As the 2023 regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Jansen to be re-evaluated:
Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen was pulled from Wednesday night’s game due to tightness in his right hamstring. Per MLB.com, the club plans to evaluate Jansen further upon returning to Boston today. Jansen told reporters that he “felt great” yesterday and was hoping to avoid a trip to the injured list. The 68-60 Red Sox are still in the hunt for the playoffs, with a 3.5 game deficit to make up for in the Wild Card standings. A healthy and effective Jansen will be key to the club’s playoff aspirations, as the four-time All Star has posted a 2.81 ERA while racking up 29 saves in 46 appearances this season. Should Jansen require a trip to the shelf, Chris Martin seems like the most likely candidate to take over for Jansen in the ninth inning.
2. Who’s starting for the Cubs this weekend?
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer announced yesterday that the club plans to move left-handed Drew Smyly to the bullpen going forward, raising questions regarding who will take the ball for Smyly’s previously-scheduled start on Sunday. Right-hander Hayden Wesneski (4.46 ERA) made 11 starts for the club earlier in the season, but has excelled in a multi-inning bullpen role with a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings since leaving the rotation.
If the club doesn’t want to change Wesneski’s role, they could look to the minor leagues where 2021 first-round pick Jordan Wicks has posted a 3.55 ERA in 91 1/3 innings between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this year. One intriguing option would be right-hander Shane Greene, a long-time big league reliever who has been stretched out to longer appearances at Triple-A since joining the Cubs on a minor league deal. In his most recent appearance, Greene posted five scoreless innings with the club’s affiliate in Iowa, striking out six while walking just one.
3. Where will Garrett land?
The Guardians granted left-hander Amir Garrett his release yesterday, allowing the veteran southpaw to return to the open market. With one week remaining before September 1, after which point players who join a new organization will no longer be postseason eligible, time is of the essence as Garrett looks to catch on with a new team.
The 31-year-old posted a solid 3.33 ERA in 24 1/3 innings with the Royals earlier this season, though he also walked a whopping 17.9% of batters he faced during that time. While he only recorded 4.2 innings of work with the Guardians at Triple-A, his wildness didn’t appear improved there, as he walked four in that time. Still, given the scarcity of external relief options this time of year, particularly ones who throw from the left side, it seems reasonable to expect Garrett to find a new home in the coming days. The Cubs, Astros, Red Sox and Twins are among the clubs who might benefit from an additional lefty arm in their bullpen.