As the legendary Willie Mays celebrates his 87th birthday, here are some notes from around the baseball world…
- The Giants could be a potential fit as a suitor for Matt Harvey, as the former Mets ace’s arm intrigues some members of San Francisco organization, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). Rather than take on the extra salary that would come with claiming or trading for Harvey during his DFA period, Schulman figures the Giants will wait until he hits the open market before considering a pursuit. The Giants have little salary room to spare as they aim to stay under the $187MM luxury tax limit, so their obvious preference is to sign Harvey for a prorated minimum salary.
- While a Matt Harvey-for-Blake Swihart trade doesn’t seem to be in the cards, The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey (subscription required) wonders if the Red Sox could still have interest in Harvey as a reclamation project given assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister’s recent success in reviving struggling veteran starters. The Sox also have some experience in dealing with pitchers returning from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in the form of Tyler Thornburg, though Bannister notes that “we’re all kind of still learning about” how to best rehab pitchers after the TOS procedure.
- With an 8-26 record, it’s seemingly only a matter of time before the Orioles start making some necessary changes, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes (subscription required) in a follow-up to his piece last month about Baltimore’s evolving front office and ownership dynamic. Since executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette seems to be losing influence within the organization, Rosenthal asks “why would they keep Duquette at all?” as the team approaches some critical long-term decisions at the trade deadline. Duquette considered firing pitching coach Roger McDowell after last season in the wake of the poor performance of Baltimore’s arms, though it isn’t known whether moves like coaching changes are still under consideration, or if Buck Showalter could step in to prevent firing members of his coaching staff. Whatever changes are made, fans aren’t buying into the current (lack of) direction, as attendance is way down at Camden Yards.
- Braves pitching prospect Mike Soroka’s second career MLB start wasn’t nearly as impressive as his first, as Soroka allowed four earned runs over four innings today against the Giants. Manager Brian Snitker told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter link) and other media that Soroka is scheduled to make his next start, with an implication being that Atlanta isn’t planning to demote the 20-year-old anytime soon. Anibal Sanchez is still sidelined with a hamstring injury, and will likely be moved to relief pitching when he returns so the Braves can give Soroka a fuller look in his first taste of the majors.
- Phillies hitting coach John Mallee “was totally surprised” at being replaced as the Cubs’ hitting coach after last season, he tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Though manager Joe Maddon praised Mallee’s work, the Cubs’ decision to part ways with Mallee and hire Chili Davis seemed due (as Maddon and Theo Epstein explain) to an organizational preference for more of a well-rounded hitting attack, as opposed to Mallee’s more launch angle-based philosophy. It seems like there could be a bit of a learning curve to the new approach for Cubs hitters, as the team’s offensive numbers are down over the first six weeks of the season.