Some rumblings from around both the AL and NL Central….
- Mike Moustakas looks like a prime candidate for a deadline trade, though in a video for FOX Sports (Twitter link), Ken Rosenthal cautions that the Royals could face some difficulties in finding a trade partner. For one, there aren’t any contenders with an obvious need at third base, though injuries can certainly change that equation. One rival executive tells Rosenthal that it can be hard to trade a single-position rental player like Moustakas at the deadline.
- Jung Ho Kang’s impending return to the Pirates “is probably his last chance with us,” GM Neal Huntington said on his weekly radio show with Joe Block (hat tip to MLB.com’s Adam Berry). Kang received a work visa earlier this week and is preparing to rejoin the Pirates organization after spending all of 2017 on the restricted list following a DUI conviction in South Korea. Should the infielder face any more off-the-field issues, things “are not going to go well for” Kang with the team, Huntington said. It isn’t any surprise that Kang is on a very short leash given his past history, and he very well could be entering his last few months with the Bucs regardless of how he might perform if and when he returns to the majors. It doesn’t seem likely that the Pirates will exercise their $5.5MM club option on Kang’s services for 2019, barring a major turn-around.
- While closer Corey Knebel has been on the DL, the Brewers’ adoption of a fully situational bullpen has been a big success, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Manager Craig Counsell has been deploying his pitchers simply as “out-getters,” in his words, and not worrying about using specific arms in specific roles. Entering today’s play, Brewers relievers had a cumulative 2.50 ERA (third-best in baseball) despite heavy usage, as the team has the fourth-most bullpen innings of any club in the league. This outstanding relief effort has helped the Brewers offset some pretty middling numbers from the starting rotation.
- With Mike Matheny set to manage his 1000th game on Tuesday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at how Matheny has handled the pressure and expectations of his six-plus seasons running the Cardinals’ dugout. Despite Matheny’s 559-440 record, he has faced criticism from some corners of the St. Louis fanbase for not having either the consistent success (particularly after consecutive non-playoff seasons) or the openness to publicly discuss decisions as former skipper Tony La Russa. Behind closed doors, however, Matheny has been praised for his leadership and teaching skills. “He’s got a lot of talents….He has it all covered,” Michael Wacha said. “Whenever he talks in front of a group of people that group of people is leaning in, listening to what he’s saying. He carries that confidence that he knows he belongs where he is.”