Oliver Drake earned an unusual spot in the record books upon making his Twins debut on Saturday, as the right-hander became the first player in history to pitch for five different MLB teams in a single season. After three waiver claims and a trade, the well-traveled Drake has now taken the hill for the Twins, Blue Jays, Angels, Indians, and Brewers since the start of the 2018 campaign. “It’s definitely been a long year,” Drake told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger and other reporters. “It’s always a good thing to be wanted in this game. My wife definitely would appreciate being a little more settled. She’s been moving around a lot with me, and it’s kind of chaos. But it’s all part of it, it’s the lifestyle we live, and we’re just making the best of it.” Drake had already taken a long journey of a different sense just to reach the Show, as he was a 43rd-round pick for the Orioles in the 2008 draft and didn’t crack the big leagues until 2015. Ironically, Drake had a pretty stable run for much of his pro career, as he was a member of Baltimore’s organization until he was dealt to Milwaukee in April 2017.
Here’s more from around the AL Central…
- Also from Bollinger’s piece, Michael Pineda will officially begin his rehab assignment with the Twins’ Gulf Coast League affiliate today. This will mark the right-hander’s first action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2017. Minnesota signed Pineda to a two-year, $10MM contract last winter, with $8MM of that deal owed in 2019 as the team sees him as a potential rotation contributor when healthy. If all goes well in his rehab, Pineda is slated to get some Major League innings under his belt when rosters expand in September.
- Indians GM Mike Chernoff talks to The Athletic’s Zack Meisel (subscription required) about how a front office prepares for the trade deadline, as well as managing the hectic, last-minute flurry of calls and messages from other teams on deadline day itself. Cleveland had already acquired Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to reinforce the bullpen earlier in July, leaving the team with one less positional target to worry about as July 31 approached. “There have been times at the deadline where we’ve had multiple needs and you’re juggling a lot of different things at the same time….Because we addressed the bullpen much earlier in the process, we could really shift our focus to, ’How do we help the outfield?’ “, Chernoff said. The piece is well worth a full read for an insight into the many factors that every team must juggle as it looks to make any trade, let alone multiple deals at the busiest time of the year for transactions.
- Rosell Herrera’s rookie season has seen him go from the Reds to the Royals on a waiver claim, though now the 25-year-old looks to be shaping into a useful asset for his new club, the Kansas City Star’s Maria Torres writes. Herrera hasn’t shown much at the plate (.257/.291/.358 over 159 PA with Cincinnati and Kansas City), though he has displayed some versatility, lining up at second base, third base, and all three outfield spots this season. Torres details how Herrera, once a top-100 ranked prospect coming up in the Rockies’ system, first started playing the outfield since Colorado already had Nolan Arenado and Troy Tulowitzki on the left side of the diamond, and how wrist problems slowed his ascent through the farm system.
- The trade that sent J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks in July 2017 was the first of six major deals made by the Tigers as they began their rebuilding process, and MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery looks back on the prospect haul that Detroit has collected in those swaps. While it will obviously be several years before the impact of these deals can be fully assessed, the trade that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs at the 2017 deadline is already “a big win for the Tigers” since Jeimer Candelario has become a lineup regular.