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The Cubs have acquired outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Tigers, tweets ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Cubs will send infielder Zack Short to the Tigers in return, according to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News.
Maybin, 33, has been about league average in his brief 45 plate appearances for the Tigers this year after signing as a free agent in February. He missed time early in the month with a quad strain. The Tigers’ 10th overall pick way back in 2005, Maybin has created value in a utility role in recent years. He posted a 127 wRC+ for the Yankees in 2019, and is able to handle all three outfield positions. A 14-year veteran, Maybin is owed about $225K on the season.
Maybin is the Cubs’ second bench bat addition in two days, as they picked up Jose Martinez from the Rays yesterday. The Cubs’ depth was a bit compromised with Steven Souza Jr. on the IL for a hamstring strain and Kris Bryant out with a sprained finger and sore wrist. The first-place Cubs have been otherwise focused on the bullpen today, adding lefties Andrew Chafin and Josh Osich in trades.
Short, 25, reached Triple-A in 2019 as a middle infielder. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked Short 28th among Cubs prospects, citing “a consistent blend of strong defensive skills and sneaky impact at the plate.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Blue Jays have acquired infielder Jonathan Villar from the Marlins, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Villar was pulled from this afternoon’s game against the Mets at Citi Field. In return, the Marlins will receive right fielder Griffin Conine from Toronto, according to Craig Mish. Given that Conine is not part of the Jays’ 60-man player pool, he’s considered a player to be named later in this deal, according to Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. The move comes on the heels of the Marlins acquiring Starling Marte from the Diamondbacks as the Miami club attempts to return to the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 championship.
Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette was placed on the IL on August 16th with a knee sprain, which is expected to keep him out until at least mid-September. Rosenthal had previously reported the Jays’ interest in the versatile Villar, and Toronto was also said to have checked in on the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons. The Blue Jays have already stocked up with trades for Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, and Dan Vogelbach. Should Bichette return within a few weeks, Villar can help out around the diamond.
Villar, 29, had an excellent 2019 season for the Orioles. But with the infielder headed for an $8.2MM salary through arbitration (of which about $1.2MM is still owed this season), the O’s saw fit to ship him to Miami in a December trade. Due to the shortened season, Villar wound up playing just 29 games for the Marlins. According to Craig Mish, the Marlins “felt Villar is still an extremely talented player but played reckless at times, and never fully bought in to what they are trying to do.” According to Mish, Villar was expendable due to Isan Diaz’s return to the club. Diaz had opted out and is awaiting approval on returning, according to Rosenthal.
The speedy Villar has a few above-average offensive seasons on his record, most recently with a 107 wRC+ last year. He’s generally not been lauded for his infield defense, however. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the season, with the Jays serving as his fifth organization.
Griffin Conine, the son of Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine, chose not to sign after the Marlins drafted him in the 31st round out of high school. He then went to Duke and was drafted by the Jays in the second round, most recently playing A ball in the Midwest League. Part of the Jays’ run on sons of popular Major Leaguers, Conine was ranked as the club’s #15 prospect prior to the 2019 season by Baseball America. BA praised his plus power and arm, though Conine did serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for ritalinic acid.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Blue Jays have acquired lefty Robbie Ray from the Diamondbacks, tweets Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. The D’Backs will receive southpaw Travis Bergen in return, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Arizona will also be sending over $300K in cash, according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Ray has approximately $1.42MM left on his contract this year.
Ray, 29 in October, has pitched the vast majority of his career for Arizona after they acquired him in a December 2014 three-team trade. He’s long been one of the game’s top strikeout pitchers, with an 11.9 K/9 mark that ranks third in MLB for qualified starters from 2016-19. Never known for his control, walks have become problematic at times for Ray. The issue has been particularly bad in this brief 2020 season, as Ray has issued free passes to more than a fifth of the batters he’s faced, easily the highest rate in MLB this year. The result has been an unsightly 7.84 ERA, through seven starts, well out of line with his career work. Ray will be eligible for free agency after the season, and in light of his performance this year, it’s unlikely the Diamondbacks would have been willing to issue a qualifying offer.
At present, the 18-14 Blue Jays are in line to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Ray marks the second addition to Toronto’s rotation in five days, as Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations & General Manager Ross Atkins added Taijuan Walker from the Mariners last Thursday. Atkins has assembled a veteran group, which also includes offseason pickups Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, and Chase Anderson. Matt Shoemaker went down last week due to a lat strain, while uber-prospect Nate Pearson went on the shelf on August 19th for a flexor strain. That pair hopes to return this year, while Trent Thornton is out for the season with an elbow injury. The club will hope pitching coach Pete Walker can diagnose Rays’ control issues and help him bounce back over the season’s final month.
Today will mark the third time in Ray’s career he’s received that life-changing phone call from his GM informing him of a trade. After being drafted by the Nationals in the 12th round in 2010, Ray was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Doug Fister from the Tigers to the Nats in 2013. Just a year later, Ray landed with the Diamondbacks in a deal that sent Didi Gregorius to the Yankees and Shane Greene to the Tigers. Ray blossomed into a fine pitcher for the D’Backs, putting together four separate seasons of at least 2.3 WAR and snagging an All-Star nod and seventh-place Cy Young finish in 2017. By the 2018-19 offseason, Ray was a regular on the rumor circuit, but Executive Vice President & General Manager Mike Hazen didn’t pull the trigger until today, with most of the lefty’s trade value lost.
Bergen, 27 in October, was drafted by the Jays in the seventh round in 2015 out of Kennesaw State and has been used mostly in relief in his pro career. Though the Giants picked up Bergen in the 2018 Rule 5 draft, they wound up designating him for assignment and returning him in August of last year after he returned from an IL stint for a shoulder injury. His fastball ticked up to 93.7 mph this year for the Jays, more than three miles per hour than he showed in his rookie campaign. But with all due respect to Bergen, it would appear this trade was mainly about salary relief from Arizona’s standpoint.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Rangers have already shipped out starter Mike Minor to the A’s, so now all eyes are on righty Lance Lynn. The 33-year-old righty sports a 3.33 ERA in 41 starts for the Rangers since they signed him prior to the 2019 season, and he’s under contract for just $8MM in 2021. Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Rangers may be motivated to avoid repeating the mistake they made with Minor, holding him last summer when he was at peak value with control remaining.
- The Braves, who picked up lefty Tommy Milone in a deal with the Orioles yesterday, have been in contact with the Rangers regarding Lynn within the last 48 hours, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
- The Yankees have also been involved in Lynn’s market during that time, tweets Morosi. Lynn’s resurgence began with his two-month stint with the Yankees back in 2018. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan notes that the Rangers “would love RHP Deivi Garcia from the Yankees but he is likely out of reach.” On a similar note, Sherman hears the Yankees don’t have an appetite to move Garcia, to date.
- The Padres “explored separate trades” with the Rangers for Lynn and outfielder Joey Gallo before acquiring Mike Clevinger from the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. I would speculate that with Clevinger tow, it’s (relatively) safe to assume the Padres are out on Lynn. Similarly, the A’s were previously connected to Lynn but have since landed Minor.
- Previous connections to Lynn have been made for the Twins, Blue Jays, and White Sox, so those teams may still be in play. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, the Jays had been linked to Minor before he was dealt to Oakland, and the Rangers “are intrigued by [the] Jays’ young catching.”
The Nationals are “looking to buy today,” hears The Athletic’s Jayson Stark from teams that have talked to the Washington ballclub. This is a bit of an advancement from what we heard on Saturday from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who said, “If they do anything, it’ll be buy.” The Nats are three games out from second place in the NL East, currently their easiest path to the playoffs.
In an article Thursday, MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato suggested a multi-inning reliever, ideally with the ability to handle lefties, could be a reasonable target. GM Mike Rizzo expressed comfort with his starting pitching depth – even sans Stephen Strasburg – on a call with reporters over a week ago, but that hardly rules out the pursuit of a starting pitcher. Stark speculates that the Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray could be a fit. Rizzo presided over the Nationals’ drafting of Ray in 2010, an excellent find in the 12th round.
The Twins are “working aggressively to trade for a starter today,” tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Morosi reiterates their interest in the Angels’ Dylan Bundy and the Rangers’ Lance Lynn, which he has previously reported. Darren Wolfson of KSTP has a different take, noting the Twins’ existing rotation depth and tendency to “call every team to get a gauge on price points.”
The Twins have been working with Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Rich Hill, and Randy Dobnak in the rotation, and they’ll add Michael Pineda tomorrow as his suspension concludes. Jake Odorizzi is working his way back from an abdominal bruise, while Homer Bailey’s biceps tendinitis makes him more of a question mark. Wolfson’s point: this is not a team in desperate need of starting pitching.
Lynn, 33, figures to be one of the day’s hottest commodities. The 12-21 Rangers are one of perhaps seven obvious sellers, and Lynn has been excellent since signing a three-year deal with Texas in December 2018. He’s owed about $1.5MM for the remainder of the season, plus an affordable $8MM salary for 2021. The Angels are in a similar spot with Bundy, a 27-year-old for whom things seem to be clicking after seven starts.
It’s worth noting that Lynn made 20 starts for the Twins in 2018 before being traded to the Yankees, at which point his resurgence began. After that season, the Twins hired Wes Johnson as their pitching coach. It’s not clear how the organization’s familiarity with Lynn affects their interest. If the Twins do push for a starter today, their efforts will likely be muddied by the division-rival White Sox, who have also been connected to both Lynn and Bundy.
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