Pirates GM Neal Huntington says the team plans to spend money the team recently saved from Starling Marte’s PED suspension, Jung Ho Kang’s prolonged visa issues, and the release of Jared Hughes, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. “As soon as that option becomes available, we’ll gladly pour the money back into the club,” Huntington says. Of course, as Huntington notes, early-season trades are rare. It’s also far from clear that the Pirates, who are currently just 20-24, will head toward the trade deadline as buyers in the conventional sense. If the Bucs are in contention come July, though, it sounds like they’ll have money to spend — the combined total they’ve saved from Marte, Kang and Hughes (minus the 45 days’ salary they paid Hughes as a he departed near the end of Spring Training) comes out to over $5MM. Here’s more from the National League.
- Brett Cecil’s struggles in his first season with the Cardinals after signing a $30.5MM contract, as well as seemingly minor injury issues to pitchers like Trevor Rosenthal (arm soreness) and Kevin Siegrist (neck), have strained the team’s bullpen, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Cecil has allowed 11 runs (nine earned) and nine walks in 14 1/3 innings thus far (although he’s struck out 18). It doesn’t sound, however, like GM John Mozeliak is yet on the lookout for late-inning relief help. “On paper I feel like it’s a luxury to have three players who can pitch the eighth and ninth,” Mozeliak says, presumably meaning Cecil, Rosenthal and closer Seung Hwan Oh, although Siegrist has also frequently pitched in the late innings this season. “Clearly, the way Cecil’s performed to date, it’s been tough, it’s been better and it’s been tough again. I still think over the course of the year he’s going to be somebody we can count on, but he’s certainly having to work through some early struggles.”
- The Dodgers have announced that they’ve optioned young lefty Julio Urias to Triple-A Oklahoma City, recalling righty Josh Ravin from Oklahoma City to take his place. Urias allowed seven runs (six earned) in 2 1/3 innings against the Marlins yesterday, giving him a 5.40 ERA with just 4.2 K/9 and a 5.4 BB/9 over five starts this season despite allowing just two runs total in his first three. The Dodgers currently have six potential starting pitchers either on their 25-man or soon to be available (Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Alex Wood, plus Kenta Maeda, who is expected to return from the disabled list this week) so they can afford to let the 20-year-old Urias continue to develop in the minors for the time being.