Some items from around the AL West…
- The Mariners apparently aren’t planning to make Nelson Cruz available in trade talks, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. The newly-acquired Ryon Healy will be used at first base, leaving Cruz to his usual role as Seattle’s designated hitter. A 37-year-old, DH-only player entering the final year of his contract would seem like a logical trade chip on paper, though Cruz has been such a valuable hitter for the M’s that moving him would be a questionable move for a team planning to contend in 2018. Cruz has done nothing but rake since coming to Seattle three seasons ago, batting .292/.368/.557 with 126 homers over 1967 plate appearances.
- Healy was acquired for Emilio Pagan, and between losing Pagan and fellow righty Thyago Vieria (in another deal with the White Sox), Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told MLB.com’s Greg Johns and other reporters that he feels his team was able to spare the arms. “Right-handed bullpen is a place we felt we had a little depth, and we turned some of that depth into a first baseman, which was not an area we were quite as flush,” Dipoto said. While the M’s were hit hard by injuries last year, they do have a number of rotation and bullpen options on hand, including several youngsters rising through the farm system. (For a full overview of the Mariners’ pitching options, check out their roster page at Roster Resource.)
- Evan Gattis logged more time at catcher than designated hitter in 2017, but it’s very likely to be the other way around next season, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros plan to use Gattis almost exclusively at DH (replacing the departed Carlos Beltran) and find a more traditional No. 2 catcher to place behind Brian McCann. Houston could go outside the organization to find McCann’s next backup, but the team may like in-house option Max Stassi enough to give him the role, Kaplan relays. Both Stassi and fellow reserve catcher Juan Centeno will be out of options next season, and Kaplan suggests that the Astros will try to keep the latter in the organization by sending him through outright waivers in the coming months.
- The Athletics have a full 40-man roster, which MLB.com’s Jane Lee notes could lead to some shuffling before Monday evening’s deadline to set rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. Lee lists five prospects (outfielder B.J. Boyd and right-handers Heath Fillmyer, Casey Meisner, Lou Trivino, and Jake Sanchez) as potential candidates to be added to Oakland’s 40-man, lest they be taken by another team in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place in December.