With so many starting pitchers potentially hitting the trade market in the coming months, don’t be surprised if teams begin selling off rotation pieces as early as mid-June, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. In the event they don’t rebound from subpar starts, unexpected sellers such as the Giants, Blue Jays and Rangers should hasten movement, per Sherman. Further, the new qualifying offer system (which no longer allows teams to receive first-round picks for departed free agents) will almost certainly lead to the Rangers marketing free agent-to-be Yu Darvish and the Blue Jays doing the same with impending free agent Marco Estrada, Sherman contends. The likeliest seller, though, appears to be the floundering Royals, who “are dying to declare,” one AL executive told Sherman. Kansas City could attempt to sell high on contract-year southpaw Jason Vargas, who has stunningly delivered a 1.01 ERA in 44 2/3 innings to begin his age-34 season.
- The rehab start Red Sox left-hander David Price was supposed to make for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday was postponed due to rain, so he threw a 75-pitch simulated game indoors, per Scott Lauber of ESPN.com. Price will start Pawtucket’s game Friday at Triple-A Buffalo, weather permitting, and could rejoin the Red Sox if that goes well. “We’ll re-evaluate following Friday and wouldn’t rule out his return to us if everything goes according to plan,” said manager John Farrell (via John Tomase of WEEI). Price hasn’t pitched yet this season on account of an elbow issue that cropped up in early March.
- Orioles righty Dylan Bundy has already thrown 51 2/3 innings in 2017, meaning he’s nearly halfway to the career-high 109 1/3 professional frames he tossed last year. That could be a problem for the recent Tommy John surgery recipient, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com points out. However, despite both Bundy’s innings total and the fact that he has amassed no fewer than 99 pitches in any of his eight starts, manager Buck Showalter isn’t overly concerned about the 24-year-old’s workload. “We’re careful. There is nobody more careful,” said Showalter. “I’m very proud about the health of our pitchers. It’s by design. It’s walk around and talk to them. Knowing their backgrounds. But to try to evaluate someone’s health on how many pitches or innings he’s thrown from one year to the next is a big excuse. It’s more about knowing the evidence and the person. Believe me, I’m concerned about it. I’ll put our track record of that part of it. … We’re watching everything Dylan does.”
- Cardinals lefty reliever Brett Cecil has fared poorly in the first season of the four-year, $30.5MM deal he signed as a free agent over the winter, having logged a 5.79 ERA and a 4.50 BB/9, and given up a 1.429 OPS to left-handed hitters. When speaking this weekend with reporters – including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Cecil used the word “embarrassing” multiple times to describe his performance, though he believes his problems stem from a fixable mechanical issue. “I know I have a good track record,” the ex-Blue Jay said. “Obviously, I know I can get guys out. And these are struggles I’ve dealt with before.”