The Phillies announced that Howie Kendrick has been activated off the 10-day DL, with Brock Stassi heading down to Triple-A in corresponding move. Between this hamstring strain and a strained oblique earlier this season, Kendrick has been limited to just 33 games and 139 plate appearances in his first season in Philadelphia, though the veteran has been raking when he has been able to play. Kendrick is hitting .349/.403/.476 this year, and while some regression is surely baked into those numbers (his BABIP is a whopping .443), Kendrick’s bat, positional versatility and respected clubhouse presence make him a valuable trade chip for the Phillies. He’ll have 11 days to audition for other clubs and prove he is healthy before the deadline.
Here’s more from around the NL East…
- Even before he has made his return, some teams have expressed interest in trading for Kendrick, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes in a rundown of the Phillies’ potential deadline plans. Jeremy Hellickson has also drawn interest. While these two veterans and first baseman Tommy Joseph are being shopped, sources tell Zolecki that reliever Pat Neshek is definitely the most likely — and maybe the only –Phillie to be moved prior to the deadline. Kendrick, Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava could still be dealt but not until the August waiver period.
- Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera has drawn interest from the Indians, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter). The Tribe would use Cabrera (who spent the first seven-plus years of his career in Cleveland) at second base until Jason Kipnis returns from the DL, and Cabrera would them move into a utility infield role backing up Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. Cleveland could add bench depth if they can’t swing a larger trade, Crasnick writes (Twitter links) though “they appear to be on the fence” about making such a move, with current signs pointing towards nothing major in the works.
- The Nationals want to add another reliever and potentially some rotation depth, though it remains to be seen if they’ll have the prospects or money to make those deals happen, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier writes as part of a reader mailbag piece. It doesn’t look like the Nats will move top prospects Victor Robles, Juan Soto or Erick Fedde as part of any trade, plus the club already dealt from its secondary farm system stockpile in acquiring Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the A’s. That deal added roughly $5MM in salary to the Nationals’ 2017 payroll, so it’s possible Washington might be out of financial room, unless they can move some current salaries as part of a trade.
- Earlier this week, Jayson Werth told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters that he suffered a fracture in his left foot in addition to the bone bruise that has sidelined him since early June. Despite the ominous-sounding injury, Werth said that the bone bruise is the real problem, as he still can’t sprint. The veteran outfielder is taking batting practice and throwing, however, so going by the rough two-month timeline for bone bruise recovery, Werth could potentially be back with the Nationals in early August.
- Johan Camargo has impressed the Braves and is taking playing time away from shortstop Dansby Swanson, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. While the Braves still have full confidence in Swanson’s ability as a future franchise cornerstone, Camargo has hit .315/.338/.465 over his first 134 MLB plate appearances and flashed some good glovework at not just shortstop, but also at third base. The Braves’ experiment with Freddie Freeman at third has morphed into Freeman playing every day at either third or first base, with Camargo starting at the hot corner against left-handed pitching and Matt Adams starting at first against right-handed pitching. Camargo could be playing himself into a regular infield role for 2018, or possibly as a multi-positional superutility man capable of playing the outfield as well.