Garrett Whitlock threw 79 pitches in a Triple-A rehab start today, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey) that Whitlock will be activated from the 15-day IL in time to start Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Whitlock’s return won’t push anyone out of the rotation for now, as Cora said that Boston will use six starters over their six games this week, sandwiched around Thursday’s off-day. The team will re-assess the pitching situation after this full turn through a six-man rotation, Cora said, taking advantage of another off-day on May 29 to reset the staff as necessary.
Between injuries and inconsistency, Boston has had one of the weaker rotations in baseball, though Chris Sale, James Paxton, and Brayan Bello have all been sharp lately. Cora has said in the past that the Sox plan to keep Whitlock as a starter, leaving Tanner Houck and Corey Kluber as the potential odd men out if the club does adopt a traditional five-man pitching staff. Houck’s secondary numbers are at least better than his 5.48 ERA would indicate, but it has been a rough season all-around for Kluber, whose ERA has ballooned to 6.26 over 41 2/3 innings after he was hit hard in tonight’s start against the Padres. Kluber signed a one-year (plus a 2024 club option) contract worth a guaranteed $10MM in the offseason, but that deal is already looking like a misfire given the veteran’s struggles.
More from the American League…
- The Astros believe Lance McCullers Jr. can return “probably somewhere closer to the All-Star break, or after,” GM Dana Brown said in a radio interview on SportsTalk 790 AM (hat tip to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart). There’s still some fluidity “depending on whether we can get him built up to start,” Brown noted. While not the clearest of timelines, it does represent some kind of target for McCullers, who hasn’t pitched this season after suffering a forearm strain early in Spring Training. Jose Urquidy is also tentatively expected to return from the injured list around the All-Star break, which could give the Astros a badly needed one-two boost to their depleted rotation.
- The Guardians called up Bo Naylor as the 27th man for their double-header with the Mets today, with Naylor going hitless in two plate appearances in the first game. This was Naylor’s first call-up of the 2023 season, after the catching prospect made his MLB debut with five games in 2022. Despite some mediocre numbers at throwing out baserunners at Triple-A this season, Naylor told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and other reporters that “I feel I’m progressing well. I had a lot of work at [Triple-A] Columbus on some transfer stuff. It continues to progress every day. As of late it’s shown pretty well.” It remains to be seen when Naylor might get a longer look at the big league level, yet given how badly Cleveland’s offense has struggled, an argument can definitely be made that Naylor is already the best catching option in the organization. Naylor is hitting .257/.391/.507 over 184 PA at Triple-A, while the Guards’ catching quartet of Mike Zunino, Cam Gallagher, Meibrys Viloria, and David Fry are all badly struggling at the plate.
- Now that the Yankees have designated Aaron Hicks for assignment, speculation has begun that Josh Donaldson could potentially join Hicks on the waiver wire when Donaldson is activated from the 10-day IL. The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner looks at some of the reasons why it may be time for the Yankees to part ways with the former AL MVP, most simply the fact that DJ LeMahieu looks like a more productive third base option than Donaldson right now, and LeMahieu won’t have a regular place to play once Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton are healthy. Even though the Yankees would have to eat the roughly $23.16MM in remaining salary owed to Donaldson, Kirschner writes that “for a team that makes as much money as the Yankees, it’s a rather minuscule amount that will make the roster fit more seamlessly if they decide it’s time to cut him loose.”
I think the good GM’s take their licks and cut bait with guys that don’t pan out. Boston needs to part ways with Kluber and the Yankees need to do the same with Donaldson. Both clubs are obviously better without either player being on their clubs. It takes Championship players to win Championships. These two guys are no longer championship caliber players.
That’s often not the GM’s decision to make.
Blue Baron – So in your mind who makes personnel decisions and is ultimately responsible for the roster if not the GM?
I heard the owner’s current “chick on the side” sometimes makes that call.
Decisions about eating large contracts are usually made by ownership.
What part of my previous comment do you not understand?
Let’s say a team cuts a player like Donaldson & he then latches onto another team in the American League for League minimum & starts to hit better?
Nothing you can do about that. Same with Gallo. If he’s not working for you, and you put in time and effort to make it work, just move on.
So, you’re both right…..the GM’s job is to evaluate performance on the field putting the best performing roster out there game after game, and makes recommendations regarding the formation of that roster…..ownership accepts those recommndations and makes the financial decisions such as cutting players loose while eating contract dollars.
Regardless, solid comment regarding Kluber and Donaldson……both the Sox and the Yankees are better off without them on their rosters.
flaky – sure there’s always the concern about giving up on a player too soon and another team benefitting from then finding it on your dime. But there’s also the flip side concern in the Sox case of continuing to trot Kluber out there for starts and him continuing to cost them chances to win, and getting to the end of the season and missing the playoffs by 1 or 2 games. Given the competitiveness of the AL East I would think the second scenario is much more of a concern than the first.
Most educated baseball fans will see he was given a very long leash before he was cut loose. How long do you suggest they give him?
Gallo is the type of guy who makes people say RBI are a meaningless statistic.
Gallo has never driven in 100 runs. Roger Maris, who whiffed only 67 times in 1961, drove in 142 runs that year, and 100 RBI three times in a row. Because Roger made contact. Gallo, and guys of his ilk, do not.
Fever Pitch Guy
again – GM’s are nothing but figureheads for about half the teams, they have very little say in these types of decisions.
You think Brian O’Halloran would make the call on Kluber? Not a chance.
Well anyone who thinks one guy makes the call doesn’t know too much about modern baseball operations departments. BOH would have input along with a lot of others in the department, and a consensus decision would be made. We’re long past the days when player decisions came down to the whim of one person.
King – That’s very naive thinking. Each organization is different so a gross generalization like yours doesn’t apply across the board. I bet the final say varies greatly across all teams but in the end who is ultimately responsible for any decision? Not the underlings who advise the decision maker!!! It’s always the decision maker whether it’s the owner, GM, HOBO or a guy working for the GM. Somebody’s head is on the block for EVERY decision.
Fever Pitch Guy
KD – Right you are! Underlings present data and submit a recommendation, but head of operations and sometimes ownership ultimately make the decisions.
No. We’re not.
I’m actually with Boone and Cashman on this one. Think JD has got enough left in the tank to hit .250 and play top drawer 3B. Plus he brings a certain joie de vive that the Yanks have sometimes lacked.
JD still has an excellent glove WHEN he plays so there’s value in that. I’m also a bit weary of handing DJL the everyday 3B job at his advanced age. They should ride it out with JD bc there simply isn’t payroll space for an offensive upgrade without crossing over the next tax threshold.
Understand your point, but remember the Yankees have Oswald Peraza sitting at Scranton. Last time I checked he was doing well there.
Is the joie de vive…racism?
It’s more like “chip on the shoulder weird energy vibe” or “I need my Adderall refilled STAT” sorta vibe.
JD isn’t a racist, wokey.
@milt funny, he was suspended for making a racist remark….
“Wokey” – things bigots and ignoramuses say. JD is absolutely a racist.
Likely not “racist” but he’s tone deaf and leads the league in bat flip routine fly balls. Nothing positive in his energy.
I agree. He isn’t a racist.
He’s a self-absorbed tool.
As is little Timmy.
Let JD’s performance for a two/three week stretch make the decision for you. LeMahieu is very injury prone. No need to rush.
Boston needs to release Kluber, it’s far easier to watch a struggling young pitcher learning his limitations than watching a struggling old pitcher refusing to admit it’s time to retire.
As long as people are offering you 10 Million dollars to play a kid’s game once a week, its never time to ‘retire’.
They seem intent on giving him one more start, which is probably the smart thing to do. There is always a non-zero chance Kluber re-discovers what made him decent last year, and there is always a chance that either Whitlock or Houck falters.
Too many folks think Whitlock and/or Houck are locks for the rotation. I have no problem giving them a legitimate shot, but both have been pretty awful. If all three continue to struggle, I can easily make an argument on behalf of moving Whitlock and/or Houck to the BP.
Logically, if all three struggle, I think you get more of a return moving one of the two young guys back to the BP. I see very little chance of chance of Kluber adding value in relief.
I think if Houck will continue to play as in a game against Angels, Sale with Paxton will remain healthy and productive, Bello also that will make progress at Red Sox a very good starting rotation turns out :
If Whitlock won’t be able to remain in a starting rotation at any moment it is possible to return Pivetta or try Crawford under a number 5.
An experiment didn’t turn out with Kluber, I saw that the last chance is given him but, I disbelieve in him.
If 1-4 work out, we could easily trade for a reliable #5, and that assumes that both Whitlock & Crawford can’t handle the #5 slot. I think the rotation is in decent shape.
Corey Kluber can be used in double headers, day games after night games and spot starts. I don’t think the BoSox should DFA him. They need to keep their other crystal glass pitchers off the shelf.
Agree with Garry, 6-man rotation protects Sale, Paxton, Whitlock, etc from reoccurring injuries.
On this stage wherever you used Kluber he doesn’t bring a benefit to the command.
Yankees proudly proclaim MAY 2023:
DFA FORMER MINNESOTA TWINS MONTH !!
Dumpster Divin Theo
Cc Sabathia is a-chuckling
It’s payback for the Phil Hughes extension!
Hicks has spent more time in a Yankees uniform and even got an extension from them. As much as that might be undesirable, it seems misguided to describe him as a former twins player as opposed to being a current Yankees player. Not sure why you don’t like Rortvedt. He’s been superb during his whole 4 AB’s and Falefa is from Texas.
salarycap: Its 100% accurate, and it was a joke. I dont get a full paragraph of upset.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Guess the WAMT have WAMTF – Weird Ass Minnesota Twins Fans.
Katie writes entire term papers!
Dumpster Divin Theo
Katie’s mom has got it going on
All four were once members of the Minnesota Twins. That’s it.
So Cora is thinking again and we all know what that means….. he’ll hurt the team!!!
So the rotation according to Cora is now going to be as follows (NOTE: A normal rotation has each pitcher pitching on the 5th day so there are four days of rest with all bullpens and other between starts activities scheduled around the five day turn around).
Houck pitches Monday on 6 days rest rather than 4
Bello pitches Tuesday in Pivetta’s spot with 5 days rest rather than 4
Paxton pitches Wednesday with 4 days rest (NORMAL)
Sale pitches Friday with with 5 days rest rather than 4 days
Whitlock pitches on Saturday coming off the IL
SO THE QUESTION BECOMES – WHO PITCHES SUNDAY?
Does Houck stay in the rotation and pitch with 5 days rest OR
Does Sale move up in the rotation and pitch with 4 days rest (NORMAL)?
So what’s wrong with this picture? SO MUCH!!!
1 – Whitlock should be put in the stress inning role to stop rallies when SPs get in trouble
2 – IF Whitlock is a starter yet another SP must come out of the rotation. EVERYONE wants that to be Kluber BUT Cora isn’t bright enough to figure that out so it will be Houck.
3 – Pitchers are creatures of habit and like to plan their days between starts so they like the time between starts to be as consistent as possible. Cora is varying everything for nearly everyone in the rotation. That usually leads to bad things happening.
Fire Cora. Fire Bloom. Get a real GM and have him bring in a real Manager who knows both pitching and hitting so the five best SPs are used, the stress guy is Whitlock and the back-end of the bullpen is consistently deployed with Jansen last, Martin before him and Schreiber before him. These are simple concepts that Cora can’t figure out so lets get someone who can.
A better question is does anybody actually care?
Blue Baron – Based on your two comments so far. It appears you are confused about the game of baseball. Can I assume you are a Yankee fan!!! hahaha
Not confused at all. Certainly not as warped as someone who drones on and on ad nauseam about Cora, the Red Sox et al. And definitely not a Yankees fan.
Blue Barron likes to pick fights for no reason what so ever. Even when he does make a valid point he has to follow it up with some type of insult.
that’s basically KD 17 in a nutshell too.
I picture Blue Baron and KD17 together and I immediately think of the Curmudgeons up in the balcony on The Muppets Show.
Im on Blue Baron’s side in this instance. Go Blue!
KD will sign on to any thread, about any player, to say something negative about the RS.
Joe I agree. What you left out is that KD uses every chance to troll Cora/Bloom.
That’s what makes KD worthy of being ignored.
Again don’t ignore him. He’ll just become more obnoxious. Keep calling him out so that the mods will have to do something about it
If the only reply KD received was: “Ignore the TROLL” and that comment got many thumbs up he would disappear. It worked a couple of yrs ago.
Blue Baron – You aren’t confused yet you ask the question does anyone really care? The answer is obvious and it’s yes so to me that’s an indication of confusion on your part or lack of understanding of the game. Thus my comment.
You also claim it’s WARPED to drone on and on about Cora. You do realize the same people don’t read this website everyday. There is turnover which creates new readers who may not have sen a point made less than a week ago. So my suggestion to you is don’t read my comments if they are repetitive to you because there are lots of people reading them for the first time!! Please mute me to make your life better and mine too!! I prefer to talk baseball with real baseball fans not guys that take cheap shots.
Dcartrow – Glad to hear you’ve graduated to the Muppets!!!!
No. He’s not confused.
He doesn’t abide long-winded gasbags.
Nor do I.
Long winded gasbag…
He just changed his screen name and came back anyway. Ignoring him doesn’t work because he’ll just keep picking fights with people. He’ll eventually go too far and the mods will do something about it.
KD17: your page long rants, hypocrisy, and inability to have discussions with anyone who disagrees with you is certainly doing it’s part to drive readers away.
I don’t understand why the people who don’t care for KD’s posts don’t just mute him. You guys must be masochists. MLBTR is not going to ban him; he has a viewpoint, and he backs it up. He’s not just here to insult people. So I don’t really understand the vitriol for the guy.
I flag guys and move on.
Hey, it works in football!
I don’t mute people because I find it cowardly. That said he backs up none of what he says with actual facts/stats and he spends an inordinate amount of time insulting people for the sin of disagreeing with him and proving him wrong so I don’t know where you’re getting that from.
Maybe you enjoy what he has to say because you agree with him but he’s a broken record who does not operate in any reality other than that of his own making .
Ignorant: MLBTR mute sux. He talks on EVERY Red Sox thread, 10 or 20 times. You start/join a thread without KD17 and then he jumps in. Everything downstread, not just his comments are muted. It ruins many good discussions.
Muting infrequent posters works fine, muting obnoxious spam posters ruins almost all meaningful discussions.
You must be Katie’s special friend.
Dude: Term papers are for college or for your kids
dave frost nhlpa
I think Donaldson gets three weeks. It’s time to hit.
I don’t know that JD has showed he’s completely useless yet.
Seems too soon to make that cut given what they’re currently deploying on their bench. Cut JD now and you might be watching him be a useful piece for a contender in October.
Yankees still have a giant hole in left field and DJ is athletic enough to give it a shot out there if Donaldson is healthy. Either guy in left is an offensive upgrade vs. IKF or Oswaldo Cabrera. They may as well try that for a few weeks before eating $25 million
Donaldson should be given a short leash of a few weeks to see if he can still perform. Team seems to be stabilizing without him.
A four-game sweep of the Reds is great but this upcoming week’s game against the O’s and Pads should be more revealing of the team’s true capabilities.
A’s aren’t going anywhere. They should sign him for the league minimum. I hope the Yankees are starting to get the hint that you can’t just buy everybody. Believe me my Phillies need to learn this too. *Stares at Schwarber*
Mike Zunino is only throwing out 15% of attempted base stealers and (statistically) has one of the weaker arms behind the plate in the league, so I would hope that the Guardians aren’t pretending that Naylor’s trouble throwing guys out this year it’s what’s going to sink them.
From what Francona said the other day, he doesn’t seem concerned about it and blamed it on the fact that the pitchers he’s working with in Columbus are mainly working on specific pitchers and not holding runners on. (Not sure if that’s true but it’s worth nothing.) He’s more athletic than he gets credit for and he’s worked with most of their young pitchers already, so I think he can stick as a catcher.
But even if every runner who got on base against Naylor immediately stole second, he’d still be the best catching option they have right now.
Like a few others have said, it is too early to make the decision on Donaldson. He still had a 2.3 bWAR last year.
There lies the problem the thinking that WAR is the measurement of a player is what has practically ruined the game of baseball. This is why Brian Cashman as well is so hellbent on never releasing guys due to his analytical dept & WAR ruining his thoughts. Case in point why he stuck for so long with Sanchez, Gallo, Hicks & now Donaldson. Those want to pinpoint that Donaldson still has value due to his GG which that itself is misleading stat as Rizzon easily saved Donaldson from about 10-12 errant throws with his great glove at 1B. Donaldson also does not cover much ground anymore and his bat does not warrant being an everyday player as well. Cashman always trades or signs a player past their prime and the question you have to ask yourself is the following:
Is Donaldson with a declining bat & not elite defense worth $21 million where they simply had a younger and better 3rd baseman in Gio.
Next is he a fit with the Yankees now? Answer is no the Yankees can play DJ & Peraza and rid of Donaldson’s aging bat along with let’s remember that Judge did not actually vouch for him when he made the “Jackie” comments.
Finally, this team is jellying currently and I won’t be surprised as soon as Donaldson comes back the team will slide back.
The only thing is that Cashman is bullheaded and to admit to another huge mistake with HIcks & Donaldson to DFA both his ego won’t allow him too.
No reason to add the insult of bad performance to the injury of Cashmans 50 million dollar gift to the Twins.
Over the last 12 years Cashman has spent three BILLION $$$ to win zero WS titles. So 50 million is just a drop in the bucket.
Zero pennants too.
Cashman blew this ordeal w Hicks and Donaldson since late last year. He didn’t package them out for at least 1 good pitching prospect in minors! Now just let them loose for NADA and pay them out?!
Cashman gotta go or #28 won’t come anytime soon!
For my special friend Bruin1012 – I guess Houck figured out how to put bite in his fastball tonight!!! hahaha
It took less than a week to prove you wrong!!!! hahaha
I’m glad he got through the lineup 3 times but everyone talked about it he has had major trouble getting through the lineup 2 or 3 times he was really good start to finish tonight still doesn’t change the fact that he has been been Cy young 1st time through the order and Cy young the 2nd and third time. Enjoy your victory tonight I really hope he figures it out I would love for that to happen doesn’t change the fact that as I stated it’s been a huge problem.
it’s literally one start. He need to consistently get through the lineup multiple times. One start doesn’t prove anything.
FPG – Remember we were talking about Devers as the three hitter? Tonight is a perfect example of why I say move him forward one spot to the three hole. It’s the top of the 9th the team is down by 1 run and if someone doesn’t get on he’s in the on deck circle when the game ends. Put JT fourth and Devers third and he’s assured of one more at bat and a chance to tie or win the game rather than JT..
You would be surprised how often this happens during the season.
FPG – Sure enough – It ended with Devers in the on-deck circle.
I’ll take Devers late in the 3 hole anytime over Devers in the 4 hole so he doesn’t hit a first inning solo home run. The number of times he gets to be clutch is worth so much more than the occasional first inning home run with nobody on.
Where is the moderator on here? These fools accusing Josh Donaldson of being a racist. Racism…the last refuge of a scoundrel. JD made a comment to that red-assed Tim Anderson. He didn’t like it. Tough. Deal with it. JD may run his mouth but to accuse him of racism is absurd.
cut DONALDSON. …please
IF the Yankees sweep the orioles……. they can be tied for 2ND PLACE..
then on to take 1ST PLACE from the RAYS
Maybe I am in the minority here, but I think a 6 man rotation may not be a bad idea. The rotation is injury prone, so saving the number of pitches on their arms is probably a smart move.
DBH – As an ex-pitcher I really liked defining a routine between starts. Which day is the bullpen(s), running, weights etc. A five man rotation gives you four days off between starts which is plenty of time considering it’s been done for 140 years in that time frame or shorter.
So lets put things in perspective. 14 year old pitchers in the 1970s and the early 2000s threw 100 pitches to 120 pitches and pitched again on four days rest (5 man rotation). Pitchers older than 14 did as well but my point was to show how people don’t really comprehend what the NORMAL pitcher can do without risk of injury.
Sale for example doesn’t need to be part of a 6 man rotation because he doesn’t need his innings reduced. He had TJ surgery from Cora changing his pitching mechanics mid season. That’s not a strength or endurance issue it was pure stupidy on Cora’s part and should have gotten him fired considering how much Sale costs annually and they lost him for over 2 years.
Rather than messing up the between starts schedule by adding a 6th man to the rotation it’s better for the pitchers to spot start 1 of the 6 pitchers giving each of the five other SPs a day off in the 5 man rotation. It’s much more like using a utility infielder to give the starters an occasional day off.
The way things stand right now I would set the rotation Sale, Houck, Paxton, Bello and Pivetta with Crawford the spot starter, Whitlock the stress inning pitcher who comes in to keep runners from scoring when the SP runs into trouble whether it’s in the first inning of the 8th inning. I would put Kluber in long relief to take over for Whitlock after he puts out a fire in one of the first five innings and have Kluber try to extend the team to the 7th when they can use their big three relievers in games where they are ahead or they can use their next three relievers if they are behind. This is the best pitching staff overall that I can remember but if used improperly they won’t be as effective as they could be. Cora lacks knowledge of pitching so the wrong thing is the likely thing when it comes to his pitching decisions.
Five man rotation with a utility SP is my suggestion not a 6 man rotation.
If they can’t/won’t DFA him, just smash his hand with a ball peen hammer. Think of the movie Casino.
The Yankees win!
Whadda comeback! What a job by All-rise and Anthony the NY kid! What a team!