The Phillies announced that outfielder Aaron Altherr and righty Mark Leiter Jr. have been optioned to Triple-A, with corresponding roster moves coming tomorrow. It was just a season ago that Altherr looked like a breakout member of the Phils’ outfield picture, as he hit .272/.340/.516 with 19 homers over 412 plate appearances, though he has been unable to come anywhere close to that production in 2018. Altherr has been a sub-replacement level (-0.7 fWAR) player through 248 PA this season, hitting just .171/.290/.305 and subsequently losing regular playing time. He’ll look to get back on track in the minors, while his absence could put Philadelphia in the mix for a backup outfielder in its trade discussions.
Here’s more from around baseball as we’re just over a week away from the trade deadline…
- Jonathan Schoop’s time with the Orioles may be coming to an end, if recent trade rumors are any indication. The second baseman tells The Athletic’s Dan Connolly (subscription required) that he hopes he can remain in Baltimore to become a building block for the O’s as they go through a rebuild. That said, the team also didn’t engage in any extension talks with Schoop last winter in the wake of his strong 2017 season. That move may have been prescient on the Orioles’ part, as Schoop suffered through a nightmarish first three months that saw him miss time with an oblique injury and post just a .587 OPS over 266 PA. Though he has hit better in July, the Orioles would still be selling low on Schoop, so they could retain him for the rest of the season to see if he can rebuild any value in the second half. Schoop has one remaining year of arbitration eligibility before hitting free agency after the 2019 campaign.
- Ervin Santana will make his season debut on Wednesday when he takes the hill for a start in Toronto, Twins skipper Paul Molitor told reporters (including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger). Santana underwent surgery on the middle finger of his throwing hand back in early February, a procedure that was thought to require only a 10-to-12 week rehab stint. Unfortunately for the right-hander, he battled continued soreness in his finger as well as a rather troubling velocity drop during his recovery process, and is only now ready to return to action. Due to that extended absence, Bollinger writes that Santana’s $14MM club option for 2019 is ” not expected to be picked up” by the Twins, though I’d suspect that the team would at least consider retaining the veteran if he shows any of his old form over the final two-plus months of the season. Santana did post excellent numbers in 2016-17, delivering a 3.32 ERA, 2.77 K/BB rate, and 7.2 K/9 over 63 starts and 392 2/3 IP for Minnesota.
- The Indians’ acquisitions of Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the Padres in this week’s blockbuster trade likely means that the Tribe will let Cody Allen and Andrew Miller leave after the season, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. Hand is signed to a reasonable contract through at least the 2020 season while Cimber is controlled through 2023, making them better value over Allen and Miller, considering what the two veteran relievers are likely to ask for in free agency this winter. Cleveland has stretched its payroll beyond its usual mid-market comfort zone in an attempt to win a World Series, and it always seemed unlikely that the Indians would continue to heavily invest in the bullpen by re-signing Miller and/or Allen when lower-cost options could be found elsewhere.