The latest from the American League East:
- Between third baseman Josh Donaldson and left-hander J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays’ top two impending free agents, the latter is likely to bring back the greater return at the trade deadline, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link). Unlike Happ, Donaldson has been a superstar at his best, but the onetime MVP is now amid an underwhelming season at an inopportune time. As Rosenthal points out, not only is the 32-year-old Donaldson on the disabled list for the second time this season, but he has posted his worst numbers since 2012 – the year before he broke out – and will still have about $7MM coming his way at the July 31 deadline. Further, there could be other established third base options on the market in Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas and Adrian Beltre. The 35-year-old Happ, meanwhile, is enjoying a fourth straight above-average season and has logged a career-best strikeout rate (10.23 K/9) over 82 2/3 innings. He may end up as the most appealing starter on the block in the next month and a half.
- Thanks in part to his myriad injury issues this year, the Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury has become a forgotten man as part of an outfield that boasts Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks at the major league level and Clint Frazier in the minors. Ellsbury may still factor into the mix this year, however, as he was examined by a back specialist last week and will soon “ramp up” to baseball activities, manager Aaron Boone told David Lennon of Newsday and other reporters Sunday. Ellsbury hasn’t played at all in 2018, the fifth season of an ill-fated seven-year, $153MM contract, because of hip, foot and back problems.
- During their managerial search that culminated in Boone’s hiring last winter, the Yankees did not consider former major league slugger Jason Giambi, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports. They did contact Giambi regarding a job in the organization, Kuty adds, though the ex-Yankee said Sunday at the team’s Old-Timers’ Day festivities that the timing wasn’t right for him. “I think they kind of tested to see where I was at and I just said I wasn’t ready,” said Giambi, who went on to suggest that he didn’t want to be away from his young children. Now 47, Giambi came up as a coaching candidate even before his playing career ended in 2014, as he interviewed for the Rockies’ managerial opening in 2012. That position ended up going to Walt Weiss.