Let’s take a look in at the latest notes from around the National League’s Central division:
- The Cubs have placed long reliever Eddie Butler on the 10-day DL with a groin strain. He turned in four strong appearances to open the year but has been knocked around in his last two and now owns a 4.30 ERA over 14 2/3 innings, with ten strikeouts against five walks. There’s no reason at this point to believe that Butler will be sidelined long. Fellow righty Luke Farrell received the call to take the open active roster spot. He, too, ought to be able to give the team innings in some volume when needed, as he’s stretched out to start.
- C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic breaks down the Reds’ firing of skipper Bryan Price in a subscription piece. As Rosecrans observes, it is in some regard actually more surprising that Price lasted this long, despite never overseeing a winning product, than that he was fired so early in the current season. Of course, the struggles during his tenure have hardly all been his fault, and it may be that the long-rebuilding team finally felt this was the time to make a statement. There were some internal hopes of improvement entering the year, making it all the harder to stomach an ugly start to the season. GM Dick Williams explained that “now was the right time to do something about” the fact that the team’s offseason work had gone so far south. At the same time, he acknowledged that “this is an organizational disappointment,” not something that falls only at the feet of Price and his staff. It’s certainly hard to escape that conclusion; as I documented in breaking down the Reds’ offseason just yesterday, Price was not exactly given a compelling roster to work with this year or in the past.
- Fresh off an offseason extension, Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong has continued to carry above-average overall offensive numbers in his sophomore campaign, due mostly to a healthy .477 slugging percentage. But as Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes, DeJong is also exhibiting a worrying rise in strikeouts. Indeed, a league-leading thirty of his seventy plate appearances have ended with a K thus far. And DeJong has drawn only four walks, leaving him with a .286 OBP on the young season. As Frederickson notes, the 24-year-od is showing much greater selectivity thus far in 2018 than he did last year, but he’s also swinging and missing at rates typically procured only by elite relief pitchers. Much like young Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, DeJong still needs to show he can get on base consistently enough to be a compelling offensive player.