Some notes from around the AL West…
- Mariners manager Scott Servais is hopeful that Hisashi Iwakuma can throw a bullpen session before the end of Spring Training, Servais told MLB.com’s Greg Johns (Twitter link) and other reporters. Iwakuma is roughly expected to return by late May or early June, as the veteran righty continues his recovery from undergoing shoulder surgery last September. Iwakuma re-signed with Seattle on a minor league deal, giving the M’s a potential extra bit of rotation depth once he is fully healthy.
- The Athletics optioned right-hander Chris Bassitt to Triple-A today in the wake of a rough Spring Training, though Bassitt told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he believes a lack of communication about his role contributed to his 7.11 ERA over 6 1/3 IP. According to Bassitt, “I was told coming into camp I was going to compete for a starting spot and never got a single chance…It’s hard to prepare when you don’t know what you’re preparing for. Anyone just wants to know what they’re expecting out of you and so far no one can really answer that yet.” Bassitt said he was willing to pitch in whatever role the A’s wanted, except he just wanted more notice and more clarity about that role. “The way my mechanics are, I pretty much have to go out of the stretch when I come out of the bullpen, and I wasn’t prepared to be a reliever, I really wasn’t. It’s frustrating all around that wasn’t relayed to me all offseason,” he said. Oakland manager Bob Melvin said he felt the team “tried to intimate that to” Bassitt that he would be deployed in an undefined role as a swingman, long reliever, or starter depending on the situation. Bassitt last pitched in the majors in April 2016, as he was sidelined for much of that season due to Tommy John surgery, and he tossed 50 2/3 innings in the minors in 2017.
- Though Jose Altuve’s five-year, $151MM extension doesn’t begin until the 2020 season, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards believes the Astros aren’t facing too much risk in locking up the star second baseman. Comparing the Altuve deal to other extensions of five-plus years for players who were at least two seasons away from free agency, Altuve is younger than three of the names cited (Miguel Cabrera, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Howard) and is coming off a much better platform year than Ryan Zimmerman when he inked his six-year, $100MM pact with the Nationals. The best comp might actually be Joey Votto’s ten-year, $225MM extension from the Reds, though Houston’s commitment to Altuve was only half as long. Since Altuve still projects to be an excellent player going forward, the extension also shouldn’t be considered a “gift” — as in, the Astros weren’t simply giving him a make-good deal since his original extension proved to be such an incredible bargain for the team.