Following the loss of Adam Eaton for what could be the remainder of the season, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan touched on the possibility of a Royals/Nationals trade in his latest Ten Degrees column. The Nationals, according to Passan, expressed interest in Lorenzo Cain this offseason before they acquired Eaton in the first place. While the two sides obviously didn’t line up on a deal at the time, Passan notes that the combination of Cain and closer Kelvin Herrera, whom FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tied to the Nationals over the weekend, could present the Nats with the ability to fill two needs with one trade. While multiple reports have suggested that the Royals aren’t yet ready to sell, Passan notes that Kansas City’s 7-15 record and -37 run differential are both the worst marks in baseball, which means that even a strong performance in May might not be enough to turn their season around entirely.
A bit more from the NL East…
- Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News spoke to a pair of sports orthopedists about the partial tear of Noah Syndergaard’s right lat muscle, discussing the ways in which it can be treated and the potential absence Syndergaard could face. While all of those factors are dependent on the severity of the tear, neither medical expert suggested that surgery was likely. Ackert offers quotes from both Dr. Anthony Maddalo and Dr. Kenneth Mautner (the latter of whom is a team physician with the Braves), with each going into detail on the nature of lat injuries. While a platelet-rich plasma injection isn’t a standard treatment for a torn lat muscle, both said it could theoretically help accelerate the healing process. Rest, rehab and stretching were also suggested as possibilities, with a program along those lines taking potentially up to six weeks, Ackert notes. There’s still no official word on a timeline from the Mets, though Sandy Alderson will address reporters at 4pm ET.
- Syndergaard’s injury is obviously a severe problem for the Mets, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports opines that the injury is symbolic of a greater problem for baseball as a whole. The increased emphasis on velocity continues to put pitchers at risk, Rosenthal suggests, as young arms focus more on overpowering hitters than prioritizing durability. Rosenthal spoke extensively with Hall of Famer and current broadcaster John Smoltz on the matter. “(In the past), each pitcher was given the opportunity to learn what kind of pitcher they were going to be,” said Smoltz. “Now they’re all robots. … We’re getting dangerously close to every pitcher red-lining when he doesn’t really have to. They’re not preparing to learn how to pitch like it’s a six-gear car. They’re always in sixth gear. Never in fourth or fifth.”
- Marlins skipper Don Mattingly spoke to Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel about the importance of right-hander Jose Urena and lefty Jarlin Garcia to his bullpen. Mattingly suggested that even after Urena was roughed up in his most recent appearance on Friday, the righty has been vital in terms of keeping other relievers fresh (a point that righty David Phelps also emphasized to Healey). Asked if Urena could be a starting pitcher in the long run, as he was in the minors, Mattingly wouldn’t commit to a role for a long-term role for the 25-year-old. As for Garcia, Mattingly offered plenty of praise on the 24-year-old rookie, who made his MLB debut last month. “I think he thinks he’s ready to be here,” said Mattingly, “and that’s always really important for the younger guys. They believe that they can pitch here. Sometimes that takes a little while, gut Jarlin seems to think he belongs here.” Mattingly noted that having multiple southpaws would be preferable, though as Healey notes, the front office emphasized overall effectiveness over handedness this winter.