Phillies righty Zach Eflin left yesterday’s game with shoulder discomfort, and while there’s no indication yet that the injury is serious, it continues a pattern for Phillies starters that’s likely to lead to the team pursuing rotation help this winter, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. The ten starters the Phillies have used this year include two pitchers who are now injured (Clay Buchholz and Vince Velasquez); Jeremy Hellickson, who’s now with Baltimore; and several younger pitchers who haven’t yet laid clear claim to more permanent spots. Their 2018 rotation now includes only two locks, Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff. That means they’re likely to pursue veteran starting pitching help this winter. A high-profile free agent like Yu Darvish seems unlikely, but the team could pursue any number of lower-tier options on the free agent and trade markets. Here’s more from the National League.
- The Rockies have announced that they’ve optioned righty Jeff Hoffman and third baseman Ryan McMahon to Triple-A Albuquerque. Taking their places on the active roster are righty Scott Oberg and outfielder Mike Tauchman. The Rockies say they’re optioning Hoffman in order to give him a bit of rest, as MLB.com’s Max Gelman notes. Hoffman has struggled in the second half, with a 7.13 ERA and just 5.9 K/9, and his velocity has been inconsistent of late. “That’s a sign to us. ’Hey, is your arm fine?’” says pitching coach Steve Foster. “’Yeah, I feel great. I’m healthy.’ OK, well then let’s give you a little break.”
- In the 2015-16 offseason, the Cardinals thought they were going to land David Price, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes. The Cards had reportedly offered Price $180MM, and they were located relatively near the Nashville area, where Price grew up. “We felt there were some synergies in his being a Cardinal — his Nashville roots, [and] he had made it fairly public that we were a team of interest,” says Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.” The Red Sox increased their offer to $217MM, and Price also says he liked the Red Sox’ young talent as compared to the Cardinals’. Price headed to Boston, and the Cards signed Mike Leake at a considerably lower price. As it turns out, the Cardinals’ miss on Price (who is currently on the DL with elbow trouble) turned out fairly well for them. “When I look at our organization, our pitching depth today is much stronger than it was in ’15,” says Mozeliak. “Those are always difficult negotiations and tough decisions that you do agonize over, trying to decide what’s best because of the long-term ramifications of what it could mean to your franchise. It could be quite punitive if it doesn’t work out.”