With the trade deadline just around the corner, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Suarez to return:
The Padres have been without right-hander Robert Suarez since Spring Training due to elbow inflammation. That’s expected to change today, as manager Bob Melvin confirmed to reporters (including Dennis Lin of The Athletic) that Suarez set to be activated from the 60-day injured list prior to this afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays in Toronto. A corresponding move will be necessary to clear space for Suarez on the 40-man and active rosters.
After a lengthy career overseas, Suarez made his MLB debut last year at the age of 31 and threw 47 2/3 excellent relief innings of San Diego, with a 2.27 ERA (168 ERA+) and a 3.22 FIP. That stellar performance led the Padres to re-sign Suarez on a five-year, $46MM deal during the offseason. While that contract hasn’t worked out to this point due to Suarez’s injury issues, he has the potential to provide closer Josh Hader with an elite set-up option as the Padres attempt to work their way back into contention. Alternatively, if the Padres decided to trade Hader, a pending free agent, Suarez seems like a top candidate to slide into the closer’s role in San Diego.
2. Bader to undergo testing:
Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader exited yesterday’s game against the Angels after getting hit in the back with a 95 mph sinker from young right-hander Jose Soriano. According to Greg Joyce of the New York Post, Bader had a welt on his back and a posterior rib contusion following the incident. Bader’s expected to undergo more tests before the Yankees make a decision regarding a potential trip to the injured list. A stint on the shelf for Bader would be disastrous for the Yankees, as the center fielder has been a key player both offensively and defensively while Aaron Judge has been on the IL with a toe injury. Should Bader miss time, the club figures to rely on Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Billy McKinney in center field in his absence.
3. Quintana to make season debut:
Veteran lefty Jose Quintana has yet to throw a pitch in the majors this season after undergoing rib surgery back in March. He was reinstated from the 60-day IL last week, but still has yet to take the mound for the Mets since landing with the club on a two-year deal this past offseason. That’s set to change today, as Quintana is slated to take the ball opposite White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech this afternoon at Citi Field.
When healthy, Quintana has been a solid mid-rotation starter throughout his career with a 3.75 ERA (115 ERA+) and 3.62 FIP in 1055 1/3 career innings. He had a particularly impressive campaign last year with the Pirates and Cardinals, posting a 2.93 ERA that was 39% above league average and backed by a 2.99 FIP. With both Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer not living up to their ace-caliber standards this season and Carlos Carrasco struggling to a 5.35 ERA in 13 starts, a strong performance from Quintana down the stretch could help steady the Mets’ rotation as they attempt to stay relevant in the playoff picture ahead of the trade deadline on August 1.