Tim Britton of the Providence Journal takes a look at where the Red Sox’ contract with Pablo Sandoval stands historically in comparison to other large contracts. As might be expected, it doesn’t fare well at this stage of the analysis. While there’s still time for the former star to add back value, it seems likelier than ever that he won’t hold onto a roster spot for the rest of the season. (Currently, Sandoval is taking a DL stint for an inner ear infection.) As things stand, says Britton, Sandoval has posted the worst performance (by measure of WAR) of any player to sign a deal in excess of $90MM.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Sandoval’s struggles have helped frame the trade deadline for the Red Sox, as third base presently stands as a glaring need. But there is perhaps one other possibility: top prospect Rafael Devers, who has hit well at Double-A. Boston, presumably, would want to have a look at Devers in the majors before deciding whether to forgo a significant outside addition. That won’t happen immediately, though; per skipper John Farrell, via Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (on Twitter), Devers’s next promotion will be to Triple-A Pawtucket, not to the majors. With less than six weeks to go until the trade deadline, this raises the question whether the club is seriously considering Devers as the near-term answer at third. That said, it’s possible to imagine that Boston will hold out such a possibility while also moving to add a veteran piece at the hot corner, perhaps preferring a player who could also see time elsewhere on the diamond (in the middle infield, at first, or even in the outfield) over a pure third bagger.
- The Orioles’ rotation remains a major question mark, with righty Chris Tillman now seemingly at risk of losing his spot. As Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun writes, team and player seem to be running out of ideas; Tillman has limped to a ghastly 8.39 ERA with just 5.9 K/9 against 5.0 BB/9 through 39 2/3 innings on the year since returning from injury. While manager Buck Showalter says he’s “hoping Chris can solve this as a starter,” he hinted that the patience is running thin while noting that Tillman is operating without “a lot of crispness” or “a real confident presentation” on the mound. While Tillman says he’s healthy, Meoli notes that he’s struggling to maintain his release point — with a velocity drop and command troubles on his secondary offerings seemingly resulting. All told, it’s a big problem for the O’s, who lack obvious internal solutions, and for the pending free agent.
- Also struggling at the moment is Rays righty Erasmo Ramirez. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, skipper Kevin Cash says that there’s no immediate threat to Ramirez’s rotation spot despite his recent struggles. Still, Topkin suggests that Ramirez’s outing today could determine his near-term fate. With young lefty Blake Snell and others throwing well at Triple-A, there are alternative available to Tampa Bay. How the Rays rotation evolves over the coming six weeks could have some deadline implications, too. The club presently sits two games over .500, and likely won’t punt a chance to contend, but might still market a starter (particularly, free-agent-to-be Alex Cobb) if the team feels it has sufficient in-house depth.