Seattle acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso from Oakland in a waiver trade on Sunday. It turns out the Mariners had been pursuing Alonso since before the non-waiver deadline on July 31, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including Greg Johns of MLB.com. Dipoto “couldn’t quite push it over the goal line,” though. The executive went on to suggest that Alonso, an impending free agent, could be more than a rental for the Mariners. “In this case, it’s a guy who fits us not just now, but potentially moving forward. What better way to get to know a player than have him join you?”
More on Seattle and a pair of National League clubs:
- While the Mariners bolstered their lineup Sunday in picking up Alonso, their bullpen may have taken a sizable step backward. Reliever David Phelps, whom the M’s acquired in July from the Marlins, left the first game of Seattle’s doubleheader against the Royals on Sunday with right elbow discomfort. That’s “never a good thing,” notes the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, who relays that Phelps’ fastball velocity was noticeably down during his shortened, seven-pitch frame. The Mariners are now left to hope for positive news regarding Phelps, who has been lights-out since joining his new club. Phelps has pitched seven innings of six-hit, two-run ball and posted an 11:1 K:BB ratio as a Mariner.
- The Pirates made a noteworthy trade of their own this weekend when they reacquired utilityman Sean Rodriguez from the Braves on Saturday. Rodriguez will provide further infield insurance in the event Jung Ho Kang never returns to the United States, writes Adam Berry of MLB.com. Kang has been stuck in South Korea and unable to get a visa since he was arrested and charged with his third DUI over the winter. GM Neal Huntington admitted last month that Kang probably won’t return this year. He took a more drastic step Sunday, saying: “That’s been an unfortunate reality from the outset that he may never get a visa again. We worked the process, worked the process again and have not gotten a different result. We’ll attack it in different ways again the next time through and hope there is a different outcome. We do need to begin to prepare as if he’s not coming back.” Because Kang’s on the restricted list, he hasn’t collected any of his $2.75MM salary for this season. He’s under Pirates control through 2019.
- The Mets will promote first base prospect Dominic Smith this month, GM Sandy Alderson implied to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com and other reporters. It just hasn’t happened yet because of the Mets’ logjam of veteran infielders, including the first base platoon of Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores. Bruce is an obvious trade candidate, but even if the Mets are unable to find a taker for the soon-to-be free agent this month, Smith will come up soon and start garnering experience at first. “At some point, we’ll just do it,” Alderson said. “There are player transactions that do take place in the month of August. Often, though, that doesn’t happen until the end of August. But I think at some point, if necessary, we’ll just make the playing time available.” The 22-year-old Smith, Baseball America’s 50th-ranked prospect, has slashed .332/.389/.524 in 486 plate appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas this season. Those numbers have come in an extremely hitter-friendly setting, though Smith’s line is still 34 percent better than Pacific Coast League average, per wRC+.
- Back to the Pirates, who have a highly touted outfield prospect in Austin Meadows, BA’s 22nd-ranked farmhand. Huntington indicated Sunday (via Berry) that Meadows won’t receive a major league promotion this season, thanks to a strained right hamstring. Meadows hasn’t played a Triple-A game since June 21 and is currently rehabbing at the rookie level. Given the time that he has missed, the Bucs have talked to Meadows’ representatives about having him play winter ball.