Boston Red Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-20T01:04:31Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[AL Notes: Tucker, Abreu, Betts, Blue Jays]]> 2018-09-16T20:39:49Z 2018-09-16T20:39:49Z The Astros called up top outfield prospect Kyle Tucker from Triple-A today, and that could very well mark the team’s final September promotion, manager A.J. Hinch tells reporters (Twitter links via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). Hinch added that Tucker probably won’t play much in the season’s final weeks, though with Tucker having already debuted earlier this summer and his season in Triple-A Fresno over, there’s little reason not to bring Tucker back up. The 21-year-old former No. 5 overall pick hit just .154/.254/.212 in 59 plate appearances with the ’Stros earlier this year, but he decimated Triple-A pitching at a .332/.400/.590 pace, swatting 24 homers and swiping 20 steals along the way.

More from the American League…

  • In an interesting look back at what could have been, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald examines the Red Sox’ initial pursuit of Jose Abreu when he was an international free agent. The BoSox maxed out at six years and $60MM in their pursuit of the vaunted Cuban slugger according to Silverman, but they ultimately lost out when the White Sox offered a total of $68MM guaranteed over that same term. Silverman runs through a series of trickle-down effects, as Boston instead pivoted to re-sign Mike Napoli. That was one of many lackluster offseason moves that set the stage for the ill-fated 2014-15 offseason that saw the Sox sign Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. There’s little sense in fretting too much over hindsight, but it’s nonetheless an intriguing reminder of the domino effect that so many offseason moves (and non-moves) carry.
  • Mookie Betts exited today’s game with soreness in his left side, the Red Sox announced today. That’s the same issue that caused him to land on the disabled list earlier this summer, but manager Alex Cora tells reporters that this instance was precautionary and not considered serious (Twitter link via Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic). Betts is expected to see some time at DH in the Red Sox’ upcoming series against the Yankees, with J.D. Martinez lining up in right field in his place.
  • The Blue Jays are making some changes in their scouting department, as first reported by Robert Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link). Specifically, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that pro scouts Jon Bunnell, Dan Evans, Bryan Lambe and Kimball Crossley are being let go. A pair of veteran Jays scouts, Jim Beattie and and Brad Matthews are retiring as well. While some organizations have begun to pare back on their pro scouting staffs, Davidi notes that the Blue Jays are planning on replacing all six of them.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Christian Vazquez, Trade Candidate?]]> 2018-09-15T22:22:29Z 2018-09-15T22:22:29Z
  • “There could be a big market for” Christian Vazquez should the Red Sox make him available in trade talks, rival executives tell the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.  This scenario would’ve been seemed unthinkable last March, when the Sox signed Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55MM extension that seemingly made him Boston’s long-term answer behind the plate. 2018 has been essentially a lost season for Vazquez, however, as he has hit only .213/.256/.298 over 239 PA and missed just under eight weeks with a fractured pinky finger on his throwing hand.  Offense has never been a big plus for the defensively-stellar Vazquez, though with Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart behind the plate, Cafardo wonders if the Sox could move Vazquez to address other needs.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Dombrowski On Bullpen Search]]> 2018-09-15T16:35:59Z 2018-09-15T16:35:12Z
  • The Red Sox didn’t put much focus on relief pitching at the trade deadline, with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski noting that “If we addressed the bullpen, then there’d be other needs we’d have.  It wasn’t that we weren’t open to some moves. But we addressed some of our other priorities.”  Boston was linked to multiple relievers in trade rumors but didn’t find a fit anywhere.  In regards to one name in particular, Dombrowski said that “we couldn’t touchRoberto Osuna, who the Astros acquired from the Blue Jays in a deal that generated quite a bit of controversy, given the domestic assault charges still pending against him.  The bullpen has been seen as a possible Achilles’ heel for an otherwise dominant Red Sox team, though as Dombrowski observed, Boston’s relief corps still ranks within the top ten in most major categories.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nunez Again Bothered By Knee Issues]]> 2018-09-14T14:41:42Z 2018-09-14T14:41:42Z
  • Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez exited Thursday’s game due to soreness in his right knee, per’s Chris Cotillo — the same knee that plagued him late in the 2017 season and into the American League Division Series, where he had to be helped off the field. Nunez recently told’s Rob Bradford that the knee has been an ongoing issue for him in 2018 but was getting “close” to 100 percent. That doesn’t seem to be the case now, though Cotillo notes that skipper Alex Cora said the team doesn’t believe Nunez’s current injury to be serious. Nunez will be held out of tonight’s game and re-assessed this weekend. He’s struggled to a .262/.287/.387 batting line through 486 plate appearances this season and has a player option for the 2019 season that increased from $4MM to $5MM when he took his 400th plate appearance (as first reported by Bradford).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[David Price Implies That He Won't Exercise Opt-Out Clause]]> 2018-09-13T02:20:37Z 2018-09-13T02:20:37Z
  • David Price has an opt-out clause in his seven-year, $217MM contract following the season, but the left-hander’s recent comments to Christopher Smith of strongly suggest he’ll remain with the Red Sox. Asked if he would consider opting out because of his recent stretch of dominance, Price bluntly replied: “Why would I leave here to go to a team that’s not as good as this team? I came here to win.” Of course, it’s never seemed likely that the 33-year-old Price would opt out of the remaining $127MM on his deal (as explored here last week), but those comments make that outcome seem all the more certain. Over his past 128 2/3 innings (including tonight’s start), Price has a 2.94 ERA with a 137-to-27 K/BB ratio. Nearly 20 percent of the 42 runs he’s allowed in that 21-start stretch came in one outing; excluding that hiccup, he’s been a brilliant complement to Chris Sale atop the Boston rotation, creating a formidable one-two punch for rookie manager Alex Cora.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Sox Didn't Consider Promotions For Feltman, Lakins]]> 2018-09-12T15:39:38Z 2018-09-11T22:13:34Z
  • Despite some questions in the Red Sox bullpen, the organization didn’t give much thought to calling up either Durbin Feltman or Travis Lakins in September, writes Rob Bradford of President of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski tells Bradford that despite a strong minor league showing for each right-hander, neither can be considered a clear upgrade over the relievers currently in the Boston ’pen. A promotion of Feltman would’ve been extraordinarily aggressive, as he was selected in the third round of this year’s draft, though he was labeled a potential fast-track candidate and did pitch brilliantly across multiple Class-A levels. Bradford adds that Lakins’ injury history likely kept the 24-year-old down this year, as the team was wary about subjecting his arm to another two months of innings after he had a stress fracture in his elbow in 2017.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate Chris Sale]]> 2018-09-11T17:12:35Z 2018-09-11T17:12:35Z The Red Sox have activated ace lefty Chris Sale, as Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston was among those to report on Twitter. He is expected to pitch tonight, but only in a limited capacity, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald recently explained.

    Sale hit the DL in mid-August after experiencing ongoing shoulder inflammation. With a healthy lead in the division, the focus has long been on ensuring the star southpaw’s postseason availability.

    The expectation is that Sale will build back arm strength while pitching at the MLB level. With the end of the minor-league season, it’s the only way to get him game action. Skipper Alex Cora and his staff will be keeping a close eye to ensure Sale doesn’t push too hard, too fast.

    It’ll certainly be fascinating to see whether Sale can pick up where he left off and enter the playoffs as a dominant force. He has pitched 146 innings of 1.97 ERA ball this year, with a ridiculous 13.5 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, so his own standard is a lofty one.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Matt Barnes Out Indefinitely]]> 2018-09-08T23:44:08Z 2018-09-08T23:44:08Z
  • Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes is out indefinitely with left hip inflammation, Christopher Smith of reports. With Boston all but locked into the top seed in the American League, Barnes’ loss isn’t much of a blow now. But it could be if the injury continues to linger into the playoffs, as Barnes leads Red Sox relievers in holds (25) and strikeouts per nine (14.19). He has also thrown the second-most innings (58 1/3) of anyone in Boston’s bullpen and logged an impressive 3.39 ERA/2.71 FIP.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dustin Pedroia Will Not Return In 2018]]> 2018-09-07T20:48:44Z 2018-09-07T20:45:13Z Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced today that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will not return during the 2018 season, as Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston was among those to report (Twitter links). In fact, Pedroia has been recovering from a previously undisclosed knee surgery since July.

    Of course, even without knowing of the surgery, it has long seemed unlikely that Pedroia would make it back to the field this year. The 35-year-old attempted to return from offseason knee surgery but played only three games before again hitting the shelf. While it wasn’t clear at the time that he’d be sidelined this long, there never was much indication of progress over the months that followed.

    For the Boston organization, the absence of Pedroia was already accounted for earlier this summer. The club swung a deal for veteran second bagger Ian Kinsler, who is perhaps as neat a match for Pedroia’s skillset and veteran status as could be imagined.

    Of course, Kinsler is slated to hit the open market at season’s end, while Pedroia remains under contract through 2021. Under the extension signed over the summer of 2013, Pedroia will earn $40MM total over the ensuing three-year span — a theoretically reasonable sum for a player of his quality, even at this advanced stage of his career, but also now a hefty amount to have committed given his increasingly worrisome slate of injuries.

    For now, the Red Sox will surely welcome Pedroia as a non-playing part of the dugout mix as they seek to convert an incredible regular season into postseason glory. But the offseason will present some tough questions. Brock Holt and (likely) Eduardo Nunez will remain on hand as potential options, though clearly the team’s preference would be for those players to function as reserves.

    Pedroia says his most recent procedure was to remove scar tissue, so perhaps it’s not a major concern in and of itself. The hope will have to be that a lengthy respite will allow him to finally get the troublesome knee in shape after requiring significant surgeries in each of the past two months of October. And Pedroia himself says he expects to be ready to go for the 2019 season. Surely, though, further infield moves will at least be contemplated.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2018-19 Opt-Out & Player Option Decisions]]> 2018-09-07T16:59:55Z 2018-09-07T16:53:25Z With Major League teams increasingly adding opt-out provisions to free-agent contracts as a means of incentivizing players to sign, there are now a handful of those decisions that impact the free-agent market every offseason. With nearly 90 percent of the season already in the books, many of the opt-out decisions/player option decisions look pretty clear cut.

    Things could change over the final month, but here’s a look at where things currently stand…

    Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (Two years, $65MM remaining): Truthfully, Kershaw is the only player with an opt-out provision in 2018 who could be called likely to exercise the clause at present. While he hasn’t been quite as dominant as usual and has spent time on the DL for a third straight year (back issues, biceps tendinitis), it’s difficult to imagine him having to take less than that $65MM sum in free agency.

    In 131 1/3 innings this season, Kershaw is sporting a 2.40 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 0.89 HR/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate. He hasn’t topped 200 innings since 2015, but he’s still a clearly elite starter. If he does formally opt out, the Dodgers can issue a qualifying offer, though perhaps the easiest scenario would be for Los Angeles to simply extend Kershaw’s current contract to prolong his already historic Dodgers career.

    David Price, Red Sox (Four years, $127MM remaining): Price is having his best season with the Red Sox, having notched a 3.60 ERA with a strikeout per inning and 2.4 walks per nine innings pitched through 152 1/3 frames. His results have been solid, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine a scenario where he exceeds $127MM in free agency at the age of 33. Price’s Boston tenure has been rocky at times, but it seems likely that he’ll be back in the rotation next season.

    [Related: Club option decisions on starting pitchers, relievers and position players]

    Jason Heyward, Cubs (Five years, $106MM remaining): Declining to opt out is little more than a formality for Heyward at this point, as he hasn’t come close to living up to his $184MM contract in Chicago through the first three seasons. To his credit, though the 29-year-old has had a nice rebound effort, hitting .275/.342/.399 with above-average defense in right field. That might make the Cubs feel better about his contract moving forward, but it won’t be enough to prompt Heyward to test free agency. His contract contains a second opt-out clause following the 2019 season, at which point he’ll have four years and $86MM remaining, but that also seems like a long shot.

    Elvis Andrus, Rangers (Four years, $58MM): Andrus could be considered more of a borderline call than some on this list, but he seems likelier to stay with Texas than to opt out. The 30-year-old hasn’t had a bad season, hitting .270/.322/.396 with quality defense, but his bat hasn’t been as potent as it was in 2016-17 when he hit a combined .299/.348/.457. The downturn in offensive output might not be entirely Andrus’ fault; he did incur a broken elbow when he was hit by a pitch earlier this season — an injury that caused him to miss just over two months of action. It’s easy to imagine that injury having a lingering effect on Andrus’ swing, too.

    Like Heyward, Andrus has a second opt-out clause in his contract after the 2019 season. At that point, he’ll have three years and $43MM remaining on his contract. If his bat returns to its 2016-17 levels, surpassing that $43MM mark in free agency could be plausible. If Andrus opted out, he’d certainly be issued a qualifying offer — there’s no reason for the team to worry about him taking a one-year deal worth about $18MM when he just walked away from $58MM — which would only further hinder his earning power.

    Yasmany Tomas, D-backs (Two years, $32.5MM remaining): Tomas clubbed 31 homers with the 2016 Diamondbacks but did so with a .315 on-base percentage and some of the worst defensive ratings of any player in the Majors — regardless of position. He’s since been outrighted off the 40-man roster and, in 371 Triple-A plate appearances this season, has 101 strikeouts against 11 walks with a .280 OBP. Suffice it to say: he’s not going anywhere.

    Mark Melancon, Giants (Two years, $28MM remaining): Injuries have ruined Melancon’s first two seasons with the Giants, though he’s been excellent since returning in 2018: 2.64 ERA, 7.9K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 53.1 percent ground-ball rate in 30 2/3 innings. That performance is encouraging for the Giants as they look to 2019, but it won’t be enough to make Melancon’s camp think he can top $28MM heading into his age-34 season.

    Brandon Kintzler, Cubs ($5MM player option): Kintzler’s contract technically contains a $10MM club option or a $5MM player option, but it’s clear given his dismal performance since being traded to Chicago that the team won’t be opting for that $10MM sum. Kintzler was very good with the Twins and Nationals from 2016 through this past July, but his typically excellent control has evaporated in Chicago while his hard-contact rate has skyrocketed. It’s only a sample of 11 2/3 innings, but his struggles make the option seem a fairly straightforward decision.

    Eduardo Nunez, Red Sox ($5MM player option): Nunez’s deal comes with a $2MM buyout, making this effectively a $3MM decision for his camp. He’s struggled to the point that he may not even want to take that risk, though, hitting just .258/.282/.384 through 473 trips to the plate.

    Rob Bradford of reported this week that Nunez’s option increased from $4MM to $5MM once he reached 400 plate appearances. Bradford spoke to Nunez, who acknowledged that the knee that gave out on him in the postseason last year has been a problem for him throughout 2018, though he believes he’s finally “close” to 100 percent. Perhaps a strong month and a big postseason could prompt him to again test the open market, but his overall production to this point makes the player option seem a likelier outcome.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: Mets Front Office, Frazier, Ball, Prado]]> 2018-09-06T05:24:26Z 2018-09-06T05:24:26Z It seems the Mets have yet to get their much-anticipated front-office search underway in earnest. But there has been a steady steam of information on the process of finding a new top baseball operations. (Of course, there still has been no formal announcement that the club will replace Sandy Alderson, who’s currently on leave for cancer treatment, though it is widely expected to take place.) Joel Sherman of the New York Post lays out the team’s thinking on the hiring process, suggesting that ownership is still gathering names to consider but hopes to wrap things up in advance of the GM Meetings. Interestingly, current exec Omar Minaya is said not only to be involved in the process, but also a clear factor moving forward. Per Sherman: “it is clear that whoever does get the position is going to inherit Minaya as an executive with — at the very least — significant say in player personnel, and someone who has the ear and trust of ownership.” There are quite a few names being tossed around at the moment. As Sherman notes, that’s largely reflective of the still-early stage of proceedings — and, perhaps, some differences in preferred approaches between Fred and Jeff Wilpon. Meanwhile, Andy Martino of hears that the Mets are open to utilizing different front office structures (or, at least, allocations of titles) to help open the door to additional candidates. Generally, though, he writes that there’s no “particular top candidate in mind” at the moment.

    • Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier likely won’t be able to return this season after suffering a setback in his efforts to return from a concussion, manager Aaron Boone told reporters including Marc Carig of The Athletic (Twitter link). The timing is poor for Frazier, who turns 24 today. With Aaron Judge still working his way back to health, this might have been a prime chance for Frazier to receive an extended opportunity. He has only appeared in 15 MLB games this year but seems in line for more after producing an excellent .311/.389/.574 slash with ten home runs in his 216 plate appearances at Triple-A.
    • Red Sox prospect Trey Ball is moving from the mound to the batter’s box, as Greg Levinsky of the Boston Globe notes on Twitter. The Globe’s Alex Speier recently examined the subject, explaining that the 2013 first-rounder was seen as a two-way prospect as a high-school outfielder. With his pitching career fizzling out — he has struggled in consecutive Double-A seasons, despite repeating the level and converting to a relief role — the 24-year-old Ball will now take a second shot at carving out a MLB career.
    • As we touched upon earlier tonight, the Martin Prado contract has been an exceedingly poor investment for the Marlins. That’s due mostly to the veteran’s injury and performance struggles, though the contract has also simply failed to line up with the team’s competitive timeline. Of course, that’s due in large part to the stunning death of former star pitcher Jose Fernandez, which occurred not long before the Prado deal was announced and drastically changed the organization’s outlook. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets, in fact, that the club considered halting negotiations with Prado, which had advanced to the point that terms were “in place” (but the contract un-signed) when Fernandez suddenly and tragically passed away. Instead, writes Spencer, the Marlins decided to go through with the deal that they had negotiated.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox To Select Brandon Phillips, Recall Rafael Devers]]> 2018-09-03T16:19:05Z 2018-09-03T15:38:54Z The Red Sox will call up infielder Brandon Phillips and third baseman Rafael Devers from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe was among those to report. The team will need to add Phillips to its 40-man roster before promoting him. It currently has one open spot.

    Although Phillips has been a quality major leaguer for most of his career, the longtime Red was unable to land a contract in the offseason, thanks in part to his age (37). Phillips finally inked a minor league deal with Boston toward the end of June, and he’s now in line to appear in the majors for the 17th season in a row.

    Phillips was superb as a member of Pawtucket, with which he hit .302/.348/.477 in 161 plate appearances to earn a September call-up. He’ll provide second and third base depth for Boston – which, despite its overall dominance this year, hasn’t gotten great production from either position. Devers is partially to blame for that, having slashed just .242/.298/.422 with under 1.0 fWAR in 423 PAs. The promising 21-year-old has also been on the DL on multiple occasions because of hamstring troubles. Consequently, he hasn’t suited up for the Red Sox since Aug. 15.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Sale, Devers]]> 2018-09-02T01:29:09Z 2018-09-02T01:27:32Z Red Sox ace Chris Sale is progressing in his recovery from left shoulder inflammation and could return in time to make multiple starts before the playoffs begin, per Max Gelman of Sale has been on the disabled list since Aug. 18 (retroactive to the 15th), his second DL stint on account of shoulder inflammation since July. Sale had been enjoying a Cy Young-caliber campaign before landing on the shelf, and it’s certainly possible he’ll still end up with the award. While Sale has only thrown 146 innings, he leads the AL in ERA (1.97), K/9 (13.5), rWAR (6.5) and fWAR (6.1).

    • Back to Boston, which has been without third baseman Rafael Devers since Aug. 17 with a hamstring injury. Devers has been playing with Triple-A Pawtucket of late, and the Red Sox don’t appear to be in a hurry to recall him, Sean McAdam of tweets. “One thing’s for sure, Raffy’s got to play better,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That’s the bottom line. We’re here to win games and whoever’s playing best is going to play.” To Devers’ credit, he did homer at the Triple-A level on Saturday. The 21-year-old has fallen flat in the majors this season after an encouraging rookie campaign in 2017, however, having hit just .242/.298/.422 in 423 plate appearances. Third base has been a disappointment in general for Boston, which has gotten subpar production from both Devers and Eduardo Nunez.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Sandy Leon's Defense A Boon For Red Sox]]> 2018-08-27T04:22:26Z 2018-08-27T04:22:26Z
  • As of Saturday, Red Sox pitchers had a 3.08 ERA when Sandy Leon was catching, compared to a 3.84 ERA with another catcher.  Leon’s game-calling and defensive abilities have made him a favorite of the Sox rotation, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes, and the team hasn’t lost a beat with Leon taking the bulk of playing time with Christian Vazquez on the DL.  Mastrodonato’s piece also delves into Leon’s early development as a player, and how his quick grasp of English helped him easily learn how to work with pitchers.
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