Orioles manager Brandon Hyde says that the club is hoping right-hander Félix Bautista can make his spring debut on Thursday. “He feels great, he feels totally healthy,” Hyde said, per Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.
Bautista, 28 in June, has been slowed in camp so far by knee and shoulder issues but seems to be on track now. If he makes his debut on Thursday as planned, he will have two weeks to get into game shape prior to Opening Day.
That’s good news for the O’s, as Bautista had an excellent debut last year. He made 65 appearances with a 2.19 ERA, 34.8% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate and 42.9% ground ball rate. He worked his way up the Baltimore bullpen chart and eventually took over the closer’s role, earning 15 saves on the year.
Some other tidbits from around the majors…
- Pirates right-hander Robert Stephenson has been held back by some right arm discomfort and still hasn’t thrown to hitters, per Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. At this point, it seems like the best-case scenario is Stephenson getting into some game action at the end of Spring Training. That suggests that anything other than the best-case scenario would lead to Stephenson starting the season on the injured list. The 30-year-old has been inconsistent in recent years, posting a 3.76 ERA in 2019 followed by a ghastly 9.90 figure in 2020. He got that down to 3.13 in 2021 before wavering again last year. He had a 6.04 ERA with the Rockies in August when they put him on waivers. The Pirates claimed him and saw the righty get back in a good groove to finish the year, with a 3.38 ERA over 13 appearances, striking out 36% of batters faced against a 2% walk rate. That was impressive enough for the Bucs to hang on to Stephenson and tender him a contract, eventually agreeing to a $1.75MM salary for his final arbitration season. If the Pirates are out of contention this summer, Stephenson would likely be available at the deadline if he’s healthy and performing well since he’s an impending free agent.
- The Diamondbacks and Corbin Carroll came to an agreement yesterday on an eight-year, nine-figure extension. Chris Cotillo of MassLive reports that the Red Sox are interested in exploring similar deals with their own young players but that nothing is imminent with Triston Casas. Carroll and Casas are in similar positions, as they were each highly touted prospects that debuted late last year. The Sox showed faith in Casas by releasing Eric Hosmer, effectively clearing the first base job for him after his 27-game debut. His batting average was just .197 in that time but he walked in 20% of his trips to the plate and his five home runs. A couple of months ago, he expressed his openness to extension talks but also said that none had taken place yet. If those discussions have begun in the interim, it doesn’t seem like much progress has been made. There’s not much urgency at the moment, as Casas is still under club control for six more years and won’t even qualify for arbitration until after the 2025 season.
This one belongs to the Reds
Stephenson always has arm issues.
Motor City Beach Bum
I soooo thought he was going to be a superstar when he came up as a starter…same when he shifted to the pen. I was hoping the Tigers would grab him before the Pirates got him. It never happened. Like you say injuries. Reminds me of Fulmer without the really big rookie year.
IMHO, much much more risk for a sizable extension for Casas than Carroll. Extensions that early for a power-hitting 1B with some contact issues does not look kind – though he’s working through those issues well fwiw in ST so far.
Fever Pitch Guy
DMC – You are 100% correct, this is a regurgitated article about Casas getting an extension when nobody on the planet believes it would be wise to do so this offseason.
Wait a year or two, reduce the risk, and pay a few bucks more if they perform well.
Unless his agent throws out a Jon Singleton-like ask (5/9.5M + inflation from 2014)…then Triston would be looking for a new agent.
That’s the whole thing. An extension is neither a good thing nor a bad thing until we see the terms. A good Casas might be worth $28-30M for 6 control years. If wants that money guaranteed, and wants to give us 2 $12M options, I’d be okay with that. Almost all of this runs on how good a deal it is.
“Some contact issues”? Really?
I figured this coming offseason would be the time that extension talks with Casas would take place in earnest. Same with Bello depending on the types of years the two have.
There is zero reason to extend either at this point without either one having a full MLB season under their belt.
Id say, good extention for DBacks, not for Red Sox. A team like Arizona has a smaller payroll than Boston, therefore locking up a young player for 8 years works. Red Sox dont have to take as big of a risk with young players, therefore shouldnt.
I think a Casas or Bello extension is unlikely before opening day. An extension would take the Red Sox to the luxury tax line, unless the extension started next year, at which point Casas and Bello would rather wait until next winter.
In the olde days, I think you had to wait to opening day to announce it, and it wouldn’t count towards that year’s payroll. That was a Theo specialty.
I saw Stephenson and thought it was the good one who plays for the Reds. You know the C, That they don’t want to have C because it might ruin his trade value. At least he plays for the Reds until July.
BTW- Good job D-Backs. Good move.