The biggest stories featured on MLBTR over the past week:
Braves end the Bartolo Colon experiment: Even though Colon, 44, is the majors’ oldest player, the Braves’ decision to hand him a $12.5MM guarantee in the offseason was hardly indefensible at the time. The revered Colon was coming off his sixth straight quality season since an unexpected resurgence, and another respectable showing this year from the ex-Met could have helped the Braves hang in the playoff race or give them a potential trade deadline chip. Unfortunately, Colon’s career has taken a disastrous (and potentially fatal) turn this season. The 235-game winner pitched to an 8.07 ERA over 63 innings with the Braves, forcing them to designate him for assignment.
Drew Smyly to undergo Tommy John surgery: Smyly was one of Seattle’s key pickups over the winter, when it took a circuitous, costly route to acquire him from the Rays, but it’s now possible he’ll never pitch for the Mariners. The 28-year-old left-hander suffered an elbow injury prior to the regular season, thereby keeping him out through June, and then discovered during the rehab process that he’ll need to undergo surgery on a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Smyly will miss the next 12 to 15 months, putting his future with the M’s in question. After all, Smyly is only under control for one more year, and at $6.85MM, he’ll be fairly expensive in 2018 for someone who won’t be able to contribute. For now, the loss of Smyly takes away a potential midseason rotation reinforcement for the Mariners, who have fought through a rash of injuries to hang around a crowded American League wild-card race.
Veteran catchers in flux: The past week was an eventful one for established catchers Miguel Montero, Stephen Vogt and Derek Norris. Montero is the only member of the trio who has turned in a solid year offensively, having hit .286/.366/.439 in 112 plate appearances, but the Cubs designated him Wednesday after a regrettable on- and off-field performance Tuesday. Montero, with the help of right-hander Jake Arrieta, yielded seven stolen bases in a loss to the Nationals and then criticized the hurler after the game for his role in the debacle. Montero had a point, as FanGraphs’ Travis Sawchik wrote, but publicly throwing a teammate under the bus didn’t endear him to either the Cubs’ players or decision makers. As such, the club moved on from Montero after two-plus seasons. A few days before Montero’s tenure with the Cubs unexpectedly concluded, the team they’re chasing in the NL Central, the first-place Brewers, claimed Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt had been in Oakland since 2013, but his poor start to the season convinced the A’s to designate him. The 32-year-old has been a welcome addition to Milwaukee’s roster, though, as he has already swatted two home runs in eight trips to the plate. Meanwhile, Norris landed on the free agent market when the Rays released him Tuesday. The once-capable hitter was in the midst of his second consecutive subpar offensive season before the Rays moved on from him.
Marlins to change hands soon: To the relief of many Marlins fans, much-maligned owner Jeffrey Loria’s reign looks as if it’s on the verge of ending. Loria, who purchased the Marlins for $158MM in 2002, is likely to sell the team soon for between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion. It’s unclear who will buy the franchise, but one prospective ownership group features Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and another includes the Cooperstown-bound Derek Jeter.
Rays find a shortstop: In on-field Marlins news, they shipped shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to the Rays on Monday for a pair of minor leaguers. In doing so, the Marlins rid themselves of what’s left of Hechavarria’s $4.35MM salary and freed up the shortstop position for JT Riddle. Tampa Bay – which, unlike Miami, is contending for a playoff spot – sought help at short thanks to Matt Duffy’s seasonlong injury woes. Hechavarria has earned a rep as a defense-first shortstop, but he was a decent offensive player as recently as 2015 and has so far collected eight hits in 16 PAs with the Rays.