prospects, Kepner writes. “The whole team is strong,” he says. “I just don’t see how we’re not set up to win.”
- With Rich Hill on the disabled list, the Dodgers will reinsert left-hander Alex Wood into their rotation for Monday’s game against the Cubs, manager Dave Roberts announced Saturday (via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). Wood wasn’t able to crack the Dodgers’ season-opening rotation, but he has enjoyed plenty of success as a starter. The 26-year-old has racked up 458 1/3 frames from the rotation and recorded a 3.40 ERA, 8.01 K/9 and 2.88 BB/9.
- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is eligible to come off the 10-day DL on Sunday, but the team is unsure if it will activate him, per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. “The bottom line is, we are in the information-gathering stage, and how he feels,” manager Jeff Banister said of Beltre, who’s sidelined with a calf injury. “We’ll go from there.” Beltre took live batting practice Saturday, though he’s not yet able to run at full speed. Considering they’re off Monday, the Rangers could opt against activating the 38-year-old in favor of a couple more days of rest.