White Sox fans hoping to see Yoan Moncada join the Major League club will definitely be waiting a bit longer, as Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports that the top prospect is expected to land on the minor league 7-day disabled list tomorrow (Twitter link). Moncada has been playing through a sore left thumb, and while an MRI didn’t reveal any serious injury, it’s been nagging him enough that the team has decided it’s best to get him some rest. Soon to turn 22, Moncada got off to a ridiculous start to the 2017 season, hitting .352/.427/.565 through his first 27 games (124 plate appearances). His bat has slowed mightily over the last week, though, as he’s managed just a .258/.303/.290 line through his seven most recent games.
Elsewhere in the AL Central…
- Free-agent-to-be J.D. Martinez told reporters today that he’d love to remain in Detroit, but it’s “highly doubtful” that there’ll be any contract negotiations during the season (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Jordan Horrobin). Detroit could always look to re-sign Martinez this offseason, though that would run counter to GM Al Avila’s stated goal of lowering the team’s long-term payroll outlook. Martinez has burst back into the Tigers’ lineup with an outrageous four-game stretch, as he’s already blasted four homers and collected hits in six of his 12 at-bats while also drawing five walks. Detroit is two games back from the division lead and Martinez doesn’t figure to be a trade chip if they remain that close to a potential division title. But, if the team begins to slip, he’ll be an interesting player to monitor as the non-waiver deadline approaches.
- Royals righty Ian Kennedy is showing signs of improvement in his injured right hamstring, as Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports. The 32-year-old could return by this coming weekend, per manager Ned Yost. That would rate as a welcome development for the scuffling Royals, who have received six solid outings from Kennedy thus far. He has held opposing batters to just 23 hits and currently carries a 3.03 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. If Kennedy can pick up where he left off, he’ll set up some interesting scenarios. Kansas City could explore trading him this summer if the team can’t turn things around. And then there’s the question of Kennedy’s contract, which allows him to opt out of the three years and $49MM that remains (in favor of a $6MM buyout) after the season.
- While many are beginning to wonder whether the Royals will engineer a tear-down of the current MLB roster this summer, GM Dayton Moore says he’s not yet entertaining that possibility, as Dodd further reports. There’s no rush in making any decisions, Moore emphasized, noting that trades can come together quickly “if you have two willing partners.” While the club is still six games under .500, moreover, it has performed better of late and remains within reach of the front of a tightly-bunched pack in the AL Central. Moore drew an interesting analogy to the 2015 Tigers in explaining why he sees little reason to contemplate a summer sale effort. While that organization seemed prepared to hold at the deadline, he notes, “all of a sudden, some things changed, and Dave Dombrowski says he’s going to trade David Price, and the deal comes together very quickly.”
- The Indians have some added clarity on the timeline for injured outfielder Abraham Almonte, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. The team anticipates that he’ll be down for three to five weeks with what has been diagnosed as a sprained right biceps tendon. While the team is down a few outfielders, that has opened the door to top prospect Bradley Zimmer. Though Zimmer went down on strikeouts three times in his debut yesterday, he has already slashed a double today for his first MLB hit and seems to have an opportunity to lay claim to a regular job.
- Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey spoke to FanRag’s John Perrotto about the temptation to trade right-hander Ervin Santana this offseason but noted that the team ultimately came to the conclusion that it was best to hang onto the veteran righty. “We felt it was really important to have that anchor for the rotation,” Falvey tells Perrotto. “You need that pitcher who you can count on to give you a good outing and pitch deep into games almost every time out. We felt we had that Ervin and whatever we might get back in a trade wouldn’t equal the value of what he brings to us.” The decision looks wise in hindsight, Perrotto adds, now that Minnesota has gotten off to a strong start thanks largely to Santana’s success. And of course, if Minnesota cannot sustain its division-leading pace, then Santana, who is guaranteed $24.6MM through the end of the 2018 season and has a 2019 option, could still be an appealing trade piece. Through 54 innings this year, Santana owns a 1.50 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 44.9 percent ground-ball rate.