MLB Trade Rumors Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:29:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Clayton Kershaw Likely Out Four To Six Weeks Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:24:44 +0000 July 24: The initial prognosis on Kershaw is that he’ll be sidelined for the next four to six weeks, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). He still is set to receive another opinion before a final determination is made.

While that’s obviously a disheartening development for the Dodgers, that timeline would still give Kershaw time to return and get back up to full strength well in advance of the postseason. And, with a 10.5-game lead on the NL West, the Dodgers can weather the storm even without Kershaw for a month or a bit more.

July 23: Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw exited today’s game in the second inning due to lower back tightness, and manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group) that Kershaw’s issue “is a DL situation.”

Despite the likely DL placement, Roberts felt this injury wasn’t similar to the herniated disk that cost Kershaw over two months of the 2016 season.  This bout of back tightness didn’t involve any shooting pains in Kershaw’s leg, for instance, as Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times notes (Twitter links).  More information will be known tomorrow when Kershaw is examined by the Dodgers’ team doctor.

Given Kershaw’s past history with back problems, one can’t fault the team for being as careful as possible with their superstar left-hander, even if this DL stint ends up ultimately being precautionary in nature.  With the best record in baseball and a 10.5-game lead in the NL West, the Dodgers can afford to give Kershaw perhaps even more time than required to fully heal up.

This being said, another DL placement due to a back problem is an ominous sign for both the team and the player.  Despite that large lead, the Dodgers obviously need Kershaw to make a World Series run, and an extended absence for their ace could have a big impact on the team’s deadline plans.  L.A. has mostly been linked to bullpen upgrades on the rumor mill, though the team has been exploring all options, including checking in on starters like Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander.

The Dodgers have enjoyed great success from their rotation and team as a whole despite a staggering number of injuries.  As’s Ken Gurnick tweets, Kershaw would be the 24th different player the Dodgers have placed on the disabled list this season.  That list includes all five members of their current rotation (Kershaw, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Brandon McCarthy, who is about to begin another DL stint), as well as Scott Kazmir and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who also currently sidelined.  If L.A. was looking at rotation help even before Kershaw’s injury, the search will only intensify, possibly even towards a headline name like Darvish.

Kershaw is enjoying yet another tremendous season, with a 2.04 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 1.53 BB/9 and 47.4% grounder rate over 141 1/3 innings.  One minor wrinkle is that Kershaw’s 15.7% home run rate is over twice his career average, plus he is getting more BABIP (.251) and strand rate (90.2%) luck than usual, which is why his ERA predictors (2.94 FIP, 2.73 xFIP) are significantly above his real-world ERA.  Of course, these numbers are still pretty outstanding, which says something about Kershaw’s body of work that 2017 could technically be considered something of “a down year” by his standards.

Zack Burdi To Have Tommy John Surgery Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:01:00 +0000 July 24: Burdi will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery, Hayes tweets. The operation will be performed this week and figures to sideline the hard-throwing righty for the majority of the 2018 campaign.

July 14: White Sox pitching prospect Zack Burdi is believed to have suffered a UCL tear that will require Tommy John surgery, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago first reported on Twitter. While he’ll first receive a second opinion, indications are that he’ll join his brother — Twins prospect Nick Burdi — in the lengthy TJ recovery process.

The younger Burdi landed with the White Sox organization after following his brother in posting a stellar run with the University of Louisville. Chicago grabbed Burdi with the 26th overall pick in last year’s draft — quite a steep position for a relief pitcher.

At the time, prospect watchers believed that Burdi could move quickly toward the majors. His triple-digit heater, quality slider, and serviceable change give him the arsenal of a closer; surely, the South Siders used that lofty pick in expectation that he’d become an elite pen arm.

Burdi sprinted through the Sox’ system last year, reaching Triple-A in his first professional season. The expectation heading into 2017 was that he’d finish off his preparation and potentially get his first taste of the big leagues at some point later in the current season.

Even before the injury, though, there was perhaps some cause to pump the brakes on Burdi’s rise. He has allowed fifteen earned runs on thirty hits and seventeen walks through his 33 1/3 innings at Charlotte this year, though he has also racked up 51 strikeouts.

Still, the plan obviously was for Burdi to begin making an MLB impact sooner than later. While the rebuilding White Sox can deal with some delay, a major injury to a significant prospect obviously constitutes disappointing news. If he does indeed require a new UCL, the 22-year-old will likely miss the entire 2018 season — though perhaps an Arizona Fall League assignment next year could be possible.

Pitching Rumors: Gray, Verlander, Darvish, Dodgers, Straily Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:58:12 +0000 With the non-waiver deadline a week from today, here’s a look at some of the talk pertaining to the top names available on the pitching market…

  •’s Mark Feinsand writes that the Mariners could be considering a run at Sonny Gray. Though intradivision trades are rare, GM Jerry Dipoto has already made multiple trades within the division (including the Danny Valencia trade with Gray’s Athletics), Feinsand observes. (Additionally, A’s president Billy Beane has also dealt with division rivals more frequently than most presidents/GMs). One obstacle, of course, would be the Mariners’ farm system. Seattle has already dealt Tyler O’Neill to the Cardinals for Marco Gonzales, and the M’s acquired David Phelps for a four-prospect package headlined by well-regarded young outfielder Brayan Hernandez as well. Feinsand notes that Gray would very likely require the Mariners to part with top prospect Kyle Lewis, though there’d need to be additional prospects in any package, and it’s not clear if Seattle could cobble together a bid that would top the rest of the field.
  • The Tigers are “aggressively shopping” Justin Verlander, Feinsand hears, but Detroit also “doesn’t appear willing to eat much” of Verlander’s remaining contract to facilitate a deal. Feinsand spoke to one American League GM that termed most of the talks regarding Verlander as “idle conversation,” though that GM also predicted that the former Cy Young winner will be moved by next Monday’s deadline.
  • The Dodgers were interested in Rangers ace Yu Darvish even before Clayton Kershaw’s back injury, writes Jon Morosi of The timetable for Kershaw’s return, once determined, will further impact their level of interest in Darvish and other arms on the market. Morosi hears that among Dodgers’ top prospects, the team is most attached to right-hander Walker Buehler, who has already ascended to Triple-A and could conceivably help the club in 2017. Texas, meanwhile, would likely target two of the Dodgers’ top four prospects (Buehler, Yadier Alvarez, Alex Verdugo and Willie Calhoun), per Morosi, which is a steep but largely unsurprising ask with the Rangers seemingly on the fence about whether to move Darvish at all.
  • The Marlins are missing an important opportunity to try to convince a team to overpay for right-hander Dan Straily, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Teams like the Cubs, Twins, Brewers and Mariners are all on the hunt for controllable arms, and Straily is controlled through 2020 with very solid numbers dating back to Opening Day 2016. The paucity of quality arms available could allow the Fish to accelerate their rebuild by cashing in on Straily, but the Marlins are instead shopping only their relievers and “perhaps Dee Gordon,” according to Sherman.
NL Central Rumors: Kinsler, Cardinals, McCutchen, Herrera Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:17:34 +0000 The Brewers were connected to Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler over the weekend, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick adds some more context. Per Crasnick, while the two sides have discussed Kinsler, those talks were more about Detroit trying to package Kinsler with left-hander Justin Wilson in a deal. The Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” Crasnick writes, but their primary focus at this point is on improving the rotation and/or bullpen. Milwaukee is actively exploring trades for help in both areas, according to Crasnick.

  • Stephen Piscotty’s groin injury, originally hoped to require only a minimal 10-day stay on the disabled list, will now keep the outfielder sidelined for a longer period of time, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals will reevaluate Piscotty on their upcoming homestand in search of a new timetable for his return to the field. It’s been a disappointing season for Piscotty, who has slashed just .236/.348/.371 in the first season of a six-year, $33.5MM contract extension.
  • Goold also notes that Cardinals righty Lance Lynn has been the “topic of ongoing discussions with other teams” and points out that both Lynn and minor league right-hander Luke Weaver are lined up to start on Tuesday of this week. While there have been no indications that a deal involving Lynn is especially close to fruition, Weaver would be able to step into his spot on usual rest if the Cards do line up a Lynn trade in short order.
  • The Pirates are leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but they’ve also yet to give him a definite indication that they plan to pick up his $14.5MM club option. That seems like all but a formality at this juncture, given McCutchen’s resurgence at the plate over the past couple of months. The 30-year-old’s .292/.384/.507 batting line places him among the game’s most productive center fielders, even if his glovework in the outfield is still drawing poor marks from defensive metrics.
  • The Reds may not get a look at Dilson Herrera in 2017, as Triple-A manager Delino DeShields recently told Redleg Nation’s Jason Linden“from what I’ve been told, he’s probably done for the year” due to a shoulder injury. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that no one in the Cincinnati front office has offered such a definitive take just yet, though he reports that team doctors are set to evaluate Herrera in Cincinnati this week. Acquired in last year’s Jay Bruce trade, the 23-year-old Herrera hit .264/.312/.397 in 265 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Herrera also battled shoulder issues in 2016 and spent most of this past Spring Training as a DH due to his shoulder.
Trade Rumors: Dodgers, Luhnow, Astros, Pirates, Melky Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:03:41 +0000 The Dodgers were reported to be interested in Yu Darvish even before today’s news broke that Clayton Kershaw is very likely headed to the disabled list.  Regardless of whether Kershaw’s injury proves to be serious or not, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times argues that the Dodgers should still acquire Darvish or a similar front-of-the-rotation starter.  With the team having a legitimate chance at a World Series title, Hernandez feels the time has come for the Dodgers front office to make a bold trade of valued prospects to add an ace that could at least help lessen the postseason load on Kershaw or (worst case scenario) replace Kershaw entirely if his back problems are serious.

Here’s some more trade chatter from around the league…

  • In an interview with Astros Radio (hat tip to’s Christian Boutwell), GM Jeff Luhnow said that his team’s deadline plans have changed thanks to Collin McHugh returning from the DL and Dallas Keuchel also expected to soon get back in action.  “We were thinking we may have [to] go out and get a depth starter — a fourth, fifth starter guy to help us get through the season,” Luhnow said.  “That’s no longer the case.  If anything, we’ve going to have to put guys in the bullpen.”  Of course, Houston has been linked to bigger names than just back-of-the-rotation types, as names like Sonny Gray, Jaime Garcia and Justin Verlander have been mentioned in connection with the Astros’ trade talks.  Luhnow added that the ’Stros are still open to pursuing other options that may help them in the postseason, which could hint at pouncing on a bigger name if a good deal becomes available.
  • In his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan (hat tip to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that the team will keep an eye on the outfield trade market with Gregory Polanco on the DL and Starling Marte ineligible for postseason play.  Huntington said that asking prices for outfielders in May and June were too high, and the Bucs still won’t “overpay” for a player that may not be much of an upgrade over their internal options, plus the GM is hopeful that Polanco won’t miss much time recovering from his strained hamstring.
  • While the White Sox are continuing to trade veterans, Melky Cabrera is hoping to remain with the team,’s Scott Merkin writes.  “I like this team and I would like to stay here for a long time, not just until the end of the season. But I don’t have control of those decisions,” Cabrera said via a translator.  Cabrera wasn’t garnering much trade interest as of a month ago, though the veteran has continued to post solid numbers at the plate.  Cabrera is owed approximately $5.2M in salary for the remainder of the season before hitting free agency this winter.
AL East Notes: Devers, Cozart, Blue Jays, Ellsbury Mon, 24 Jul 2017 04:13:11 +0000 It isn’t unusual for the Red Sox to bring a 20-year-old prospect into the heat of a pennant race, as club promoted Xander Bogaerts in 2013 and Yoan Moncada just last season.  As’s Rob Bradford points out, however, he difference between those callups and today’s news about Boston’s promotion of Rafael Devers is that Bogaerts and Moncada were being counted on just as supporting pieces to an already-strong roster.  In Devers’ case, he is coming into a Red Sox lineup that has struggled with consistency all season and has been thoroughly lacking at third base.  It’s quite a bit of pressure for such a young player, and Bradford feels that the multiple slumping regulars in the Sox lineup need pick things up, regardless of how Devers performs.

Here’s more from around the AL East…

  • The Red Sox have been scouting Reds shortstop Zack Cozart,’s Evan Drellich reports (via Twitter), though with the caveat that teams around the league are doing their due diligence on many options at this time of year.  MLBTR’s Jeff Todd cited Cozart as a possible creative choice for Boston’s third base problem last month, and obviously the Sox will continue to explore possibilities until they get a sense of what Devers can do in the bigs.  Cozart has been on fire at the plate this year, though as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, the shortstop is still being careful about re-aggravating the right quad injury that led to a brief DL stint in June.
  • The Blue Jays front office “is split on whether the team should be broken up and traded away,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  Team president Mark Shapiro suggested earlier this month that the Jays could explore both buying and selling at the deadline, and more recent reports had the team open to trading pending free agents while preferring to keep players that could help Toronto compete in 2018.  Given how several Jays key veterans are either experiencing off-years or could be in decline, it isn’t surprising that there are questions as to whether the Jays can reasonably count on these players to rebound.  A big sell-off at the deadline would help replenish the farm system, though with some good controllable talent and one more year of Josh Donaldson under contract, one can also make a case that the Jays should make another push next year.
  • With Jacoby Ellsbury looking like an expendable part on the Yankees roster, ESPN’s Buster Olney (subscription required) looks at some of the potential large contracts New York could take on as a way of facilitating a trade for the outfielder, who is owed roughly $75MM between now and the end of the 2020 season.  Olney’s names (all speculative) range from other unfavorable contracts like Jordan Zimmermann to more valuable assets like Giancarlo Stanton, though obviously much more than just Ellsbury would need to be included in a Stanton trade.  Ellsbury has full control over his future via a no-trade clause, though Olney wonders if the outfielder would accept a deal to a team that could offer more playing time if Ellsbury becomes the odd man out in the Yankee outfield.
Neil Ramirez Elects Free Agency Mon, 24 Jul 2017 03:52:22 +0000 TODAY: Ramirez cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent,’s Anthony DiComo tweets.

THURSDAY: The Mets announced that they’ve activated left-hander Josh Smoker from the disabled list and designated right-hander Neil Ramirez for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster.

The 28-year-old Ramirez has bounced between the Giants, Blue Jays and Mets organizations this year, though the majority of his season has been spent in Queens. In 21 innings with the Mets, he’s struggled to a 6.43 ERA with an impressive 26 strikeouts but also a troubling 17 walks. Overall, Ramirez has a 7.18 ERA with 12.6 K/9 against 6.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings between the Giants and Mets this year.

Dodgers Place Brandon McCarthy On 10-Day DL; Activate Hyun-Jin Ryu Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:54:25 +0000 The Dodgers have placed right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the 10-day disabled list due to a blister problem, the team announced.  In a corresponding move, Hyun-Jin Ryu will be activated from the DL in time to start Monday night’s game.  Kenta Maeda will take McCarthy’s place in the rotation on Tuesday night against the Twins.

McCarthy has long battled injury problems throughout his career and this season has been on different.  This is the right-hander’s third DL stint this season, all with different issues — McCarthy’s previous DL placements were due to shoulder soreness and right knee tendonitis.  This finger blister took McCarthy out of a start last month and has apparently been bothering him since Spring Training, the righty told’s Ken Gurnick and other media, though he threw a 40-pitch bullpen session today and wanted to pitch on Tuesday.

When McCarthy has been able to pitch this season, the 34-year-old has posted some strong results, notching a 3.84 ERA and 2.64 K/9 rate over 86 2/3 innings.  While McCarthy’s 6.9 K/9 indicates that he isn’t missing many bats, he also isn’t allowing batters to do much damage when they do put wood on the ball, with just a 28% hard-hit ball rate and a 5.7% home run rate.

The Dodgers rotation has been a revolving door of injury situations this season, with Ryu, Maeda, Rich Hill, Alex Wood and (as of today) ace Clayton Kershaw all missing time to the disabled list.  Ryu, for instance, is returning from a left foot contusion and also had a DL stint earlier this year due to left hip contusion.  (Not to mention the fact that Ryu missed almost all of 2015-16 recovering from shoulder injuries.)  Despite all the health problems, however, Los Angeles leads all of baseball in starting pitcher ERA (3.33) and fWAR (12.1) thanks to superlative work from Kershaw and Wood, plus good-to-solid contributions from everyone else.  Given all of the injuries and with Kershaw now possibly out of action, however, the Dodgers have been looking at adding starting pitching at the trade deadline.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/23/17 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:10:19 +0000 Here are the latest minor moves from around baseball, with the newest transactions at the top of the post…

  • Rangers infielder Pete Kozma cleared waivers and has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake tweets.  Kozma was designated for assignment on Thursday.  The veteran has appeared in 39 games with the Rangers and Yankees this season, filling in at all four infield positions and hitting .111/.200/.178 in 51 plate appearances.
  • The Nationals announced some roster moves prior to today’s game, including selecting the contract of outfielder Andrew Stevenson and calling up catcher Pedro Severino.  In corresponding moves, Jayson Werth was shifted to the 60-day DL, Ryan Raburn went on the bereavement list and Chris Heisey was placed on the 10-day DL with a left groin strain.  Stevenson, a second-round pick out of LSU in the 2015 draft, is getting his first taste of big league action after hitting .280/.335/.366 over 1216 career PA in the minors.  Most of that success, however, came at the lower rungs of Washington’s farm system; Stevenson has posted only a .612 OPS over 306 PA at the Triple-A level.  Stevenson will serve as a backup in left, center and right field, and he should get a decent amount of playing time with the Nats short-handed in the outfield.
  • The Yankees outrighted first baseman Ji-Man Choi to Triple-A, the team announced prior to today’s game.  Choi signed a minor league deal with New York last winter and collected on that contract’s $700K guaranteed salary when he was promoted to the Yankees’ roster earlier this month.  He made a strong impression during his short time in the Bronx, posting a 1.067 OPS over 18 plate appearances.  Choi will continue to provide the Yankees with first base depth in the minors.
NL East Notes: Strasburg, Rizzo, Hill, Marlins, Neshek Mon, 24 Jul 2017 01:16:11 +0000 Stephen Strasburg left today’s game between the Nationals and Diamondbacks after just two innings.  Manager Dusty Baker told’s Jamal Collier (Twitter links) and other reporters that the star right-hander was removed as a precautionary measure after Strasburg couldn’t get loose.  No tests are scheduled for Strasburg when the team returns to Washington, though he will be examined by team doctors.  “An achy forearm [and] general tightness” is how Strasburg described his injury to the media (including Collier), and the righty said that he preferred to leave the game when he did before the problem turned into something serious.

Here’s more from around the division…

  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo isn’t planning to look for outfield help before the trade deadline, Rizzo told media (including’s Mark Zuckerman).  Jayson Werth, Michael Taylor and Chris Heisey are all on the DL, and Ryan Raburn is on bereavement leave, putting the Nats in a tight spot for outfield depth.  Still, Rizzo believes the club has enough depth to hold up without any external additions.  “I think we have confidence in the guys we have, and as long as the core of our lineup is healthy and hitting on all cylinders, I think we can make it through until Jayson and Michael get better.  I don’t see that being too far of a distance,” Rizzo said.
  • Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill stated two weeks ago that his team wasn’t looking to move any core names like Giancarlo Stanton, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Justin Bour and Dan Straily at the deadline, and Hill reiterated that stance today.  “It’s not stopping calls from coming in,” Hill tells Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.  “It’s been fairly consistent, with people checking in to see where we’re at to see if we may be open to expanding the players we’re talking about. But we haven’t put any of those guys in play.”  Hill did note that the team is open to discussing its relievers in trade talks, as evidenced by their trade of David Phelps to the Mariners earlier this week and the significant buzz around closer A.J. Ramos.
  • In an open letter to Jeffrey Loria, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (via his Facebook page) asks the Marlins owner to “free Giancarlo Stanton” by trading him before the team is sold.  Such a trade, Rosenthal reasons, would help all parties involved — the Marlins would get some quality prospects, the new owners would get Stanton’s enormous contract off the books, Stanton himself would get to join a contender, and baseball itself would see one of its biggest young stars in a most positive environment.
  • The Cubs and Dodgers recently had scouts watching the PhilliesPat Neshek in action,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link).  Both teams have been known to be looking at other relievers, so it isn’t any surprise that Neshek is on their radar.  Neshek, widely expected to be moved before the deadline, has been linked to several teams — Chicago and L.A. are the newest names on a long list that includes the Nationals, Royals, Red Sox, Yankees, Brewers and Rays.
Twins Designate Craig Breslow For Assignment Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:13:41 +0000 The Twins have designated veteran left-hander Craig Breslow for assignment, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (Twitter link).

Breslow signed a minor league deal with Minnesota last winter that ended up paying him $1.25MM in guaranteed money when he broke camp with the team after Spring Training.  After getting off to a good start in his first 21 outings, Breslow struggled in June and then spent much of July on the DL with a rib injury.  Overall, Breslow has a 5.34 ERA, 5.3 K/9, 1.64 K/BB rate over 30 1/3 IP for the Twins.

Twins manager Paul Molitor told Berardino and other reporters that Breslow (who turns 37 on August 8) intends to continue his career.  Despite the lackluster overall numbers, there is still evidence that Breslow has something left in the tank — he held left-handed hitters to just a .176/.262/.235 slash line this season.  Since right-handed batters (.992 OPS) were responsible for much of the damage against Breslow this season, he could still provide value to another team in a strict specialist role.  With several teams looking for bullpen help, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Breslow get some calls should he hit the open market, or perhaps even a club could work out a minor trade to acquire Breslow from Minnesota during the DFA period.

Red Sox To Promote Rafael Devers Sun, 23 Jul 2017 22:13:05 +0000 The Red Sox will promote third base prospect Rafael Devers, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato (Twitter link) and other reporters.  Devers will join the team in Seattle tomorrow and make his Major League debut on Tuesday when the Red Sox face the Mariners (hat tip to’s Jen McCaffrey).

[Updated Red Sox depth chart at Roster Resource]

Rumors have swirled for weeks about Devers’ eventual call to the big leagues, especially since Boston’s struggles at third base made it more obvious that it was a matter of “when” and not “if” the 20-year-old would get his first taste of the Show this season.  Devers has helped his cause by posting big numbers in the minors this season, though somewhat curiously, he has only spent little over a week at the Triple-A level after spending much of the year at Double-A.

Rafael Devers

It could be that the Sox simply wanted to get Devers one final bit of seasoning before adding him to their 25-man roster, as Devers posted a .992 OPS in his 34-plate appearance stint for Triple-A Pawtucket.  Overall this season, Devers has a .305/.373/.575 slash line and 20 homers over 354 PA at the two minor league levels.

[MLBTR’s Red Sox News & Rumors page on Facebook]

Devers has been staple of top-100 prospects lists for the last three seasons, including high finishes in Baseball Prospectus’ midseason top-50 ranking (fifth overall) and Baseball America’s top-100 list (sixth overall). listed Devers as the best prospect in Boston’s system and the best overall third baseman prospect in the sport, praising “his prodigious power to all fields” while also noting his improvement as a well-rounded hitter.

There is some question as to whether Devers can handle third base over the long term, though for now, the Red Sox will happily take whatever possibly upgrade they can find at the position.  Red Sox third basemen have combined for a garish .224/.284/.307 slash line and -0.7 fWAR this season, making the hot corner a notable weak link in an otherwise solid Boston lineup.  Pablo Sandoval again failed to live up to expectations for the Sox, and alternatives like Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez and Josh Rutledge were plagued by injury or underperformance.

The left-handed hitting Devers will be the starter against right-handed pitching for now, so he’ll get a little under a week to show the Sox what he can do prior to the trade deadline.  The Red Sox have been linked to a wide range of third base options in trade rumors, so if Devers hits well even in a small sample size, it may convince Dombrowski and company that the team only needs to acquire a part-time infielder, or even stick with their in-house backups.  If Devers looks overmatched at the big league level, however, the Sox will likely continue looking for a third baseman that can play every day.

Photo courtesy of Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports Images

Mariners To Sign Danny Espinosa Sun, 23 Jul 2017 22:04:49 +0000 The Mariners have agreed to a Major League deal with infielder Danny Espinosa, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports (Twitter links).

[Updated Mariners depth chart at Roster Resource]

Espinosa was released earlier this week by the Angels, ending a brief and very disappointing stint for the 30-year-old in Los Angeles.  Espinosa hit just .162/.237/.276 over 254 plate appearances for the Halos, posting the lowest wRC+ (40) of any hitter in baseball with at least 250 PA.

Espinosa also posted below-average hitting numbers last season, albeit with some pop, hitting 24 homers for the Nationals.  If he can regain even his modest from last year, he can help a Mariners team that was known to in the market for infield depth, including some recent interest in the Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera.  Espinosa has flashed some good glovework at both second base and shortstop over his career and he has some brief (109 1/3 innings) experience at third base as well, so he could supplant struggling rookie Taylor Motter as Seattle’s chief utility infielder.

Blue Jays Acquire Nick Tepesch Sun, 23 Jul 2017 21:55:57 +0000 The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander Nick Tepesch from the Twins for cash considerations, reports Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link).

This is the second trade of the day for the Blue Jays, who picked up utilityman Rob Refsnyder from the Yankees earlier this afternoon. Like Refsnyder, Tepesch should only be a minor contributor for the Blue Jays – if he contributes anything, that is. Tepesch made one start this season in Minnesota, on May 6, and yielded seven runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks over 1 2/3 innings. The Twins released the 28-year-old a month later, but he quickly re-upped on a minor league contract. Tepesch logged 29 innings with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate this year and recorded a 5.59 ERA, 8.38 K/9 and 2.79 BB/9.

At one point in his career, Tepesch was a passable back-end starter in Texas, where he posted a 4.56 ERA, 5.42 K/9, 2.92 BB/9 and a 43.9 percent ground-ball rate across 219 frames (39 starts, 42 appearances) from 2013-14. Tepesch hasn’t been nearly that effective since, though, so it’s doubtful he’ll do much at the major league level with his new organization.

Trade Market For Outfielders Sun, 23 Jul 2017 21:41:55 +0000 As evidenced by the light return the Tigers received from the Diamondbacks this week for J.D. Martinez, one of the majors’ premier hitters, this is not an ideal time to sell outfielders. It might not be the best time to buy, either, with Andrew McCutchen having played so well that he’s no longer available and Marlins president Michael Hill announcing Sunday (via Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald) that he won’t give up Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna or Giancarlo Stanton this season. Also, the Orioles’ disinclination toward trading veterans could remove Seth Smith and Hyun Soo Kim from consideration (though neither would make for a particularly appealing trade chip anyway). Nevertheless, with the July 31 trade deadline looming, some outfielders will certainly switch uniforms in the coming days. Candidates include…


Jay Bruce, Mets | Salary: $13MM

Bruce is having a nice year offensively (.263/.327/.528, 25 home runs in 391 plate appearances) and leaving his past woes in the field behind (four defensive runs saved, 1.0 Ultimate Zone Rating). However, despite his quality all-around production, the Martinez trade indicates the Mets won’t get a lot back for Bruce if they do sell him.

Curtis Granderson, Mets | Salary: $15MM

Most of the Bruce assessment applies to Granderson, who’s even less valuable because he’s more expensive, six years older (36 to 30) and not making the same type of impact this season. Granderson’s certainly not useless, though, as he’s in the midst of an OK year at the plate (.223/.323/.453 with 13 HRs in 319 PAs) and in the grass (minus-one DRS, 0.4 UZR). He’s also a highly regarded clubhouse presence, if that matters.

Howie Kendrick, Phillies | Salary: $10MM

Barring a third trip to the disabled list before the deadline, the versatile Kendrick looks like a lock to join a new team by month’s end, whether it’s to play the outfield, second base or third base. The 34-year-old’s unsustainable .431 batting average on balls in play suggests he won’t continue his torrid pace past the deadline (.346/.397/.466 in 146 PAs), but Kendrick has a history of providing respectable offense and figures to help some contender over the season’s final couple months.

Melky Cabrera, White Sox | Salary: $15MM

Cabrera, 31, doesn’t want to leave the White Sox (per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune), but they’re not shy about trading veterans these days. The question is: Will anyone want Cabrera? He’s not valuable as either a defender or baserunner, nor has he set the world on fire offensively this year with his .296/.340/.446 line in 400 PAs. All that considered, Chicago would have to eat most or all of Cabrera’s salary to get anything of worth back in a deal.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays | Salary: $18.5MM

The 36-year-old Bautista offers a similar game to the one Cabrera brings at this stage, but the former is even pricier. That doesn’t bode well for the Blue Jays’ chances of moving the franchise icon. Once among the majors’ foremost players, Bautista’s descent began in earnest last season, and his decline has been even sharper this year. With his once-pristine strikeout and walk numbers trending in the wrong direction, not to mention notable steps backward in the power department, Bautista has logged a meager .224/.335/.398 line in 424 PAs.

Carlos Gomez, Rangers | Salary: $11.5MM

The Rangers aren’t sure whether they’ll sell, and Gomez’s name hasn’t even come up in trade rumors this summer. Including Gomez here is merely speculative in nature, then, though parting with the 31-year-old might make sense if the Rangers don’t expect to re-sign him. Gomez has seemingly found a home with the Rangers, however, after a brutal stretch with the state rival Astros from late 2015 until last August. The former star hasn’t been as good as he was down the stretch with the Rangers in 2016, but he has turned in quality offensive production (.248/.330/.459 with 12 homers in 281 trips to the plate) and done decent work in center field (two DRS, neutral UZR).

Cameron Maybin, Angels | Salary: $9MM

As someone who’s capable of lining up at all three outfield spots and pitching in offensively (.238/.342/.368 with 25 stolen bases in 322 PAs), Maybin carries some appeal. However, it’s up in the air whether the Angels plan to sell – they’re three games below .500, but they stayed afloat during a lengthy Mike Trout absence and are a manageable 3.5 games out of a wild-card spot. Even if the Halos were to wave the white flag on this season in the next eight days, Maybin’s probably not going to be healthy enough to end up on the move, having suffered an MCL sprain this week that should keep him out until August. If Maybin returns sometime next month, perhaps the Angels will attempt to deal the 30-year-old after they send him through trade waivers.

Ben Revere, Angels | Salary: $4MM

The once-solid Revere is amid a disastrous two-year stretch in which he has hit .223/.259/.302 in 562 PAs and, per FanGraphs, been the majors’ least valuable outfielder (minus-2.2 fWAR). Revere’s performance indicates he’s more of a release candidate than a trade possibility.

Rajai Davis, Athletics | Salary: $6MM

Davis is an incredible baserunner who’s only a year removed from a fine season in Cleveland, where he hit this playoff home run, but an offensive decline has torpedoed his age-36 campaign. Through 265 trips to the plate, Davis has slashed a meager .231/.292/.339. He hasn’t been particularly valuable in the field, either, having drawn a neutral DRS mark and posted a minus-4.1 UZR in 548 innings. Maybe a contender would want Davis for his brilliance on the base paths, but the A’s would surely have to eat a large portion of his remaining money.

John Jaso, Pirates | Salary: $4MM

Despite their recent charge up the standings, the Pirates plan to listen to potential offers for Jaso. Unfortunately for the Bucs, though, Jaso has seen his numbers (and likely his trade value) dip thanks to a dreadful July in which he has hit .086/.214/.171 in 42 tries. Overall, Jaso’s at .222/.309/.407 in 220 PAs, making him a pretty unappealing offensive option at his normal positions – the corner outfield and first base.

Daniel Nava, Phillies | Salary: $1.35MM

The 34-year-old Nava has bounced back from a rough couple seasons and returned to the useful form he showed in Boston from 2011-14. Between the switch-hitter’s .303/.400/.408 line in 180 PAs and his minuscule salary, the Phillies should be able to send him elsewhere.

Controlled Through 2018

Hunter Pence, Giants | Salary: $18.5MM this year and next

In the aggregate, Pence has been a terrific Giant since he joined them in 2012, the first of two World Series-winning seasons with him on the roster. He and the Giants are floundering now, though, so the club would surely jump at the chance to get Pence’s money off the books. That’s not going to happen, however, with the 34-year-old having hit a career-worst .251/.298/.351 in 315 PAs this season.

Denard Span, Giants | Salary: $9MM this year and next ($4MM buyout for 2019)

Span is another Giant whose best days are a distant memory, but unlike Pence, he hasn’t been terrible this year. After taking a step backward offensively in 2016, the normally solid hitter has come back to life this season with a .285/.332/.451 line through 316 trips to the plate. The plus defense Span displayed earlier in his career is a thing of the past, though, and he’s no longer much of a threat on the bases. Those factors, not to mention his age age (33) and fairly expensive price tag, don’t do his trade value any favors.

Steve Pearce, Blue Jays | Salary: $6.25MM this year and next

Pearce has done nothing but hit since his unexpected breakout in 2013, having posted a line that’s 26 percent better than league average over the past four-plus seasons, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric. While his .276/.332/.453 line in 187 PAs this year is an unspectacular 8 percent above the league mean, an awful season-opening month is to blame for that. Since then, Pearce has held his own at the plate. It has been a different story in left field, where Pearce has logged woeful numbers (minus-four DRS, minus-25.8 UZR/150). The infield-capable Pearce is likely better suited at first base, then. Regardless, the 34-year-old provides enough offensive punch that he looks like a plausible trade candidate. Pearce’s salary isn’t peanuts, but it shouldn’t necessarily be prohibitive.

Matt Joyce, Athletics | Salary: $5MM in 2017; $6MM in 2018

The A’s are embarking on a full rebuild, so it stands to reason they’d move Joyce if they were to receive a satisfactory offer. It would’ve been easier to net one when Joyce was with the Piartes a year ago, when he racked up nearly as many unintentional walks (59) as strikeouts (67) en route to a .403 on-base percentage. The 2017 version of Joyce is merely a passable offensive player (.225/.328/.418 in 335 PAs), which isn’t the greatest complement to his underwhelming defensive game. Still, Joyce is affordable enough through next year that he doesn’t have to do much more than he has this season to live up to his contract, so maybe a team in need of an established, inexpensive bat will have interest.

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Dodgers Have “Strong Interest” In Yu Darvish Sun, 23 Jul 2017 19:57:46 +0000 The Dodgers were among those who scouted Rangers ace Yu Darvish’s latest start, an eight-frame, 12-strikeout showing against the Rays on Friday. It turns out the Dodgers are one of multiple teams with “strong interest” in Darvish, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Talks between Los Angeles and Texas are in their preliminary stages, adds Morosi.

With a major league-best 67-31 record, the Dodgers are already something of a dream team, and adding Darvish to the fold would further increase their relatively high odds of being the last club standing at season’s end. The 30-year-old Darvish would give the Dodgers at least two bona fide aces, joining the peerless Clayton Kershaw, and there’s a legitimate case they also have another No. 1 in the lights-out Alex Wood. Los Angeles has also gotten quality pitching this year from starters Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy, though both come with durability concerns. The depth-laden team has a couple more respectable starters in Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they’ve been the weakest links in a rotation that tops the majors in ERA (3.33) and fWAR (12.1).

As an impending free agent, Darvish wouldn’t necessarily stick with the Dodgers past this season, yet this year could represent the franchise’s best chance at a championship in a while. So, between that and their top-notch farm system, the Dodgers could elect to make a bold strike and pay what will be a high price to acquire Darvish. Even though the Rangers are struggling, there’s no guarantee they’ll move Darvish, a franchise icon whom they’d like to re-sign. However, just in case, the Rangers have been scouting the Dodgers’ minor leaguers. The Rangers watched highly touted Triple-A outfielder Alex Verdugo on Friday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes (on Twitter). Verdugo is the 35th-best prospect in the game, per Baseball America, and the Dodgers aren’t eager to part with him or other acclaimed youngsters such as righties Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez.

Blue Jays Acquire Rob Refsnyder Sun, 23 Jul 2017 18:47:33 +0000 The Blue Jays have acquired infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder from the AL East rival Yankees for first baseman Ryan McBroom, according to an announcement from New York.

The 26-year-old Refsnyder had been in limbo since the Yankees designated him for assignment on Wednesday, which came after a disappointing tenure in pinstripes. Refsnyder, whom New York chose in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, collected 262 major league plate appearances with the franchise and batted just .241/.312/.332. On the plus side, Refsnyder garnered big league experience at first, second and in the corner outfield with the Yankees, and he slashed a solid .292/.372/.424 in 1,244 PAs as a member of their Triple-A affiliate. Refsnyder also comes with a minor league option, so the Blue Jays could use him as depth in Toronto or stash him in Triple-A.

McBroom, meanwhile, won’t help solve the Yankees’ issues at first base this year. The 25-year-old hasn’t ascended past Double-A since the Jays took him in the 15th round of the 2014 draft, and his numbers at that level this season aren’t exactly eye-popping. Across 392 PAs, McBroom has batted a less-than-stellar .243/.321/.402. If McBroom carves out a major league future, it’ll likely be as a platoon player, according to, which ranked him as the 30th-best prospect in Toronto’s system.

Latest On Yankees’ Search For Starting Pitching Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:58:47 +0000 The Yankees had a scout on hand to watch Rangers ace Yu Darvish’s eight-inning, 12-strikeout performance in Tampa Bay on Friday, leading to speculation that the Bombers have interest in the right-hander. That is indeed the case, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman, who reports that the Yankees have reached out to the Rangers about Darvish. They’ve also been in contact with the Athletics regarding righty Sonny Gray and the Braves concerning southpaw Jaime Garcia.

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The connection to Gray isn’t anything new, as Heyman reported earlier this week that the Athletics have “named their price” for the 27-year-old in discussions with New York. The A’s want “top guys” in exchange for Gray, while the same applies to the Rangers if they’re going to trade Darvish, writes Heyman. Darvish is only a rental, whereas Gray’s controllable through 2019, but the former’s track record suggests he’d make the greater impact down the stretch. His presence would obviously benefit the Yankees, who hold a wild-card spot in the American League, but they’re not eager to part with the best prospects in their well-regarded system, relays Heyman, who suggests that outfielder Clint Frazier, infielder Gleyber Torres and lefty Justus Sheffield aren’t going anywhere. The Yankees “probably” won’t move righty James Kaprielian, either, tweets Heyman. It’s an open question, then, whether they’d be able to put together an appealing enough offer for the coveted Darvish.

While Garcia would undoubtedly bring back the worst return among this trio, he’s nonetheless garnering plenty of interest. The 31-year-old impending free agent wouldn’t provide the Yankees with another front-of-the-rotation presence to complement No. 1 starter Luis Severino. However, Garcia would help make up for the loss of Michael Pineda, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery earlier this month, and give the team a credible back-end option to slot in behind Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery.

Latest On Jaime Garcia Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:41:53 +0000 SUNDAY, 12:41pm: Add the Brewers to the list of teams interested in Garcia, per Crasnick (Twitter link).

10:34am: Minnesota and Atlanta continue to discuss Garcia, but the Twins are also focusing on starters from other teams, Wolfson indicates (on Twitter).

SATURDAY, 1:32pm: Righty Nick Burdi was involved in the deal, Rosenthal tweets. Burdi had Tommy John surgery in late May and will be out until next season. The Braves already obviously would have been aware of that, and they haven’t shied away from acquiring injured pitchers in the past (such as Max Fried, who they got when they traded Justin Upton to the Padres in the 2014-15 offseason). So perhaps the player whose medicals they took issue with was someone else. It’s still possible, though, that they saw less than they hoped for in Burdi’s medical reports. The 24-year-old Burdi had an 0.53 ERA, 10.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 17 relief innings with Double-A Chattanooga before the injury.

11:30am: Talks between the Braves and Twins came to an impasse due to a medical issue the Braves had with a prospect they would have received from the Twins, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. The two sides are currently considering other options, though they could return to the table at some point.

FRIDAY 8:34pm: All indications are that Garcia will take the ball for Atlanta tonight. The front office is in contact with a half-dozen organizations regarding the lefty at present, Feinsand tweets.

3:04pm: It is still possible that the Twins will acquire Garcia, though’s Mark Bowman reports that such a trade is “not probable.”

2:35pm: Garcia will make his scheduled start for the Braves tonight against the Dodgers, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets.  Talks are still ongoing between the Braves and other teams about Garcia’s services,’s Jerry Crasnick reports, so a late deal could still happen.  Aaron Blair was scratched from a minor league start yesterday and is in Los Angeles to make a spot outing should Garcia be scratched at the last minute.

9:32am: Teams besides the Twins are still talking to the Braves about Garcia,’s Mark Feinsand reports (via Twitter).  It isn’t known who the other clubs in the mix are, though earlier today,’s Mark Bowman tweeted that the Astros and Royals were two of the the teams that had previously shown interest in Garcia.  Kansas City, however, now appears to be more focused on acquiring a right-handed starter.

TODAY, 7:14am: No deal has been finalized between the two sides as of this morning,’s Mark Bowman reports.

THURSDAY, 8:24pm: Minnesota is “very likely” to take over all of Garcia’s remaining salary (about $4.7MM), per 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (via Twitter).

7:42pm: For what it’s worth, Garcia is still in a Braves’ uniform tonight, Kevin McAlpin of the Braves Radio Network tweets. Of course, that doesn’t mean the deal isn’t nearing completion; he isn’t scheduled to start until tomorrow.

6:44pm: It’s possible the Twins will be receiving an additional player in the deal, per LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune (via Twitter), though it seems that’d likely be a lower-level player of some kind.

6:12pm: It seems the swap is done except for the formalities. It’s being finalized right now, tweets Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, while’s Rhett Bollinger adds on Twitter that the sides are currently waiting on medical assessments. Atlanta will be receiving a minor-league player in return, he adds.

5:51pm: Minnesota is closing in on a deal for Garcia, Rosenthal tweets.

5:46pm: Amidst ongoing rumors that Braves starter Jaime Garcia may be dealt in short order, the Twins are engaged in discussions on the veteran southpaw, according to Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network (via Twitter). It’s not apparent at this point whether other teams are still involved or whether an agreement could be nearing completion.


Garcia is probably one of the better rental starters on a market that doesn’t have many of great interest (pending the availability of Yu Darvish). I’d generally concur with MLBTR’s readers, who rated him alongside Jeremy Hellickson, and behind Trevor Cahill and Marco Estrada, in a poll yesterday.

Over his 106 innings this year, Garcia has pitched to a 4.33 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 along with a healthy 54.7% groundball rate. At times, previously, he has shown a fair bit more, but that sort of output likely represents a reasonable expectation moving forward for Garcia, who the Braves acquired over the winter after a long run with the Cardinals.

Those looking for upside will note that Garcia does carry an 11.5% swinging-strike rate that is more reminiscent of his prime-level work. And it’s important to note that he has been plenty durable recently after experiencing several seasons marred by shoulder troubles.

While Garcia doesn’t necessarily excite, he should represent a sturdy option for a club that needs good innings down the stretch. That’s the case for Minnesota, which finds itself firmly in the AL Central (and AL Wild Card) hunt despite a generally underwhelming overall performance — particularly from its pitching staff.

The Twins just lost Phil Hughes back to the DL, where Hector Santiago also resides. Neither has been effective when healthy, and the same holds of Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia — whose palatable 4.22 ERA isn’t supported by the peripherals. That leaves just two reliable rotation pieces in Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. The Twins did just add former Braves hurler Bartolo Colon, though it’s anybody’s guess what he’ll provide.

While the Minnesota front office has focused more on the possibility of acquiring a controllable starter, it has acknowledged that rentals could also be pursued in the right circumstances. We’re probably not going to be inclined to spend lavishly on short-term assets,” GM Thad Levine explained recently, “but we would be very open to spending aggressively on assets that we could use to propel our team forward this year and for years to come.”

Garcia would help shore things up for the rest of the season, but he’ll head to free agency thereafter. If Levine’s statement still holds, then, it seems reasonable to anticipate that the Twins won’t be sending a big package to acquire Garcia — who, it should be noted, is earning at a hefty $12MM rate this year. Taking on some salary now, though, may be the preferred route to boosting the team’s chances at earning a surprise postseason spot, particularly if the demand for the few available top-end controllable pitchers is as great as it seems.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Olney’s Latest: Darvish, Gray, Marlins, Indians Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:16:56 +0000 There’s a belief among some rival evaluators that the Rangers will trade ace Yu Darvish by the July 31 deadline if they don’t believe they’ll be able to re-sign the impending free agent, reports Buster Olney of With Texas unsure of whether it’ll be able to retain Darvish long term, there’s at least one starter-needy team waiting to make a move until it sees whether the Rangers shop him. Consequently, the possibility of a Darvish trade is affecting the market for starters and “muddying the waters” for the AL West rival Athletics in their quest to deal Sonny Gray, writes Olney.

  • Given that the Marlins’ ownership situation is in limbo, their baseball department isn’t in proper position to weigh offers for outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, according to Olney. Moving either could make the Marlins more appealing to potential bidders because their contracts factor into the franchise’s heavy debt, though Olney notes that trading a superstar like Stanton might sabotage the rebranding effort of the next owner. And if Jeffrey Loria’s successor signs off on a Stanton trade, the team’s fan base could see it as a typical Marlins cost-cutting maneuver.
  • First baseman Carlos Santana’s down season may help explain the Indians’ interest in slugging outfielders J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce, suggests Olney. The Tribe missed out on acquiring Martinez, whom the Tigers sent to the Diamondbacks this week, but the Mets’ Bruce remains a prime trade candidate. It’s unclear whether Bruce would play first for the Indians, who have seen Santana slump to a .238/.335/.406 batting line in 397 plate appearances during a contract year. Cleveland could acquire a natural first baseman instead, with Olney pointing out that Texas’ Mike Napoli (a former Indian) and Oakland’s Yonder Alonso may end up elsewhere.
  • It’s a buyers’ market this year as the deadline approaches, so a successful return for sellers could depend more on how much salary they shed than the quality of prospects they acquire, per Olney. As an example, Olney points to the trade Miami and Seattle made this week. The Marlins received four prospects for reliever David Phelps and got rid of his $4.6MM salary in the process, but only one of those minor leaguers (outfielder Brayan Hernandez) looks particularly promising. The quantity of prospects the Marlins picked up isn’t impressing rival evaluators, as some of them believe landing four players was done to make the package look better than it actually is.
East News & Rumors: Stanton, Yanks, Red Sox, Mets Sun, 23 Jul 2017 15:27:51 +0000 Representatives from both the Yankees and Marlins told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM that New York has not inquired about Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, which conflicts with a previous report. Bowden received a text message from a Marlins executive who declared that “all the buzz is false” on a potential Stanton-Yankees union (Twitter links). Regardless of whether the Yankees have checked in on Stanton, it’s an extreme long shot that he’d end up with them.

More from these two cities and another East Coast spot:

  • The Wayne Rothbaum-Jeb Bush-Tom Glavine group bidding for the Marlins lost Tagg Romney this week, and now Dave Stewart and Al Leiter have left the faction, reports Robert Murray of FanRag. Thanks to their accomplished careers as major league pitchers, Stewart and Leiter brought name value to the table for a potential ownership team (as Glavine does), but neither would have had a large role in terms of putting up money to acquire the Marlins. So, even with Stewart and Leiter gone, Rothbaum & Co. remain in the mix to purchase the franchise, per Murray.
  • The Red Sox are continuing to explore the third base market as the trade deadline nears, leading Scott Lauber of, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald to break down their possible options. Both Lauber and Cafardo bring up Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista as an outside-the-box possibility, and while he does have 389 games of experience at third, he hasn’t played there extensively since 2011. Unsurprisingly, then, the Red Sox haven’t discussed acquiring the 36-year-old, a source told Lauber. Meanwhile, Brown urges the Red Sox to reunite with Adrian Beltre, who thrived in Boston in 2010 before signing with the Rangers in the ensuing offseason. There are roadblocks in the way, though, including whether the Rangers would even consider moving the should-be Hall of Famer and franchise icon, who’s on an $18MM salary through next season, and whether he’d waive his no-trade clause.
  • With the deadline just over a week away, Joel Sherman of the New York Post proposes several Mets trades, including one that would see them send first baseman Lucas Duda to the Yankees for a four-player package of major league-ready talent. A New York-New York swap would be a win-win in this case, Sherman argues, as the Mets would get something for an impending free agent and the Yankees would solve their first base woes for the stretch run. Further, dealing a few players would help the Yankees with the 40-man roster crunch they could face during the offseason.
Baseball Blogs Weigh In: D-backs, Yanks, Sox, Kershaw, Jays, Braves, Cards Sun, 23 Jul 2017 14:19:39 +0000 This week in baseball blogs:

Submissions: ZachBBWI

Brewers Designate Rob Scahill Sun, 23 Jul 2017 13:20:47 +0000 The Brewers have designated reliever Rob Scahill for assignment, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). His 25-man roster spot will go to right-hander Wily Peralta, who’s returning from the 10-day disabled list.

This is the second time this year that the Brewers have designated Scahill, whom they previously jettisoned from their 40-man roster on June 13. The right-hander returned to Milwaukee in early July, but he has since allowed four earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings. Nearly all of that damage came in one appearance – a loss to the Pirates last Sunday in which he yielded three earned runs without recording an out – though Scahill’s overall numbers still don’t inspire confidence. Across 22 1/3 innings, the 30-year-old has cancelled out a terrific ground-ball rate (54.1 percent) with subpar strikeout and walk marks (4.03 per nine for both), helping lead to a 4.43 ERA/5.75 FIP.

To his credit, Scahill isn’t far removed from successfully preventing runs at the major league level. As a member of the Pirates from 2015-16, he pitched to a 3.26 ERA over 47 innings. Pittsburgh designated Scahill last July, though, and he ended up with the Brewers as a waiver claim. That worked out well initially for both Milwaukee and Scahill, who posted a 2.45 ERA with 14 strikeouts and three walks in 18 1/3 frames as a Brewer in 2016.

Quick Hits: Stanton, Yankees, Rays, Tribe, Cubs Sun, 23 Jul 2017 03:58:30 +0000 The Yankees have contacted the Marlins about right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag. Don’t go penciling Stanton and Aaron Judge into the same lineup yet, though, as it seems this was just a case of due diligence on the Yankees’ part. They called the Marlins about Stanton “weeks ago” and haven’t picked up talks since, per Heyman, who reported Friday that the Fish probably won’t seriously market the slugger this summer. As has been pointed out on many occasions, the $295MM left on Stanton’s contract after this season, an opt-out at the conclusion of the 2020 campaign and his ability to block a trade to the majors’ other 29 teams are all notable impediments in the way of a potential deal anywhere.

More from around the majors:

  • The Rays are seeking an “impact reliever” and perhaps some offensive help leading up to the trade deadline, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The club did add to its bullpen when it acquired Sergio Romo from the Dodgers on Saturday, but the 2017 version of the ex-Giants closer doesn’t inspire much confidence. As such, he won’t be their last relief addition, tweets FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The Rays will take a “responsible” approach to the deadline, writes Topkin, but a willingness to add salary and deal “good” prospects still exists. They’re also not ruling out trading someone from their major league roster, suggests Topkin.
  • Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall are “still weeks away, not days,” manager Terry Francona told reporters Friday (via Kipnis has been on the disabled list for most of this month with a hamstring issue, while a calf injury has kept Chisenhall out for a week. Team president Chris Antonetti admitted last weekend that not having the pair has “complicated” the Indians’ approach to the deadline, and the club has since come up as a potential suitor for a couple second basecapable players – the Giants’ Eduardo Nunez and former Indian Asdrubal Cabrera – as well as outfielder Jay Bruce.
  • Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks, out for almost two months with a hand injury, will rejoin their rotation Monday against the White Sox, relays Carrie Muskat of This season was a struggle for Hendricks even before he went on the DL on June 5, as the 2016 NL Cy Young contender posted a so-so 4.09 ERA over 61 2/3 innings (up from 2.13 last year) and logged declining strikeout and walk rates. Still, Hendricks’ return – which will send swingman Mike Montgomery to the bullpen – will be a welcome one for a resurgent Cubs team that has won six of seven since the All-Star break and sits just one game behind Milwaukee for the National League Central lead.
Rays Acquire Sergio Romo Sun, 23 Jul 2017 02:16:13 +0000 The Rays have acquired reliever Sergio Romo and cash considerations from the Dodgers for cash or a player to be named later, per an announcement from Los Angeles.

Sergio Romo

After an excellent stint with the Giants from 2008-16, Romo drew offseason interest from the Rays before heading to LA on a one-year, $3MM deal. Staying in the National League West didn’t go well for the 34-year-old Romo, who pitched to a 6.12 ERA (with a less-than-encouraging 5.75 FIP) in 25 innings as a Dodger. He also posted a career-worst walk rate (4.32 per nine) and yielded home runs on 26.9 percent of fly balls – an enormous increase over his 13.9 percent mark from last season. As a result, the Dodgers designated Romo for assignment on Thursday.

Given his woes this year, Romo hardly looks like a cure-all for the Rays, who have been in the market for relief help leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Still, he’s a low-cost pickup who did show some promising signs as a Dodger. Romo struck out 28.7 percent of batters in LA, matching his career mark, logged a 14.8 percent swinging-strike rate that betters his lifetime figure (14.2) and helped offset a low ground-ball rate (35.4 percent) by inducing pop-ups with regularity. At 15.4 percent, Romo’s infield fly rate places him among the majors’ upper echelon when it comes to relievers.

Even with Romo on hand, it stands to reason the Rays will continue to scour the market for relief upgrades over the next week-plus. While the 51-47 club is 1.5 games up on a wild-card spot, Tampa Bay’s success hasn’t come because of its bullpen. Rays relievers entered Saturday 22nd in the majors in ERA (4.37) and 23rd in fWAR (1.4), though the now-departed duo of Danny Farquhar and Jumbo Diaz contributed heavily to those unremarkable numbers before the team jettisoned them in recent weeks. The right-handed Romo hasn’t been any better this year, and he’ll now look to bounce back among a relief corps that includes more stable righty options in Alex Colome, Chase Whitley, Brad Boxberger, Tommy Hunter and Erasmo Ramirez.

Ken Gurnick of first reported the trade (on Twitter). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West News & Rumors: Padres, Hand, Rangers, Dodgers Sun, 23 Jul 2017 01:41:01 +0000 Reliever Brad Hand is the most sought-after trade chip the Padres have had since A.J. Preller took over as their general manager in 2014, reports AJ Cassavell of “Half the league or more” has called about Hand, a team source told Cassavell, which helps explain the Padres’ reportedly high asking price for the southpaw. San Diego feels as though it’s justified in seeking a significant return for Hand, per Cassavell, as the 27-year-old has been among the majors’ top relievers since breaking out last season and comes with affordable control through the 2019 campaign.

  • One of Hand’s teammates, second baseman/third baseman Yangervis Solarte, is also a trade candidate, but Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune doesn’t expect the Padres to move him. Rumors connecting Solarte to other clubs have mostly been speculative, tweets Lin, who notes that the 30-year-old’s injury status seems to decrease the likelihood of a trade. He has been out for over a month with a strained oblique, and a return doesn’t look imminent as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. The switch-hitting Solarte hasn’t taken right-handed batting practice yet, which could change this weekend, and will still need to go on a rehab assignment after that happens.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters Saturday that he’s unsure whether the 46-50 club will buy over the next week-plus. If they do, though, Daniels indicated that the Rangers will seek controllable starting pitching, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Everyone wants controllable starting pitching, so that’s not surprising, but it’s clear Texas needs it more than a lot of other teams do. After all, three members of the Rangers’ rotation – Yu Darvish, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross – are scheduled to become free agents after the season.
  • A couple of injury updates on the Dodgers, courtesy of J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (Twitter links): First baseman Adrian Gonzalez should return before Sept. 1, but outfielder Andre Ethier likely won’t. Back problems have been ruinous to both veterans this year – Gonzalez has been out since early June, and Ethier hasn’t played at all.
Rosenthal’s Latest: Pirates, Astros, Gray, Darvish, Braves Sun, 23 Jul 2017 00:16:42 +0000 Thanks to a recent surge that has helped them climb over the .500 mark, the Pirates have ruled out trading either outfielder Andrew McCutchen or utilityman Josh Harrison prior to the deadline, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link). However, they’re not necessarily going into the deadline as full-blown buyers. Rather, the team could both buy and sell, as it did last year, and is willing to listen to offers for complementary players such as left-handed setup man Tony Watson, righty reliever Juan Nicasio, third baseman David Freese and first baseman/outfielder John Jaso. As for starter Gerrit Cole, the likelihood is that he’ll stay put, though the Pirates could still entertain offers for him, per Rosenthal.

More from Rosenthal:

  • The Astros appeared to be making a serious push for Athletics righty Sonny Gray at one point this week, but they’re not aggressively involved in the sweepstakes for the 27-year-old right now, according to Rosenthal (FanRag’s Jon Heyman issued a similar report Thursday). Given the recent success of starters Mike Fiers and Brad Peacock, Houston could pursue an elite reliever instead of another piece for its rotation, suggests Rosenthal, who adds that prospect Derek Fisher will likely take over in left field next month if the team doesn’t trade him. Baseball America’s 54th-ranked prospect, the 23-year-old has slashed .311/.380/.584 with 21 home runs and 16 steals across 375 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Fisher got his first taste of big league action last month and swatted two homers in just 21 trips to the plate.
  • As one would expect, the Rangers will have an “awfully high” asking price for ace Yu Darvish if they do market him, relays Rosenthal. Even though Darvish is an impending free agent on a team that doesn’t look likely to make the playoffs, trading him isn’t as obvious as it might seem, contends Rosenthal. Not only do the Rangers “have an unusually close relationship” with the 30-year-old and a desire to keep him for the long haul, but retaining Darvish for the stretch run will give them a better chance to make up a 4.5-game deficit in the wild-card race. Also, they’d lose the ability to make Darvish a qualifying offer after after the season, which Rosenthal regards as a formality. The Rangers will net a pick after the second round if they issue Darvish a QO and he rejects it.
  • If the Braves trade lefty Jaime Garcia, they might use the money they save by dealing him (up to $4.7MM) to acquire a controllable reliever, says Rosenthal, who lists the Orioles’ Brad Brach as a possibility. Brach may not be a realistic target, though, given that Orioles general manager Dan Duquette shot down the idea of trading veterans Saturday.
Giants Sign Pablo Sandoval Sun, 23 Jul 2017 00:08:41 +0000 SATURDAY, 7:08pm: Sandoval’s contract includes 2018-19 club options for the major league minimum, but he’ll become a free agent at the end of this season if he isn’t on the Giants’ roster, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links).

1:43pm: The deal is now official, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Sandoval will head to Class A+ San Jose, then on to Triple-A Sacramento.

Here’s a statement from Sandoval about his return to the Giants in which he apologies for disparaging comments he made about the organization as he was in the process of leaving.

I have always loved and appreciated the Giants organization, my Giants teammates and the fans of San Francisco. I have so many great memories and I want to thank the organization for giving me another chance to come back here.  When I left the Giants in 2014, my comments were emotional, insensitive and misguided and I truly regret and apologize for my actions.  I am committed to working hard to contributing to the success of the Giants.”

8:07am: Sandoval will, in fact, sign with the Giants, Heyman writes (Twitter links). The Royals and others were in fact in consideration, but Sandoval ultimately opted to head back to San Francisco.

FRIDAY: The Royals are another team with interest in Sandoval, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link), though the third baseman is still expected to land with the Giants.

WEDNESDAY, 8:38pm: Sandoval says he’s “waiting for Friday to make a decision,” with the Giants being “one of [the] options,” per’s Marly Rivera.

7:17pm: The Giants have agreed to a minors deal with third baseman Pablo Sandoval, according to’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Sandoval was released earlier today by the Red Sox, though the deal will not be formally entered until his contract has passed through waivers — which (all but certainly) will occur on Friday, Evan Drellich of tweets.

While the match had been rumored, and is rather unsurprising on paper, it’s still quite a notable reunion for a player who was once one of San Francisco’s most visible stars. Both Sandoval and the Giants have had seasons to forget thus far. The former was released by his most recent organization after a third-straight season marred by injury and underperformance. And the latter currently sits five games back of the Padres in the NL West cellar.

Sandoval, now thirty years of age, was a popular and productive player for seven seasons with the Giants. Over his 3,533 plate appearances, Sandoval slashed a robust .294/.346/.465 and compiled about twenty wins above replacement. That performance earned him a five-year, $95MM contract with the Red Sox, who’ll pay the vast majority of the nearly $50MM remaining (less any prorated portion of the league minimum for time Sandoval spends in the majors from now through 2019).

The Giants tried to keep the affectionately nicknamed Panda, but extension talks never materialized and he spurned the organization in free agency — suggesting in comments at the time that he was happy to be moving on. But Sandoval never found his footing in Boston. His longstanding battle with weight was again an issue, and Sandoval missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury. He got into shape and showed well this spring, but endured a DL stint for a knee problem and struggled both at the bat (.212/.269/.354) and with the glove (-6 DRS; -8.6 UZR/150 innings) over his 32 games in 2017.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Sandoval can jump start his career in the place he once thrived. First, though, he’ll have to earn his way back to the big leagues. It’s important to bear in mind that the sides won’t be committed to one another for very long even if things go well. Unless the deal provides the club with an option of some kind — and it is fair to note that Jose Reyes agreed to such terms with the Mets while the Rockies were paying his contract — then Sandoval will return to the open market at season’s end. That said, it’s possible to imagine an extended reunion if things go well, as the Giants don’t yet have a clear plan for the 2018 season at third base.

Orioles Rumors: Deadline, Schoop, Prospects Sat, 22 Jul 2017 23:25:49 +0000 Earlier this week, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette seemed poised to market some of his veterans in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but that no longer looks like the case. Even though the Orioles are 46-50 and 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot, Duquette told reporters Saturday that they’re planning to approach the deadline as buyers. “Whatever we do [at the trade deadline], we are going to try to help the club,” he said (via Brittany Ghiroli of, on Twitter). “I still like a lot of our core players. I don’t believe all the stuff that says we have half the club on the market, because we have a lot of baseball left to be played.” Specifically, the Orioles will attempt to upgrade a rotation that entered Saturday ranked in the majors’ bottom three in ERA (5.93) and fWAR (2.0). Duquette noted that “if we can get a little bit better starting pitching or add to the pitching we can make a run at this.”

A couple more notes from Baltimore:

  • One of the few positives for the Orioles this year has been second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who has flashed improved plate discipline and slashed an excellent .303/.351/547 with 20 home runs in 388 PAs. The Orioles had interest in keeping him around for the long haul even before the season, as Duquette revealed that he discussed an extension with Schoop over the winter (Twitter link via Ghiroli). Whatever the asking price was then, it has certainly gone up between the 25-year-old’s 2017 performance and his dwindling team control. Schoop, who’s on a $3.475MM salary this season, has two more arbitration-eligible years before free agency.
  • The Orioles may have a couple of trade chips in left-handers Alex Wells and Tanner Scott, both of whom have drawn interest, according to Duquette (Twitter link via Dan Connolly of A team called Duquette on Friday about the 20-year-old Wells, who has logged a 2.56 ERA, 6.97 K/9 and .88 BB/9 in 102 Single-A innings this season. He ranks as the Orioles’ 28th-best prospect at, which places Scott 10th. “Teams covet” Scott, notes Connolly; although the 23-year-old has walked 5.98 batters per nine in 52 2/3 Double-A frames this season, he has posted an 11.45 K/9 and managed a stingy 2.05 ERA.
AL East News & Rumors: Darvish, Yanks, Rays, Red Sox Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:52:03 +0000 The Yankees had scout Brandon Duckworth in attendance to watch Texas’ game in Tampa Bay on Friday, leading to speculation that the Bombers are interested in Rangers ace Yu Darvish, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. New York is one of many potential suitors for Darvish, who struck out 12 Rays in eight innings Friday. For the Yankees, Darvish would more than make up for the loss of Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery and give the playoff hopefuls another front-line starter to join Luis Severino. However, it’s unclear whether they’d be willing to pay what figures to be a heavy price for a rental.

More on New York and a couple of its AL East rivals:

  • In unfortunate news for the Yankees, second baseman Starlin Castro is headed back to the disabled list with hamstring issues, tweets King. The Yankees will recall rookie Tyler Wade to take over for Castro, who first hit the DL in late June because of a Grade 1 hamstring strain. Castro came back July 15 and appeared in six of eight games before his latest DL placement. Injuries notwithstanding, the 27-year-old is in the midst of a fine season, having hit .307/.344/.472 with 12 home runs in 337 plate appearances.
  • The Rays are interested in acquiring reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies, so Philadelphia is heavily scouting Tampa Bay’s farm system, according to Mark Feinsand of (Twitter link). Neshek is among a host of relievers the bullpen-needy Rays have been eyeing with the deadline approaching.
  • While the Rays are currently looking for outside help, they have an in-house reinforcement on the way in center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who suffered a hip fracture June 8. Kiermaier is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 9, and he expects to do just that if all goes well on a rehab assignment, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Even though Kiermaier is one of the Rays’ cornerstones, their outfield has fared nicely in his absence, with Mallex Smith and Peter Bourjos filling in well in center.
  • The Red Sox aren’t cutting ties with struggling righty Doug Fister, but they have demoted him from the rotation to the bullpen, per Jen McCaffrey of The 33-year-old Fister became the odd man out after the return of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was on the shelf with a knee injury from the beginning of June until earlier this week. Fister, whom Boston claimed off waivers from the Angels in late June, has recorded a 7.89 ERA, 7.48 K/9, 6.23 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate over 21 2/3 innings and five appearances (four starts) with the Red Sox. His walk rate is significantly higher than his career mark (2.03 per nine), but the Red Sox expect positive regression in that department. “We had a chance to sit and talk a little bit earlier today and you look at the start he made in Texas where a lot of his misses were up above the strike zone,” said manager John Farrell. “He made a tangible adjustment where (Thursday), granted there were misses, but they’re below the strike zone where he has got to miss. That’s where he needs to live.”
Chi Chi Gonzalez To Have Tommy John Surgery Sat, 22 Jul 2017 21:59:40 +0000 Rangers righty Chi Chi Gonzalez has been dealing with additional elbow pain and will have Tommy John surgery, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. He will miss not only the rest of 2017, but all of 2018 as a result.

It’s been an awful run of luck for Gonzalez, who was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in Spring Training and has not pitched competitively in 2017. The plan at the time was for Gonzalez to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection and sit out for six weeks, thus avoiding Tommy John surgery. It appears, however, that that plan didn’t do the trick.

The 25-year-old Gonzalez was the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Oral Roberts. He advanced through the Rangers’ system as a top prospect and made it to the Majors in 2015, posting a 3.90 ERA in 67 innings despite a very weak 4.0 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. He struggled in three big-league starts in 2016, spending most of the year in the Triple-A Round Rock rotation.

NL Central Notes: Lynn, Polanco, Reds Sat, 22 Jul 2017 21:23:39 +0000 Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak recently met with starting pitcher Lance Lynn to discuss Lynn’s future with the team, which is “fluid,” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The Rockies, Royals and perhaps Astros could have interest in Lynn, so a trade is possible, particularly if the 47-49 Cardinals fall further out of the playoff race. But they could also keep him and make a run at the playoffs. Lynn has played with the Cardinals throughout his six-year career. This season, he has a 3.30 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 114 innings. He’s eligible for free agency next winter. Here’s more from the NL Central.

  • The Pirates have announced that they’ve placed outfielder Gregory Polanco on the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve promoted lefty Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis. Polanco left Friday’s game against the Rockies due to hamstring trouble. Polanco got off to a slow start this season but has hit .387/.406/.629, his hot streak roughly corresponding with the Bucs’ recent streak of winning play as a team. The Pirates have John Jaso, Jose Osuna and Adam Frazier to man the corner outfield while Polanco is out.
  • The Reds completed the most crucial stage of their rebuild in the last 13 months, Zach Buchanan and C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer write. “You say talent acquisition is part of the rebuild,” says GM Dick Williams. “It really is the rebuild. That’s what it is all about, dedicating as much of our resources as we can to a large influx of talent in a short period of time.” They’ve had two strong draft classes led by 2016 first-rounder Nick Senzel and 2017 second overall pick Hunter Greene, and they’ve spent heavily on Latin American players like Victor Ruiz, Vladimir Gutierrez, Alfredo Rodriguez and Jose Israel Garcia.
Indians Activate Danny Salazar Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:43:37 +0000 The Indians have announced that they’ve activated Danny Salazar, who will start tonight against the Blue Jays. To clear space on their active roster, they’ve optioned lefty Ryan Merritt to Triple-A Columbus.

Salazar had been out since early June with a sore shoulder. It’s not yet completely clear whose rotation spot he’ll take, although Mike Clevinger, Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco are all penciled in for upcoming starts, and Corey Kluber obviously won’t lose his spot. That could leave Trevor Bauer, who has a disappointing 5.58 ERA this year (albeit with 10.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9) as the odd man out for now.

In any case, the return of a healthy Salazar could be a boon to an Indians club that has reportedly looked for starting pitching on the trade market. (They’ve repeatedly been connected to Sonny Gray, although they’re one of a long list of possible A’s trade partners should the Athletics move Gray.) The hard-throwing Salazar was a key to the Indians’ rotations in both 2015 and 2016, with a 3.63 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 322 1/3 innings in that two-year span. He has a 5.40 ERA this season, but with strong peripherals, including a 12.6 K/9, over 55 frames.

Blue Jays Place Aaron Sanchez On DL, Designate Jeff Beliveau Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:30:40 +0000 The Blue Jays have announced that they’ve activated righty Joe Smith (shoulder) from the DL and recalled righty Chris Smith. To clear roster space, they’ve placed righty Aaron Sanchez on the DL with blister issues and designated lefty Jeff Beliveau for assignment.

This will be the fourth time finger problems have resulted in DL trips for Sanchez this season. He was reportedly to visit a hand specialist to discuss the issue Friday, so that he’d land on the DL yet again comes as little surprise. The 25-year-old has managed just eight starts this season, posting a 4.25 ERA, 6.0 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 over 36 innings.

The 30-year-old Beliveau struggled in 19 relief outings with the Jays, posting a 7.47 ERA, 9.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over 15 2/3 innings. He has also pitched with the Cubs and Rays in a big-league career spanning parts of five seasons. Aaron Loup will remain as the only lefty reliever on the Jays’ active roster.


Texas Notes: McHugh, Darvish, Lucroy Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:27:36 +0000 Astros righty Collin McHugh will make his 2017 big-league debut in a start against the Orioles, the Astros have announced. McHugh had missed the entire season to this point with shoulder trouble. Before 2017, McHugh had an impressive three-year run in Houston in which he posted a 3.71 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over 543 innings. His return improves an Astros rotation that also currently features Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers and Brad Peacock. Dallas Keuchel is now on a rehab assignment after heading to the DL with neck discomfort in early June. Here’s more out of Texas.

  • The impending returns of McHugh and Keuchel don’t mean the Astros are out of the market for rotation help, however. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweets that the team watched Rangers star Yu Darvish pitch yesterday. The team is keeping tabs on all significant potential rotation additions, Morosi adds. Darvish has lately been connected to a variety of teams, including the Dodgers and Cubs.
  • Speaking of Darvish, the Rangers have recently been scouting the Dodgers’ and Cubs’ Triple-A teams, Evan Grant of SportsDay writes. Of course, teams frequently scout one another’s affiliates for any number of reasons, but right now, the Rangers’ interest in the Dodgers’ and Cubs’ minor-leaguers could set the groundwork for a trade. Grant adds, though, that the Cubs might be more interested in catcher Jonathan Lucroy than in Darvish. (The 31-year-old Lucroy is in the midst of a down season in Texas, with a .248/.297/.351 line so far; he’s eligible for free agency after the season. He would complement Willson Contreras behind the plate if the Rangers were to trade him to Chicago.) Grant also notes that rival clubs didn’t scout Darvish’s own start particularly heavily last night, perhaps because the 46-50 Rangers are still on the fringes of contention. It’s still not yet entirely clear what their approach to the deadline will be.
NL Notes: Broxton, Marlins, Garcia, Reed, Dodgers Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:40:07 +0000 The Brewers have announced that they’ve optioned center fielder Keon Broxton to Triple-A Colorado Springs, clearing a roster spot for infielder Eric Sogard to return from the disabled list. It’s been a frustrating season for Broxton, who’s batted just .218/.294/.430 (albeit with 14 home runs and 17 steals) and whiffed 124 times in 326 plate appearances. That performance followed a promising 2016 stretch run that led to a fair amount of offseason hype. The move should create additional playing time for rookie Brett Phillips, who has bounced back and forth between Colorado Springs and the Majors since early June. Here’s more from the National League.

  • Tagg Romney has left the Jeb Bush / Wayne Rothbaum group currently bidding to buy the Marlins, FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes. The group’s chances of landing the Marlins are now unclear — Romney’s financial commitment to the project was limited, but he had ties to a number of those involved in the group, including former players Tom Glavine, Dave Stewart and Al Leiter.
  • Interest in Braves starter Jaime Garcia appears to be intensifying after he whiffed four batters and allowed three runs and one walk in seven innings in Los Angeles yesterday, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets.’s Mark Feinsand adds (also via Twitter) that there are as many as eight potential trade suitors with varying levels of interest. Yesterday, Garcia appeared to be headed to the Twins, but that deal was scuttled due to a medical issue with a prospect the Braves would have received in return.
  • The Dodgers are considering trade scenarios involving Mets reliever Addison Reed, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. Reed has already been linked to any number of teams, including the Brewers, Red Sox and Yankees. He’s collected 16 saves with the Mets this season but obviously would be highly unlikely to displace Kenley Jansen in Los Angeles, likely complementing him in a late-inning role. Reed has a 2.35 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and a terrific 1.2 BB/9 in 46 innings this season, after which he’ll be eligible for free agency.
5 Key Stories: 7/15/17 – 7/21/17 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:00:13 +0000 Here’s a look back at this week’s key stories from around the league.

Yankees get Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle from White Sox. The Yankees and White Sox pulled off a blockbuster this week, with the Yankees upgrading their corner infield spots with Todd Frazier and their bullpen with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. The White Sox, meanwhile, received Tyler Clippard, plus three prospects (including two former first-round picks, Ian Clarkin and Blake Rutherford. In the wake of the deal, the White Sox also announced the promotion of Yoan Moncada, one of the game’s top overall prospects, to the Majors.

J.D. MartinezDiamondbacks acquire J.D. MartinezIn yet another significant July trade, the Diamondbacks acquired slugger J.D. Martinez from the Tigers for a trio of prospects headed by young infielder Dawel Lugo. The Tigers seemingly continue to be one of the more buzzed-about teams on the trade market, with Justin Wilson, Justin verlander and Ian Kinsler all coming up in various scenarios.

Mariners acquire David PhelpsThe Frazier/Robertson and Martinez deals weren’t the only big one this week. The Marlins shipped righty reliever David Phelps to Seattle in exchange for a quartet of prospects headed by outfielder Brayan Hernandez. The Mariners had a busy week, also acquiring lefty Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill and sending veteran relievers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi to the White Sox.

Nationals deal for Sean Doolittle, Ryan MadsonThe Nationals boosted their bullpen this week by acquiring veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Athletics in return for Blake Treinen and a pair of prospects. The Nats remain interested in acquiring pitching and have been connected to a number of the remaining bullpen names.

Pablo Sandoval set to return to Giants. Last week, the Red Sox began the process of cutting ways with third baseman Pablo Sandoval. This week, he agreed to head back to his former team, the Giants, on a minor-league deal.

Photo Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brewers Considering Trading For Ian Kinsler Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:54:22 +0000 2:17pm: The Brewers’ interest in Kinsler will likely hinge on fellow second baseman Eric Sogard’s health, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Sogard is returning from a DL stint caused by an ankle injury. He’s hit brilliantly in 162 plate appearances this season, with a .331/.438/.485 line thus far.

10:54am: The Brewers are exploring the possibility of trading for Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. The Brewers have also recently been connected to Tigers trade possibilities like Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson, so it’s possible a deal for Kinsler could be one of many trade scenarios involving Detroit they’re considering.

The 35-year-old Kinsler is currently hitting .244/.324/.397 while receiving typically above-average reviews for his defense. Current Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar has struggled this season, batting just .223/.287/.350 after a breakout season in 2016. Acquiring Kinsler might allow the Brewers to move Villar back into the utility role he occupied last year. The extension Kinsler signed with the Rangers in 2012 is front-loaded, so it’s less of a concern than it might typically be for a payroll-conscious team like the Brewers — Kinsler makes just $11MM this season, plus a $5MM buyout or a very reasonable $10MM option for 2018.

The 52-47 Brewers are somewhat of a surprise contender this year and are only now emerging from a retooling phase. They’re also in the midst of a six-game losing streak. Seen from that perspective, they might be somewhat reluctant to deal top young talent for a veteran like Kinsler. When they’ve contended in the recent past, though, they have not been shy about paying high prices for stars like Zack Greinke (for whom they gave up a very costly package of Lorenzo Cain, Jake Odorizzi, Alcides Escobar and Jeremy Jeffress) and CC Sabathia (who cost them Michael Brantley). Their outlook on such trades might be somewhat different now with David Stearns replacing Doug Melvin at GM, but then again perhaps not, since they’ve also been strongly connected to Athletics ace Sonny Gray.

NL Trade Notes: Dodgers, Darvish, Cardinals, Kendrick Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:00:15 +0000 The Dodgers (and the Cubs, whose interest we’ve already noted) were among the teams scouting Rangers star Yu Darvish last night, the MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets. Darvish struck out 12 Rays batters over eight innings. The Dodgers already have good starting pitching, with Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy and Kenta Maeda all healthy, but Darvish would of course improve any team’s rotation. The righty currently has a 3.45 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over 125 1/3 innings. He’s eligible for free agency after the season. Here’s more from the NL.

  • Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak is frustrated with his team’s “attitude and culture” and might look to make changes to improve those things,’s Jenifer Langosch writes. The Cardinals are now 47-49, and their exact plans for the deadline aren’t quite clear. They were linked, and then un-linked, to J.D. Martinez before he the Diamondbacks acquired him, and they recently dealt Marco Gonzales to Seattle. “I feel like I don’t have that silver bullet to say, ’Hey if we go do this, we will be greatly improved,'” says Mozeliak, who also bluntly expressed frustration with the way the Cardinals’ players have performed. “I feel like I’m not going to make excuses for people or players. Everybody points the finger upstairs to try and find the solution or the move. Well, maybe 25 [players] need to look in the mirror.”
  • The Phillies could still trade 2B/OF Howie Kendrick if they keep him through the non-waiver trade deadline, writes Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice, who argues that Pat Neshek is the Phillie most likely to be traded by the end of the month. Kendrick only recently returned from a hamstring injury, giving the Phillies a limited amount of time to showcase him before July 31. Lawrence argues Kendrick’s injury troubles and his approximately $3.3MM in 2017 salary he’ll have left beginning on August 1 make Kendrick a candidate to clear waivers and leave Philadelphia in August, just as Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz did in years past. I’d argue that Kendrick’s .349/.403/.476 line this year could make that scenario somewhat unlikely, but there’s little doubt that the timing of his return could make dealing him a bit tricky for the Phils.
Long List Of Teams Interested In AJ Ramos Sat, 22 Jul 2017 13:46:55 +0000 The Diamondbacks, Rockies, Rays, Red Sox, Cubs, Brewers and others all have interest in Marlins closer AJ Ramos, FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and others tweeted earlier this week that the Marlins were taking calls on Ramos.

The Marlins, of course, recently traded reliever David Phelps to Seattle for a package including outfield prospect Brayan Hernandez, and Ramos could potentially be an even more desirable trade target. The 30-year-old has a 4.08 ERA and 4.8 BB/9 this season, but with a strong 11.5 K/9. He also has 89 career saves and a long history of success in the ninth inning, making him a strong late-inning option for a contender. (Of course, many clubs on Heyman’s list of interested teams, including the Rockies, Red Sox, Cubs and Brewers, appear set at closer, but that wouldn’t preclude them from having interest in another good late-inning arm.) Ramos can be controlled through 2018 via the arbitration process.

With Phelps gone, the Marlins are expected to lean harder on Junichi Tazawa, as’s Joe Frisaro recently explained. Tazawa has pitched nine scoreless innings this month. The team also has Kyle Barraclough, Nick Wittgren and Dustin McGowan to pitch in the late innings. It’s not yet clear, however, who would take over the closer role should Ramos depart.

Trade Market For Shortstops Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:01:22 +0000 Frankly, there’s not much to see here. Most contenders are set at shortstop. Even those that have immediate needs — the Astros, Nationals, and Diamondbacks all have regulars on the DL — aren’t really expected to go shopping for replacements.

We’ve already seen one shortstop on the move, though, with Adeiny Hechavarria going to the Rays. Here are some others that could be available:


Zack Cozart, Reds | $5.325MM in 2017

Cozart is an elite defender and has posted an outstanding .321/.400/.566 batting line on the year. Were there a single contender with an opening at short, he’d be the obvious solution. As it stands, Cozart may end up being viewed more as a heavily-used utility piece — unless a team decides it would be best-served adding him and pushing a regular shortstop to another position instead.

Eduardo Nunez, Giants | $4.2MM in 2017

He’s more likely an option at other spots in the infield, but Nunez has logged more games at short than any other position in his eight seasons of MLB action. Nunez is a roughly league-average hitter who can swipe a bag, and would deepen a lot of rosters.

Ruben Tejada, Orioles | Unknown Salary

The 27-year-old is back in the majors as a fill-in option for the O’s. He’s hitting better than he did last year, but the .272/.322/.333 output isn’t going to hold much appeal.

Erick Aybar, Padres | $1.75MM in 2017

As with Tejada, the veteran Aybar isn’t impressing at the plate (.231/.298/.353) and won’t be in much demand.

Controlled Through 2018

Freddy Galvis, Phillies | $4.35MM in 2017; arb-eligible in 2018

The sudden slugger is on pace to approach twenty long balls yet again. And his on-base percentage has crept over .300. Galvis has rated as a top-end defender, but it still seems he makes the most sense in Philadelphia.

Jose Iglesias, Tigers |$4.1MM in 2017; arb-eligible in 2018

At his best, Iglesias is something of a poor man’s Andrelton Simmons. But while his magical glovework continues, the work with the bat has worsened over the past two years. It’s hard to imagine an offer coming in that would really motivate Detroit.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets | $8.25MM in 2017; $8.5MM club option ($2MM buyout) in 2018

It’s arguable whether Cabrera ought to be considered here at all, as the Mets clearly determined that he’s no longer really capable of playing a palatable shortstop. On the other hand, he has manned that position almost exclusively over the past three years and can hit near the league average (though his baserunning has been stunningly bad thus far in 2017).

J.J. Hardy, Orioles | $14MM in 2017; $14MM club option ($2MM buyout) in 2018

The veteran isn’t a deadline option, as he’s currently on the DL. And odds are he won’t be one in August, either, though he’ll easily clear waivers after opening the year with a .211/.248/.308 batting line.

Longer-Term Assets

Jurickson Profar, Rangers | $1.05MM in 2017; arb-eligible through 2019

Still just 24 years of age, Profar has been awful this year in the majors. But he is hitting 297/.386/.423 at Triple-A. And with no clear path to a significant role in Texas, perhaps it’s finally time he’s dealt.

Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals | First-time arb-eligible in 2021

It’s hard to see the Cards giving up on Diaz after he showed a lofty ceiling last year. But he was demoted and has struggled all the more at Triple-A ever since, so perhaps a deal can’t be ruled out if there’s a chance to achieve some value.

Andrelton Simmons, Angels | $8MM in 2017; $39MM from 2018 through 2020

In the midst of a career year, Simmons almost certainly isn’t going anywhere, even if the Halos do sell.

Brandon Crawford, Giants | $8MM in 2017; $60MM from 2018 through 2021

The Giants have made clear they aren’t interested in dealing Crawford, even as he struggles after consecutive two top-level seasons.

Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays | $20MM in 2017; $58MM from 2018 through 2020 (including $4MM buyout of 2021 club option)

Tulo has declined in the field and at the plate this year. While the Jays may at some point see if they can’t unload some of the contract, there’s no indication that’ll happen this summer.

Ryan Goins, Blue Jays | First-time arb-eligible in 2018

Goins just doesn’t hit, and has drawn poor grades this year at short, though he could in theory be a utility option elsewhere.

Dixon Machado, Tigers | First-time arb-eligible in 2020

At times, Machado has been seen as an interesting prospect, and he does own a .316/.338/.395 batting line in just 81 plate appearances on the year. He’s out of options and it’s hard to imagine the Tigers again carrying him in 2018 without clearing the way for some more playing time.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/21/17 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:27:12 +0000 Let’s catch up on some of the recent minor moves from around the game:

  • Righty Jumbo Diaz is a free agent after rejecting an outright assignment from the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The bulky 33-year-old had a solid 2016 campaign but scuffled upon arriving in Tampa Bay. In his thirty innings, he was touched for a 5.70 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.
  • The Blue Jays have outrighted righty Lucas Harrell to Triple-A, per a club announcement. He’ll have the option of rejecting that assignment. Harrell, 32, turned in six solid starts at Triple-A before earning a call-up, but was knocked around in his four appearances with the Jays.
  • Right-hander Tyrell Jenkins has been released by the Padres, according to the transactions page. Jenkins, who just turned 25, had a 14-appearance taste of the majors last year with the Braves, but struggled badly. He had generally performed quite well in the upper minors previously, but coughed up 71 earned runs on 111 hits in his 82 1/3 Triple-A frames in the Padres organization this season.
  • The Diamondbacks have inked righty David Carpenter to a minors deal, per a club announcement from the indy ball Bridgeport Bluefish. Once a quality MLB reliever, Carpenter washed out of the majors with arm issues. He posted a 1.91 ERA and racked up 45 strikeouts in his 37 2/3 innings on the year.
  • Catcher Steve Clevenger has signed with the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers, Roch Kubatko of reports (Twitter link). Clevenger lost his job with the Mariners last year after a Twitter controversy. The 31-year-old will be looking to earn his way back into the affiliated ranks.
  • The Twins have added righty Michael Kohn on a minors deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports (Twitter links). He’ll continue rehabbing a rotator cuff injury that has kept him off the mound since 2015. Kohn previously turned in 115 innings of 3.52 ERA ball — but with 6.2 walks to go with his 8.7 strikeouts per nine — in parts of five seasons of MLB action.
  • Outfielder Michael Choice is heading to the KBO, as the Brewers announced they’ve sold his contract to the Nexen Heroes. Still just 27 years of age, the former top prospect was released by the Orioles after struggling early this year at Triple-A. But he has found his groove at Double-A Biloxi, slashing .272/.349/.503 over 195 plate appearances.
Trade Chatter: Darvish, Alonso, Red Sox, Ramos, Stanton, Cahill, Nunez Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:43:54 +0000 Yu Darvish is pitching tonight for the Rangers, so clearly there’s nothing imminent. Indeed, Texas seems likely to take its decision on the ace to the latest possible moment, even as it begins to solicit interest. As that process begins to take place, it’s important to note that Darvish possesses partial no-trade rights. While it’s not at all clear whether he’d get in the way of a deal, particularly given that he’ll be a free agent in a few months regardless, that adds another potential hurdle. Per Jim Bowden of Sirius XM, via Twitter, Darvish currently can block trades to the CubsIndians, PiratesRed Sox, and Rockies (along with five other teams that are in no position to consider a rental starter).

Here’s the latest trade deadline chatter:

  • While the Athletics continue to weigh their options with first baseman Yonder Alonso, the club has not actually engaged in any extension talks with his reps, per’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). While a new deal seems unlikely to come to fruition (yet more than it did already), the A’s are struggling to drum up interest in the breakout performer. Indeed, Mark Feinsand of suggests on Twitter that the Yankees are the only team firmly pursuing Alonso at this time. Trouble is, it seems, Oakland isn’t enamored of the Yanks’ offers to date.
  • Meanwhile, the division-rival Red Sox could conceivably look into some outside-the-box possibilities to improve their offense, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes. He bases that assessment on the difficulty of finding a significant offensive threat capable of playing third as well as the ongoing struggles of Mitch Moreland since he suffered a toe injury. Boston might consider a first baseman, Speier says, or perhaps even an outfielder that could lineup at DH — if Hanley Ramirez is capable of spending more time at first. While it doesn’t seem there’s any indication of internal interest at this point, Speier cites Alonso, Lucas Duda, and Jay Bruce as rental players that could hold some appeal.
  • Marlins closer A.J. Ramos is drawing interest from as many as eight to ten teams,’s Joe Frisaro tweets. With momentum perhaps building toward a deal, Ramos tells’s Jeremy Vernon that he hears the rumors, but is trying to stay focused on his current job. “It’s good, but also it’s a little bit bittersweet,” he said of the fact other teams are looking to deal for him.
  • A handful of clubs have reached out to the Marlins about high-priced slugger Giancarlo Stanton, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports, but the expectation remains that he will not be seriously marketed this summer. Still, the club is keeping Stanton “apprised of every contact” it receives, which evidently was a commitment made to the star. With full no-trade protection, he can control his destiny.
  • Interest in Padres righty Trevor Cahill is increasing as the deadline draws near, a team source tells’s AJ Cassavell (via Twitter). While the possible introduction of Darvish to the market would knock Cahill down a peg among rental arms, it likely wouldn’t reduce the demand. After all, he’s still exceptionally cheap and has been one of the game’s most productive starters when healthy in 2017. For teams that want to take a shot at a continuation of that surprising success, Cahill should hold quite a lot of appeal.
  • Interestingly, in his recent run-down of the market for Athletics righty Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network noted that even the Padres have asked about the hotly pursued starter. That may be chalked up mostly to due diligence; though the Pads no doubt would love to install such an arm into their rotation for the next two years, it’s hard to see sufficient motivation to beat the offers of other organizations that will highly value the ability to utilize Gray for the next several months.
  • Among Giants players, infielder Eduardo Nunez is drawing the most interest, Olney tweets. That’s hardly surprising, as he’s a pending free agent who can play all over the infield. It still seems a bit difficult to imagine that the Giants won’t find a worthwhile arrangement involving Nunez, who could fit with quite a few different contenders.
White Sox To Acquire Mark Lowe, Jean Machi Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:45:09 +0000 The White Sox have acquired veteran relievers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi from the Mariners, according to Triple-A Tacoma broadcaster Mike Curto (Twitter link). Both will report to Chicago’s top affiliate.

It seems that this isn’t a part of a larger deal, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets that cash is heading back to the M’s. Clearly, the addition of these two players by the rebuilding South Siders is designed to help the team maintain its pen depth down the stretch. Chicago has already traded away a pair of relievers from its major league roster and could move yet more by the trade deadline.

Lowe, 35, was released by the Tigers late in camp after a disappointing run in Detroit. He joined the Mariners on a minors pact and has gone on to post a 6.23 ERA in 39 innings, all at Triple-A. Lowe has struck out 8.5 and walked 4.6 batters per nine on the year.

As for the 35-year-old Machi, he did enjoy a brief MLB stint earlier this season — his first since 2015 — but has spent most of the year at Tacoma. Over 36 2/3 innings, Machi carries a 3.44 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.

Diamondbacks To Promote Anthony Banda Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:32:39 +0000 The Diamondbacks will promote lefty Anthony Banda to start tomorrow in place of Taijuan Walker, per a club announcement. Walker is on paternity leave, so it’ll only be a short absence for him.

Banda, a southpaw who’ll soon turn 24, currently ranks as the game’s 68th-best overall prospect, in the eyes of the Baseball America prospect team. He is already on the 40-man, earning a spot last fall in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. The D-Backs picked up Banda (as well as Mitch Haniger) in the 2014 deadline deal that sent Gerardo Parra to the Brewers.

It’s not yet clear whether the D-Backs have any inclination to lean on Banda much at all down the stretch, but that could depend in some part upon how he looks in his MLB debut. Banda has managed only a 5.08 ERA in his 101 Triple-A innings this year, with 8.3 K/9 against 3.8 B/9, and didn’t exactly dominate in his 13 starts there last year.

Banda is viewed more as a steady potential MLB starter than a high-risk, high-upside play with electric stuff. But it’s also possible he could contribute from the bullpen in some capacity over the next few months. His readiness may have at least some impact on the club’s deadline plans, though Arizona’s approach over the next ten days surely won’t be driven to any great extent by Banda’s form in this spot start.