The Indians announced today that recently acquired center fielder Leonys Martin is headed to the 10-day DL owing to a stomach ailment. It’s unclear at this point how long he’ll be sidelined, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian adds on Twitter. The club will surely hope the issue resolves itself in short order, as Martin is expected to play a significant role in the team’s outfield rotation down the stretch and into the postseason. The 30-year-old had been off to a productive start in his first six games in Cleveland.
Here’s more from the central divisions …
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today took an interesting angle on the Pirates’ deadline moves recently, discussing them with former star Andrew McCutchen. The veteran outfielder, who was dealt to the Giants in the winter, said he was surprised that the Pittsburgh organization decided that this was the summer to push hard for improvements. It’s an interesting story, particularly for fans of these two clubs, in no small part because McCutchen discusses the feeling within the clubhouse of going through the trade deadline. Referring to his past experiences with the Bucs, he explained: “We felt we had a good team to compete, but then you see other teams making those moves, getting the key pieces to their team to make them stronger, and you feel like, “Dang, we’ve got to do something, too.'”
- In a recent post with notes on several ballclubs, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic presents one potential explanation for the timing of the Pirates’ moves. (Subscription link.) He writes that an executive with another team posits that the acquisitions of Chris Archer and Keone Kela were driven in some part by the team’s slumping attendance. That’s not the case, per president Frank Coonelly, who says instead the swaps were made out of a “desire to improve the club for this 2018 stretch run and for the next several years.” Coonelly also cited prospect depth as a factor that enabled the maneuvers. That certainly seems to be a fair explanation, but there’s also little doubt that the team has an eye on the bottom line as well. As Rosenthal writes, perhaps there’s some evidence here of “the power of a disgruntled fan base to effect change.”
- As Rosenthal further reports in that post, the Reds’ decisionmaking on center fielder Billy Hamilton continues to be influenced by the views of owner Bob Castellini, who has gone on record as a proponent of the exceedingly speedy but light-hitting player. Hamilton didn’t feature as a particularly likely August trade candidate regardless, though perhaps there’s some hypothetical plausibility to such a scenario. But the report suggests the organization may still be rather reluctant to part with the 27-year-old, who is set to enter his final season of arbitration eligibility after earning $4.6MM this year. Perhaps there’s still a way the front office can make this all work in a sensible manner. Hamilton, after all, is a useful MLB player — he’s a great defender and baserunner, and has at least been somewhat better historically against right-handed pitching — who is simply miscast in an everyday role. He could still make sense on what’s hoped to be a competitive 2019 roster, at least if the organization makes a supplemental addition in center and commits to leaning less heavily on Hamilton.
- It seems like it was just yesterday we were preaching patience in response to chat questions from irate Cardinals fans about Matt Carpenter’s struggles. But a turnaround of this magnitude remains a surprise. As things stand, he’s among the most productive hitters in baseball — even including his meager opening performance — with a .281/.393/.598 slash and 31 home runs through 476 plate appearances. It’s a fascinating situation for a variety of reasons, to be sure. Carpenter himself evidently feels that way, too, as MLB.com’s Joe Trezza tweets. “It’s just not who I am,” says the 32-year-old Carpenter of his exploits. “It’s not who I was. It’s not the hitter I’ve ever been. I’m developing into somebody I’ve never dreamt of or tried to be like. I don’t have an explanation for it.”