It’s already known that the Blue Jays pulled right-hander Marco Estrada back from waivers after he was claimed (reportedly by the Yankees) earlier this month, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that the Jays also pulled left-hander J.A. Happ back off revocable trade waivers at some point in August. As such, he’s ineligible to be traded before tomorrow night’s deadline for postseason eligibility. Happ, 35 in October, is in the second season of a three-year, $36MM contract and is owed the balance of a $13MM salary (about $2.2MM) plus another $13MM in 2018. Toronto’s decision to pull him back is consistent with their reluctance to listen on other assets controlled beyond ’17 (e.g. Josh Donaldson). By all accounts, the Blue Jays seem intent on fielding a contending club in 2018, and Happ is likely viewed as an important part of that. He’ll join young right-handers Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman in next year’s rotation, though the Toronto front office will likely have some work to do in the offseason.
A bit more out of the game’s Eastern divisions…
- Braves righty R.A. Dickey sat down with Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to discuss the team’s young core of pitchers as well as his own future. Dickey, 42, spoke with Burns about the lessons that he’s tried to teach younger arms like Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb and others, as well as the influence of other veterans like Freddie Freeman and Brandon Phillips. Asked about his own future in light of a recent run of strong starts, Dickey tells Burns that there’s “no doubt in his mind” that he’s physically capable of continuing his career, but the decision will be made collectively with his wife and four children following the 2017 season. The Q&A is well worth a full read-through — especially for Braves fans, of course.
- The Mets provided a series of health updates on their many injured players once again today (h/t: James Wagner of the New York Times, on Twitter). Right-hander Matt Harvey tossed a bullpen session today and is on track to make a return to the big league mound this Saturday against the Astros. Fellow righty Noah Syndergaard will set out on a minor league rehab assignment that same day, tossing an inning for the Mets’ Gulf Coast League affiliate. Meanwhile, Michael Conforto has received a second opinion on his shoulder, but there’s no update of a diagnosis or treatment plan. Infielders David Wright and T.J. Rivera are set for further exams in New York.
- Red Sox manager John Farrell said in an appearance on WEEI’s Dale, Holley & Keefe that the team cannot rule out the possibility of David Price returning as a reliever this season (via WEEI’s Ryan Hannable). Farrell acknowledged that the team’s decision-makers are cognizant of the limited time Price has to build his strength back up after being on the disabled list with an elbow injury since late July. Price threw off a mound today but was limited to just fastballs, per Farrell. “When he is able to get back to game speed or full speed and then see what the best role and the most realistic role is for him and how do we make sure we do what is right by David and not over stressing the number of pitches in an outing,” said the manager.
- Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff exited today’s start with a nerve issue in his right hand, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Manager Pete Mackanin suggested that the injury came “out of the blue,” as Eickhoff had not given any prior indication of discomfort. As Zolecki points out, though, Eickhoff’s average fastball velocity in 2015-16 was 91.5 mph, but he averaged just 89.4 mph in his first five August starts and only 88 mph on Wednesday.