Here are a few interesting recent notes from the American League …
- While the era of value-conscious roster building hasn’t yet resulted in the desired number of World Championships, the Yankees have had plenty of success. And whatever one may say about the overall strategy, it’s hard to argue with most of the trades engineered by GM Brian Cashman, Ken Dadvidoff of the New York Post argues. Even if the players acquired by the Yanks haven’t always panned out as hoped, the club has not had much cause for regretting the young talent it parted with. It’s worth noting that there is one other deal that may have cost the Yanks dearly: the November 2017 trade of Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper to the Marlins, which was seen at the time as little more than a roster clean-out. The player the Yankees added in that deal, young pitcher Mike King, emerged after the swap. But he has been slowed by elbow issues, while Smith and Cooper have emerged as quality MLB performers this year.*
- We’ve known for a while that Jesus Luzardo would be on the move back toward the majors for the Athletics, but it remained to be seen how he’d look after a lengthy absence for shoulder problems. The youngster has only increased the excitement with his performance. He ran up nine strikeouts in four innings in his latest High-A appearance and earned a bump back up to Triple-A, as Martin Gallegos of MLB.com tweets. It’s still possible the 21-year-old could be held down for a while after he’s deemed at full health, but the A’s are surely also anxious to get him onto the MLB roster. There’s no word yet whether fellow rehabbing southpaw pitching prospect A.J. Puk will also move up to the highest level of the minors.
- Veteran K.C. Star scribe Sam Mellinger delivered a realistic assessment of the Royals’ immediate outlook. The club signaled in mid-May that it believed it might be competitive for a Wild Card. GM Dayton Moore says he legitimately “expected more wins.” But as Mellinger explains, there’s an undeniable disconnect between expectations — particularly, those projected publicly — and the results on the field. There have been some notable successes, but the Royals have in the aggregate been nearly as bad as an unabashedly rebuilding Orioles club. Mellinger is careful to note that Moore and his top lieutenants aren’t at immediate risk of being replaced, particularly given their incredible achievements in recent years. It’s an interesting look at the state of a uniquely situated organization. Mellinger also notes that righties Jakob Junis and Scott Barlow have drawn some trade inquiries, though neither has been consistently effective this year and both have plenty of cheap control remaining.
*The initial version of this post mistakenly stated that King had undergone Tommy John surgery. We regret the error.