The other two trades helped build the Pirates’ 2019-2020 international pool money. The Pirates sent left-hander Domingo Robles to the St. Louis Cardinals and right-hander Connor Loeprich to the Baltimore Orioles in separate trades for international pool money.
The Orioles have acquired infield prospect Victor Gonzalez from the Mets as the player to be named later in the August trade that sent Miguel Castro to New York. The 17-year-old Gonzalez has been added to Baltimore’s 60-man player pool, while right-hander Chandler Shepherd was released to make room.
Gonzalez, hailing from the Dominican Republic, signed for a $250K bonus as a member of the Mets’ 2019-20 international signing class. With the 2020 minor league season canceled, Gonzalez has yet to officially begin his pro career, and he wasn’t part of the group working out at the Mets’ alternate training site. Baseball America’s Ben Badler described Gonzalez as having “a good chance to stay at shortstop” since he has “a quick first step, covers ground well and has a strong arm for the position.”
Shepherd joined the Orioles on a waiver claim in May 2019 and made his MLB debut last season, posting a 6.63 ERA over 19 innings for the O’s. The righty was outrighted off the 40-man roster after the season but remained in the organization, and was briefly called up to the Orioles’ roster this season but didn’t appear in a game before being designated for assignment in August.
Originally a 13th-round pick for the Red Sox in the 2014 draft, Shepherd has a 4.17 ERA, 3.44 K/BB rate, and 8.6 K/9 over 455 2/3 career minor league innings in the Boston and Baltimore organizations. Somewhat unusually, he began his pro career as a reliever before becoming mostly a full-time starter prior to the 2018 season. (Three of Shepherd’s five Major League games were starts.)
- Orioles’ shortstop José Iglesias left tonight’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a Charlie Morton pitch, relays Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Pat Valaika stepped in at short in his stead. The 30-year-old Iglesias, a longtime defensive stalwart, has been stellar when healthy for Baltimore, hitting .377/.406/.515 in 139 plate appearances. He has been diagnosed a left wrist contusion, per Roch Kubtako of MASNsports.com (Twitter link).
SEPTEMBER 19: Davis is out for the rest of the season, manager Brandon Hyde tells reporters (including Roch Kubtako of MASNsports.com).
SEPTEMBER 14: The Orioles have placed first baseman Chris Davis on the 10-day injured list with left knee patellar tendinitis, per a team announcement. They also released utility player Stevie Wilkerson, activated outfielder Austin Hays and outrighted outfielder Mason Williams to their alternate site after he cleared waivers.
This is the second IL stint in the past few weeks for Davis, who was previously out from Aug. 19-Sept. 11 with the same injury. Davis appeared in one game since coming off the IL the first time, and now it seems that his season could be over. If so, it will go down as the fourth straight dreadful campaign for the former star, who has batted .115/.164/.173 with no home runs in 55 plate appearances in 2020.
Wilkerson hasn’t played at all this season after suffering a broken finger in late July. The 29-year-old was a regular for the Orioles last season, but he struggled to a .225/.286/.383 line with 10 home runs in 361 plate appearances in 2019.
Williams will stay in the organization just a few days after the Orioles designated him for assignment. They’ve designated and outrighted Williams twice in the past couple weeks.
The 18-year-old Deson made his pro debut with the Orioles in 2019 and combined for a .252/.327/.336 line with one home run and 23 stolen bases on 34 attempts across 286 plate appearances at the rookie level.
Givens, long a successful reliever with the Orioles, joined the Rockies as the owner of a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings this season. But the acquisition hasn’t gone according to plan for the Rockies, with whom Givens has thrown 5 2/3 innings of four-run ball. The Rockies were playoff contenders then, but they’ve sunk to a 22-27 record.
Going forward, the Rockies can at least hang their hat on the fact that Givens is a proven and controllable MLB reliever, as he has recorded a 3.37 ERA/3.48 FIP with 10.6 K/9 and 3.45 BB/9 in 341 2/3 innings since he debuted in 2015. He has another arbitration-eligible season left in 2021.
The Orioles announced that they have acquired shortstop Isaac De Leon from the Marlins. De Leon was the player to be named later in the teams’ Aug. 1 trade centering on left-hander Richard Bleier. He’ll join Baltimore’s 60-man player pool.
De Leon, an 18-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, joined the Marlins for $275K as an international free agent in 2018. He made his pro debut last year with 102 plate appearances and a .256/.367/.324 line in 284 plate appearances at the rookie level.
Bleier, 33, has been a useful piece of the bullpen for the surprising Marlins, who hold an NL playoff spot at 25-23. The southpaw has thrown 11 innings and given up four earned runs since he came over from the Orioles. Bleier has only fanned five hitters as a Marlin, but strikeouts have never been his forte, evidenced by a lifetime 4.4 K/9 in 188 1/3 innings.
6:34pm: Zimmermann’s up, the Orioles announced.
11:44am: The Orioles have designated right-hander Asher Wojciechowski for assignment, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (via Twitter). The team announced the move shortly thereafter, adding that righties Branden Kline and Evan Phillips are up for Game 1 of today’s doubleheader. Phillips is listed as the 29th man for the day.
It seems Wojciechowski’s 40-man roster spot will go to lefty Bruce Zimmermann. Kubatko tweets that Zimmermann is with the team, and MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported last night that Zimmermann was being considered for his MLB debut on Thursday. The Orioles have since announced Zimmerman as the “probable” starter for the second game of today’s twin bill, so a move to formally add him to he roster will be made between the two games.
Acquired from the Indians in exchange for cash last July, Wojciechowski first looked to be a depth option to make a spot start or two but instead wound up holding down a spot on the pitching staff for more than a year. The 31-year-old appeared in 27 games for the O’s — 23 of them starts — and posted a 5.51 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 30.2 percent grounder rate through 119 2/3 innings28. Wojciechowski’s K/BB numbers and swinging-strike rate were solid, but he proved far too susceptible to the long ball, surrendering 28 dingers in that time for an average of 2.11 per nine frames.
The 25-year-old Zimmermann was a fifth-round pick of the Braves back in 2017 but was traded to his hometown Orioles a year later in the deal that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Atlanta. He ranks as Baltimore’s No. 19 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason update and currently sits 25th on FanGraphs’ latest rankings of a much-improved Baltimore farm system. Both BA and FanGraphs list him as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter. Zimmermann sits 90-93 mph with his heater and has three secondary offerings, with his slider considered the best of the bunch.
Zimmermann split the 2019 season between Double-A and Triple-A, pitching to a combined 3.21 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate. He’s not the highest-upside arm in the Orioles’ system — far from it — but Zimmermann still has a chance to either pitch at the back of the rotation or out of the bullpen for a good while in Baltimore. The team will control him through at least the 2026 season, though future optional assignments could push back his potential to reach free agency.
The Orioles announced that they’ve designated outfielder Mason Williams for assignment.
Now 29 years old, Williams was a first-round pick of the Yankees in 2010 who hasn’t established himself in the majors. He’s only a .272/.309/.370 hitter across 252 plate appearances, including 52 with the Orioles since 2019. Williams went 2-for-18 with nine strikeouts this season before the Orioles before Friday. They previously DFA’d Williams on Sept. 1 and then outrighted him Sept. 4, only to bring him back for a short period.
Here are the latest updates on a few injury situations from around the American League …
- The Athletics will go a few days without full participation from outfielder Stephen Piscotty, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle covers on Twitter. (He’s pinch running as we speak.) Thankfully, it seems there’s reason to hope he’ll bounce back quickly after receiving a cortisone shot to his balky wrist. Piscotty has turned in a useful but hardly world-beating .264/.308/.438 batting line on the season.
- Orioles righty Alex Cobb is days away from a return, with outfielder Austin Hays seemingly not far behind, as skipper Brandon Hyde tells reporters including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). Cobb’s absence is as yet not fully explained; the quick turnaround could indicate that he had to step away owing to coronavirus protocols. Regardless, it’s good news that he’s expected to jump right back into active duty.
- The White Sox don’t appear overly concerned with the health status of lefty Dallas Keuchel. He’ll plan to miss a start after taking an early exit from his last outing due to lower back issues, but that’s expected to be the extent of the missed time, as Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times and others mentioned on Twitter. Keuchel has thus far justified the South Siders’ faith in signing him, running up 53 1/3 innings of 2.19 ERA ball.
- Exciting young Blue Jays hurler Nate Pearson is likely not going to build back to a full starter’s role, skipper Charlie Montoyo told reporters including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). That’s sensible for a variety of reasons. For one thing, there really isn’t much time to ramp him up. For another, it’s not clear that’d be the right role after Pearson ran into some early MLB struggles. The firmly contending Toronto outfit can certainly make use of Pearson in a relief role while still getting him valuable work at the game’s highest level.
The 26-year-old Herrera, whom the Orioles signed to a minor league contract last winter, joined their big league roster exactly a week ago. Herrera wound up going hitless with four strikeouts in six plate appearances. The former Met and Red now owns a .199/.290/.386 line with 11 home runs in 272 PA as a big leaguer.
Davis, meanwhile, will get yet another chance to try to put his career back on track in Baltimore. The former star slugger, 34, was a solid part of the O’s roster as recently as 2016, but his output has gone in the tank since then. Davis began this year with a .152/.173/.184 slash and no homers in 52 trips to the plate before landing on the shelf with a left knee injury. He’s in the fifth season of a seven-year, $161MM contract.