Marco Estrada threw a gem for the Blue Jays on Saturday, allowing one earned run and just one hit while walking two and striking out four over seven innings against the Mariners. As Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi notes, “the outing is sure to renew [trade] interest in” Estrada’s services, as the right-hander spent most of July on the disabled list recovering from a glute strain and a minor blister issue. It has been an inconsistent 2018 season for Estrada, though he was turning things around to the tune of a 2.35 ERA over five June starts before his injury problems cropped up. Had Estrada stayed healthy, he almost surely would’ve joined J.A. Happ, Seunghwan Oh, and other veterans moved by the Jays as the team looks to rebuild for 2019 and beyond. Toronto will continue to be a team to watch in the August trade market, given the presence of Estrada, Josh Donaldson, and others that could be enticing trade candidates if they can be worked through the waiver process.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- Yankees slugger Aaron Judge gave reporters (including ESPN.com’s Coley Harvey) an update on his recovery from a chip fracture in his wrist, saying that he is still feeling some pain, though “some of the range of motion is coming back,” and he has been able to make short-range throws of up to five feet. Judge was originally estimated to miss roughly three weeks, and while that timeline hasn’t officially changed yet, he has yet to begin taking dry swings. On the plus side, Judge is participating in conditioning and running drills so he’ll theoretically be able to make a quick return once his wrist is ready.
- The Rays were one of baseball’s busiest teams during trade deadline season, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times provides a recap on all of the club’s dealings. With salaries always a concern in Tampa, the Rays now have only a bit over $8MM committed to their 2019 payroll, all owed to Kevin Kiermaier via the outfielder’s multi-year contract. Topkin calculates that between the minimum salary players, Kiermaier, and arbitration-eligibles Tommy Pham and Matt Duffy (but not C.J. Cron), the Rays may have approximately $25MM in payroll for 2019. Even if the Rays won’t approach even their modest $70MM payroll from the start of this season, they’ll still have some room to spend on upgrades this winter. In regards to Cron, Topkin thinks his home run total could push his arbitration number beyond the Rays’ comfort zone, so the first baseman could potentially be a trade candidate or maybe even a non-tender candidate despite his solid season.
- Also from Topkin’s piece, the player to be named later acquired by the Rays from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade still isn’t known, and the mystery prospect may not change organizations until the minor league season ends. Indeed, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said today during his radio show (hat tip to MLB.com’s Adam Berry) that “nothing’s imminent” about the players to be named later involved in the Archer trade and also in the trade with the Rangers for Keone Kela.