Injured Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson will be eligible to go on August trade waivers if he embarks on a rehab assignment, but “it appears unlikely” that’s going to happen, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tweets. Donaldson has been out since the end of May with a calf strain, which has stopped the out-of-contention Blue Jays from dealing him as he closes in on free agency. If Toronto’s unable to trade Donaldson this month, it’ll have to keep him through season’s end and then decide before the market opens whether to issue the soon-to-be 33-year-old a qualifying offer (worth $17.4MM last winter). Donaldson was among the majors’ best players as recently as last year, which suggests the Blue Jays will tender him a QO, though multiple DL stints this season have limited him to 36 games and an unspectacular .234/.333/.423 line in 159 plate appearances.
More from around the game…
- First baseman/outfielder Matt Holliday went without a contract until July 28, when the Rockies signed him to a minor league pact, but he did garner offers before then. It seems the 38-year-old held off on signing because he wanted to join a team with which he had a “personal connection,” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. With that in mind, Holliday said Friday he’d have been open to offers from the Rockies, Cardinals, and perhaps the Yankees – all teams he has played for – as well as certain other unnamed clubs. After a brief and highly successful run at the Triple-A level with the Rockies, Holliday’s back in Colorado, which selected his contract Thursday. On Saturday, in his fifth at-bat of the year, Holliday victimized the Cardinals with a pinch-hit, 448-foot blast to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead. The Rox ended up rolling to a 9-1 win to climb within a half-game of the Cards for the NL’s top wild-card spot.
- Texas will have to decide after the season whether to exercise left-hander Martin Perez’s $7.5MM option for 2019 or buy him out for $750K. Even though $7.5MM isn’t a bank-breaking number and the Rangers are hard up for pitching, Perez is not making a strong case to stick with the club, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram observes. Perez gave up four earned runs in five innings during a loss to the Giants on Saturday, raising his ERA to 6.95 over 68 2/3 frames this year. Because of Perez’s struggles, it’s possible the Rangers will take a page from the Rays’ book and use an “opener” in front of him in his next scheduled outing, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. In doing so, they’d hope to mitigate Perez’s issues against the top of teams’ lineups, as Grant explains in his piece.
- Conversely, Cubs lefty Cole Hamels – one of Perez’s former teammates – is making a real argument for his employer to pick up his option after the season, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times points out. At $20MM, Hamels’ price tag is far higher than Perez’s, but the former has pitched like someone worthy of an exorbitant salary since the Cubs acquired him from Texas last month. The Cubs have won all five of Hamels’ starts, during which he has totaled 34 innings of .79 ERA ball and posted 30 strikeouts against eight walks. With the NL Central-leading Cubs primed to play into October, Hamels will have time to keep stating his case to remain in Chicago, and he seems hopeful the union will continue. “That’s obviously something that I know [team president] Theo [Epstein] and the ownership and I think [manager Joe] Maddon will have to think about,” Hamels told Wittenmyer in regards to his option. “My job is to obviously make them think a little bit harder.” In the event the Cubs decline Hamels’ option, they’ll walk away scot-free from his $6MM buyout – which Texas will have to pay.