Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-23T03:25:46Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Reportedly Set For Payroll Reduction In 2019]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133205 2018-09-21T17:33:36Z 2018-09-21T17:04:24Z The Royals entered the 2018 season with a payroll of roughly $122MM — their fourth straight season with a $100MM-plus payroll — but Fancred’s Jon Heyman writes in his latest notes column that the team is expected to pare that figure back by as much as $30-35MM for the 2019 campaign.

Scaling back the payroll isn’t exactly a shock for a club that has been working to rebuild its farm system, though the cut described by Heyman would be a fairly substantial downturn in on-field spending. Unlike the Marlins, though, who slashed payroll to similar levels this past offseason, the Royals won’t have to orchestrate any type of fire sale to do so. They already saved money by trading impending free agents like Kelvin Herrera, Mike Moustakas and Jon Jay prior to the non-waiver trade deadline (plus Lucas Duda and Drew Butera in August). The Royals are also paying Travis Wood, Joakim Soria and Brandon Moss in 2018 as part of previous trades to shed each of those contracts; all of those obligations will be off the books come 2019.

[Related: Kansas City Royals depth chart]

After all those subtractions, the Royals have about $69.5MM on the books for the 2019 season by way of guaranteed contracts for Alex Gordon, Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, Salvador Perez and Jorge Soler. They’ll have several arbitration cases in the form of Brandon Maurer, Nate Karns, Brian Flynn, Cheslor Cuthbert, Jesse Hahn and Paulo Orlando, though some (if not most) of that group could be non-tendered this winter.

It’s unlikely that the Kansas City front office will be able to find a taker for any of the team’s most onerous financial commitments (Kennedy, Gordon), and it seems equally unlikely that the team would sell low on Duffy or Perez coming off lackluster seasons. Perez’s power numbers remain quite strong, but he’s turned in a career-worst .270 OBP to date — third worst among qualified MLB hitters. Duffy, meanwhile, posted a 4.88 ERA through 155 innings in a season that was marred by shoulder issues.

The Royals could organically scale back payroll by as much as $50MM, though it seems reasonable to expect that they’ll invest some funds in second- and third-tier free-agent pickups. They’re not likely to contend next season even with the rampant mediocrity that permeates the AL Central, but GM Dayton Moore has been candid about his desire to improve the on-field product sooner rather than later. To that end, Moore and his staff prioritized near-MLB assets in many of their trades over the past calendar year, landing players like Brett Phillips, Jorge Lopez, Heath Fillmyer, Trevor Oaks and Jerry Vasto. The Royals were also aggressive in the Rule 5 Draft (Brad Keller, Burch Smith) and picked up cast-offs with MLB experience from other organizations (Brian Goodwin, Ben Lively) over the summer.

Adding some low-cost veterans on short-term deals could help to field a more competitive product than the one the Royals trotted out for much of 2018 — and a full season of Adalberto Mondesi won’t hurt, either. Such investments could also present the opportunity to further stock the farm with some upper-level talent prior to the 2019 non-waiver deadline (as was the case with last winter’s Moustakas reunion, which ultimately netted both Phillips and Lopez).

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mondesi, O'Hearn Impressing Royals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133184 2018-09-21T02:39:07Z 2018-09-21T02:39:07Z
  • Both Adalberto Mondesi and Ryan O’Hearn have been impressing with the Royals lately, Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star writes. Mondesi, in particular, is the focus of the column, with manager Ned Yost and quality control coach Pedro Grifol (via Yost) weighing in on the improvements in the second-generation infielder’s improvements. “I just think he’s really, really talented,” Yost said of Mondesi, noting that the organization is pleased and feels he’s improved in “all phases of his game.” Mondesi has indeed been a bright spot in a bleak Kansas City season — MLBTR’s Jeff Todd just recently listed him as the primary silver lining for the Royals — as he’s shown a promising blend of speed, power and defense. Mondesi, who homered again tonight, is now hitting .290/.316/.496 with 11 homers, 26 steals and quality defensive marks at both shortstop (+2 DRS, +2 UZR) and second base (+3 DRS, +1.7 UZR). O’Hearn may not have garnered as much attention, but the 25-year-old first baseman is sporting a ridiculous .272/.372/.632 slash and 11 homers through his first 145 MLB plate appearances (albeit while showing some enormous platoon splits in that small sample).
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Silver Linings: American League Central]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=133069 2018-09-19T22:27:49Z 2018-09-19T22:27:49Z It’s often difficult to feel positive about a team when it is finishing out a season that won’t end in meaningful games, let alone postseason play. Still, there are silver linings to be found in even the worst campaigns. We’ll tick through every division in the coming days to identify the brightest spots for the non-competitive organizations.

    First up is the division most in need of a pick-me-up: the American League Central. With the Indians cruising to a title, the four remaining clubs are all looking ahead to next year. Here’s each of those organizations’ most promising development from the ’18 campaign (with link to current depth chart):

    Royals: The Middle Infield

    Entering the year, the K.C. organization had a middling outlook up the middle on the dirt. Whit Merrifield had turned in a late-twenties breakout, sure, but could he keep it up? Meanwhile veteran Alcides Escobar was brought back to keep things patched up at short.

    As it turns out, though, Merrifield has more than doubled down on his 2017 effort. Entering play today, he was — *checks* — **double-checks** — 25th (!) among all position-players by measure of fWAR. With ample cheap control remaining, he’s a heck of an asset, even if he is already 29 years of age.

    Shortstop, though, remained an evident conundrum for much of the year. Enter (okay, re-enter) Adalberto Mondesi. The 23-year-old, whose first MLB action improbably came in the 2015 World Series, is presently carrying a .284/.311/.467 slash with nine home runs and 25 steals in 241 plate appearances. He’s grading as an elite baserunner and high-quality defender at short, making him a potential core piece.

    White Sox: Eloy On The Cusp

    With apologies to Daniel Palka, Omar Narvaez, and Matt Davidson — nice seasons, all — the most notable development this year for the South Siders has occurred in their minor-league system. Many fans would like to see Eloy Jimenez in the majors right now, finishing off his spectacular campaign in style. Instead, they’ll have to wait until early 2019, though that also means their favorite club will control him for one more precious season.

    Jimenez, 21, made good on his top-prospect billing, turning in a monster .337/.384/.577 campaign in 456 plate appearances split evenly between the organization’s top two affiliates. That makes him one of the truly elite prospects in baseball and, quite possibly, the much-needed superstar of the future.

    Of course, there was a real shot that this nod would have gone to the pitching staff, but the hurlers just came up short. Michael Kopech’s otherwise promising campaign ended in agony, with Tommy John surgery. Reynaldo Lopez has settled in as a solid, but hardly dominant starter. And while Carlos Rodon’s return has been excellent in terms of results, his peripherals tell quite a different story.

    Tigers: Landing Mize

    No kidding, having the first pick the draft is a good thing. But it’s not every year — far from it — that a player like Casey Mize is there to be taken. Not only was Mize considered the top talent, he was also likely the most advanced player on the board.

    Shades of Stephen Strasburg? The Tigers have reason to hope. He’s already sitting at the #20 spot on MLB.com’s ranking of the top prospects in baseball, to cite but one account of the impact to a Tigers system that has had its share of questions in recent years. Of course, Mize is also now but one of several intriguing young hurlers percolating up toward the majors through Detroit’s minor league ranks.

    In a way, though, this is not quite the news you’d hope for. The Tigers’ MLB roster has obviously had its share of good news, including a strong year from Matt Boyd; continued success from Nicholas Castellanos (though he’s just one year from free agency); and the emergence of Niko Goodrum as a useful MLB asset. However, there hasn’t been much else to write home about otherwise at the major-league level. And a concerning season from Michael Fulmer and tepid output from Jeimer Candelario leave some cause for pessimism.

    Twins: Encouraging Arms

    In numerous ways, 2018 was quite a disappointment for a Minnesota organization that had designs on contention. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton not only failed to improve, but ended up on optional assignment. The team’s slate of short-term veteran signing fell way shy of delivering the anticipated value. Its leading hitter, Eduardo Escobar, was traded away months ago.

    But there was one area where things went just about as well as might have been hoped: the team’s group of controllable MLB rotation pieces. Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, and Jake Odorizzi have all been worth at least 2.5 fWAR and look to be quality values heading into 2019. Michael Pineda fully rehabbed from Tommy John surgery before being felled by a meniscus tear, so there’s good reason to think he’ll be at full health. And though well-regarded prospect Stephen Gonsalves struggled badly in brief MLB action, he just turned in a strong outing today and was rather dominant at Triple-A, working to a 2.76 ERA with 9.0 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9 (but only 5.7 hits per nine) in 120 2/3 innings. 23-year-old Fernando Romero, a highly regarded young right-hander, gave the team some reason for optimism as well, though his overall numbers are dragged down by one particularly catastrophic start (eight runs in 1 2/3 innings).

    It wasn’t all roses in the forward-looking portion of the pitching staff. Ervin Santana’s option doesn’t seem desirable. More worryingly, Adalberto Mejia was cut short due to injury in an otherwise promising season. And it’s not as if the showing from the above-noted hurlers was particularly exciting. More might have been hoped for from Berrios and Odorizzi.

    That said, it’s perhaps too easy to dismiss this kind of affordable productivity. Setting a sturdy baseline from the rotation is a notable development, particularly for an organization that must operate within spending limitations.

    Of course, finding star-level players is still of greater importance. And there were notable developments there for Minny. While the outlook on Sano and Buxton is nowhere near as promising as it once was, both still have future value. And there’s now a pair of elite prospects rising through the system. Both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff both landed among the twenty top minor-league performers in 2018 and are graded among the top twenty prospects in the game (see, e.g., “The Board” at Fangraphs). They’d have represented a worthy recipient of my “silver lining” label, to be sure, but neither is expected to be ready until 2020, so I’m taking the immediate value in the staff.

    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[The Top Minor League Performers Of 2018]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132681 2018-09-19T01:00:00Z 2018-09-18T23:15:05Z Over at Roster Resource, I rank Minor Leaguers throughout the regular season using a formula that takes into account several statistics with age and level serving as important factors in how they are weighed. These are not prospect rankings!

    This is how it works:

    • Hitters are mostly rated by total hits, outs, extra-base hits, walks, strikeouts and stolen bases.
    • Pitchers are mostly rated by strikeouts, walks, earned runs, home runs and hits allowed per inning.
    • A few counting stats are included (IP, plate appearances, runs, RBI) to ensure that the players atop the list played a majority of the season.
    • The younger the player and the higher the level, the more weight each category is given. Therefore, a 19-year-old with an identical stat line as a 25-year-old at the same level will be ranked much higher. If a 23-year-old in Triple-A puts up an identical stat line as a 23-year-old in High-A, the player in Triple-A would be ranked much higher.

    A player’s potential does not factor in to where they are ranked. If you’re wondering why a certain prospect who is rated highly by experts isn’t on the list, it’s likely because they missed time due to injury (see Victor Robles or Nick Senzel), MLB promotion (Juan Soto) or just weren’t productive enough. While there are plenty of recognizable names throughout the MiLB Power Rankings Top 200 list, it’s also full of players who were relatively unknown prior to the season and have seen their stock rise significantly due to their performance. Here’s a closer look at the Top 20.

    1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

    Guerrero probably deserved to start his MLB career sometime between the debuts of NL Rookie of the Year candidates Ronald Acuña Jr. (April 25th) and Juan Soto (May 20th). All things being equal, that would’ve been the case.

    But his call-up was delayed, mostly because third baseman Josh Donaldson was healthy in May and designated hitter Kendrys Morales was being given every opportunity to break out of an early season slump. As Guerrero’s path to regular playing time was becoming clearer, he suffered a knee injury in early June that kept him out of action for a month. When he returned, the Jays’ playoff chances had dwindled. Instead of adding him to the 40-man roster and starting his service time clock, they chose to delay his MLB debut until 2019.

    You can hate the rule, but I’m certain Jays fans would rather have Guerrero under team control in 2025 as opposed to having him on the team for a few meaningless months in 2018 and headed for free agency after the 2024 season. And maybe it’s just me, but I kind of enjoy seeing what kind of numbers a player can put up when he’s way too good for his competition. And all this 19-year-old kid did was slash .381/.437/.636 with 20 HR, 29 2B, 37 BB, 38 K in 408 plate appearances, mostly between Triple-A and Double-A (he had 14 PAs during a rehab stint in the low minors).  Thanks for providing us with that beautiful stat line, Vlad Jr.

    2. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros Astros Depth Chart

    Despite a slow start—he had 21 hits in his first 83 Triple-A at-bats with one homer and 20 strikeouts— the 21-year-old Tucker showed why the World Champions were willing to give him a chance to take their starting left field job and run with it in July.

    Tucker wasn’t quite ready for the Big Leagues—he was 8-for-52 in two separate MLB stints prior to a recent third call-up—but his stock hasn’t dropped one bit after slashing .332/.400/.590 with 24 homers, 27 doubles and 20 stolen bases over 465 plate appearances in his first season at the Triple-A level.

    3. Luis Rengifo, SS, Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

    A 21-year-old shortstop just finished a Minor League season with 50 extra-base hits (7 HR, 30 2B, 13 3B), 41 stolen bases, as many walks as strikeouts (75 of each) and a .299/.399/.452 slash line. If the name Luis Rengifo doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably not alone. He kind of came out of nowhere.

    The Mariners traded him to the Rays last August in a deal for Mike Marjama and Ryan Garton. Nine months later, the Rays shipped him to the Angels as the PTBNL in the deal for C.J. Cron. Based on those two trades, I can say without hesitation that the Mariners and Rays did not think Rengifo was this good. Not even close.

    4. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

    Lowe’s breakout season mirrors Juan Soto’s in one way: They both posted an OPS above 1.000 at two different levels before a promotion to a third. Soto’s third stop was in Double-A, and it was a very short stint before heading to the Majors. After destroying High-A and Double-A pitching, Lowe’s final stop of 2018 was Triple-A, where he finally cooled off.

    Still, the 23-year-old has put himself squarely on the Rays’ radar. After homering just 11 times in his first 757 plate appearances, all in the low minors, Lowe broke out with 27 homers and 32 doubles in 555 plate appearances in 2018. His overall .330/.416/.568 slash was exceptional.

    5. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins | Twins Depth Chart

    We’re four seasons into the Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano era—both debuted during the 2015 season—and we can’t say for certain whether either player will even be penciled into the regular lineup in 2019. They could be still turn out to be perennial All-Stars someday. But you can’t blame Twins fans if they temper their expectations for the next great hitting star to come up through their farm system. And yet, that might be difficult with Kirilloff, a first-round draft pick in ’16, and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Royce Lewis, after the year each of them just had. Both are moving up the ladder quickly.

    The 20-year-old Kirilloff, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, was a hitting machine in his first full professional season. After slashing .333/.391/.607 with 13 homers in 65 games with Low-A Cedar Rapids, he hit .362 with seven homers and 24 doubles in 65 games with High-A Fort Myers. He also had 11 hits in the playoffs, including a 5-hit performance on September 5th.

    6. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

    All Bichette did during his age-20 season was hit 43 doubles and steal 32 bases while manning shortstop for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the 2018 Eastern League Champions. It’s unlikely that he’ll join Vlad Jr. in the Majors early next season, but he might not be too far behind.

    7. Peter Alonso, 1B, New York Mets Mets Depth Chart

    Alonso’s monster season (.975 OPS, 36 HR, 31 2B, 119 RBI between AAA/AA) ended in disappointment when he was passed over for a September promotion. As was the case with Vlad Jr., it didn’t make much sense to start his service time clock and fill a valuable 40-man spot during the offseason—neither Guerrero or Alonso have to be protected from the next Rule 5 draft—while the team is playing meaningless games. The 23-year-old Alonso did establish, however, that he is the Mets’ first baseman of the very near future, and they’ll plan accordingly during the upcoming offseason.

    8. Touki Toussaint, SP, Atlanta Braves Braves Depth Chart

    As tough as it will be to crack the Braves’ rotation in the coming years, the 22-year-old Toussaint has put himself in position to play a significant role in 2019 after posting a 2.38 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in 24 starts between Triple-A and Double-A. He’s also starting meaningful MLB games down the stretch as the Braves try to seal their first division title since 2013. After spending last October in the Arizona Fall League, where he followed up an underwhelming 2017 season by allowing 10 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, he could find himself on the Braves’ playoff roster.

    9. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

    The highest-ranked player to spend the entire season in Low-A, the 20-year-old Brujan slashed .320/.403/.459 while stealing 55 bases in his first crack at a full season league (27 games in High-A; 95 games in Low-A). He’ll still be overshadowed a bit in a deep Tampa Bay farm system that includes two of the best young prospects in the game, Wander Franco and Jesus Sanchez, but it’s hard to ignore such a rare combination of speed and on-base ability displayed by a switch-hitting middle infielder.

    10. Michael King, SP, New York Yankees Yankees Depth Chart

    The Yankees’ offseason trade that sent two MLB-ready players, Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith, to the Marlins cleared a pair of 40-man roster spots prior to the Rule 5 draft and brought back $250K in international bonus pool money. They also received King, who—whether anyone expected it or not—was about to have a breakout season.

    After posting a 3.14 ERA with a 6.4 K/9 over 149 innings in Low-A in his age-22 season, numbers that typically indicate “possible future back-of-the-rotation workhorse,”  he looks to be much more than that after his 2018 performance. In 161 1/3 innings across Triple-A, Double-A and High-A, King posted a 1.79 ERA, 0.911 WHIP and 8.5 K/9. He was at his best once he reached Triple-A, posting a 1.15 ERA with only 20 hits and six walks allowed over 39 innings.

    11. Taylor Widener, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Depth Chart

    Unlike the trade to acquire King, the Yankees appear to have gotten the short end of the stick in a three-team, seven-player offseason deal with Arizona and Tampa Bay. They traded away Nick Solak to the Rays and Widener to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Brandon Drury, who was supposed to fill a short-term need for infield depth.

    While Drury was a bust in New York—he had nine hits in 51 at-bats before being traded to Toronto in a July deal for J.A. Happ—Solak, a second baseman/outfielder, put up terrific numbers in Double-A (.834 OPS, 19 HR, 21 SB) and Widener has emerged as one of the better pitching prospects in the game. The 23-year-old right-hander posted a 2.75 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 11.5 K/9 over 137 1/6 innings with Double-A Jackson.

    12. Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, San Diego Padres Padres Depth Chart

    The offseason signing of first baseman Eric Hosmer certainly didn’t bode well for Naylor’s future with the Padres. Whether he had an MLB future at all, however, was already in question. First base prospects can’t just be good hitters. They need to mash, which is far from what Naylor did in 2017 (.761 OPS, 10 HR between Double-A and High-A). But a 20-year-old holding his own in Double-A is still interesting, nevertheless. So it was worth paying attention when he hit .379 with seven homers, five doubles, 13 walks and 12 strikeouts in April. He also spent most of his time in left field in 2018, adding a bit of versatility to his game.

    Although April was his best month, by far, he still finished with an impressive .297/.383/.447 slash line. He’ll enter 2019 as a 21-year-old in Triple-A who has flashed some power (17 HR, 22 2B in 574 plate appearances) and above-average plate discipline (64 BB, 69 K).

    13. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

    Unlike the Jays and Mets, who had multiple reasons to keep Guerrero and Alonso in the Minors until 2019, the Sox’s decision to bypass Jimenez for a September call-up was more questionable.

    Already on the 40-man roster and without much to prove after slashing .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers and 28 doubles between Triple-A and Double-A, Jimenez’s MLB debut appeared imminent as September approached. But White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, citing Jimenez’s need to improve his defense, confirmed in early September that he would not be called up. Of course, the 21-year-old probably would’ve benefited greatly from playing left field in the Majors for 20-25 games in September. And, of course, Hahn is just doing a good job of not saying the quiet part out loud: Eloy under team control through 2025 > Eloy under team control through 2024.

    14. Dean Kremer, SP, Baltimore Orioles Orioles Depth Chart

    After posting a 5.18 ERA in 2017, mostly as a relief pitcher in High-A, Kremer’s stock rose quickly with a full-time move to the starting rotation in 2018. In 16 starts for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, the 22-year-old right-hander posted a 3.30 ERA with a 13.0 K/9. After tossing seven shutout innings in his Double-A debut, the Dodgers included him as a key piece in the July trade for Manny Machado. Kremer continued to pitch well with Double-A Bowie (2.58 ERA, 45 1/3 IP, 38 H, 17 BB, 53 K) and now finds himself on track to help a rebuilding Orioles’ team in 2019.

    15. Nicky Lopez, SS, Kansas City Royals Royals Depth Chart

    Lopez started to turn some heads during last offseason’s Arizona Fall League, and it carried over into 2018 as he slashed .308/.382/.417 with nine homers, 15 stolen bases and more walks (60) than strikeouts (52) between Triple-A and Double-A.  It’s a sign that the 23-year-0ld’s bat is catching up with his stellar defense and that he’s closing in on the Majors, where he could team with Adalberto Mondesi to form one of the better young middle infield duos in the game.

    16. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins Twins Depth Chart

    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft didn’t disappoint in his first full professional season, posting an .853 OPS, nine homers, 23 doubles and 22 stolen bases in 75 Low-A games before a 2nd half promotion to High-A Fort Myers. He didn’t fare quite as well (.726 OPS, 5 HR, 6 SB in 46 games), but he did hit three homers in the playoffs to help his team win the Florida State League championship. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the if he reached Double-A early next season as a 19-year-old with a jump to the Majors in 2020 not out of the question.

    17. Michael Kopech, SP, Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

    Throwing a 100 MPH fastball isn’t as rare as it used to be, but Kopech has reportedly touched 105 MPH, putting him in a class of his own. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old right-hander is expected to join a long list of pitchers who have had their careers interrupted by Tommy John surgery after he was recently diagnosed with a torn UCL.

    The timing isn’t great, as Kopech had just arrived in the Majors in late August and would’ve likely been a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year in 2019. Still, he’ll only have to prove that he’s back to full health before he returns to the Majors—he should be ready to return early in the 2020 season— after making a strong impression in Triple-A with a 3.70 ERA and 12.1 K/9 in 24 starts.

    18. Kevin Smith, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

    Not only do Guerrero, Bichette and Cavan Biggio likely form the best trio of infield prospects in the game, two are sons of Hall of Famers—Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Craig Biggio, and Bichette’s dad, Dante, was also pretty good. And yet, another Blue Jays infield prospect with a very ordinary name and without MLB lineage managed to stand out. The 22-year-old finished the season with 25 homers, 31 doubles, 29 stolen bases and a cumulative .302/.358/.528 batting line between High-A and Low-A.

    19. Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers Depth Chart

    The former first-round pick wasn’t overly impressive in his first full Minor League season in 2017, slashing .244/.331/.362 with seven homers and 27 stolen bases for Low-A Great Lakes. A move to the hitter-friendly California League in 2018, however, seemed sure to give his offensive numbers a boost. It did. Lux had a .916 OPS and 41 extra-base hits in 404 plate appearances, but he also didn’t slow down once he reached the upper minors late in the year.

    In 28 regular season games with Double-A Tulsa, the 20-year-old Lux slashed .324/.408/.495 with four homers in 120 plate appearances. It didn’t end there. Over an eight-game playoff run, the left-handed batter went 14-for-33 with five multi-hit games.

    20. Patrick Sandoval, SP, Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

    Acquiring the 21-year-old Sandoval from the Astros for free agent-to-be catcher Martin Maldonado could turn out to be the steal of the trade deadline. While the lefty didn’t stand out in Houston’s deep farm system, he was having a strong season at the High-A and Low-A levels at the time of the trade (2.56 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 88 innings). The change of scenery didn’t affect him one bit as he tossed 14 2/3 shutout innings in the California League before finishing the season with four impressive Double-A starts (19 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 27 K).

    Power Ranking Leaders By Level

    Hitter: Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
    Starting Pitcher: Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox
    Relief Pitcher: Ian Gibaut, Tampa Bay Rays

    Hitter: Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
    Starting Pitcher: Taylor Widener, Arizona Diamondbacks
    Relief Pitcher: Matt Pierpont, Colorado Rockies

    Hitter: Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies
    Pitcher: Emilio Vargas, Arizona Diamondbacks

    Hitter: Chavez Young, Toronto Blue Jays
    Pitcher: Jhonathan Diaz, Boston Red Sox

    Short-Season A
    Hitter: Tyler Freeman, Cleveland Indians
    Pitcher: Jaison Vilera, New York Mets

    Hitter: Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
    Pitcher: Joey Cantillo, San Diego Padres

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Prospect Notes: Vlad, 2018 Draftees, Twins, Franco, Pitchers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132744 2018-09-13T16:54:45Z 2018-09-13T16:54:22Z With the season effectively over for all but a few teams, many front offices and fanbases alike are turning their sights toward the 2019 season and beyond as they hope for better days. With that in mind, here’s a look at some notes on some of the game’s top prospects from around the league…

    • ESPN’s Keith Law named Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. his prospect of the year for a second consecutive season (subscription required), citing familiar questions about his long-term defensive capabilities but adding that there’s “zero question in my mind” that Guerrero is more than ready to thrive against Major League pitching at the moment. As for 2018 draftees, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Gorman and Royals lefty Daniel Lynch have been the two most impressive in his estimation. Gorman destroyed Appalachian League pitching and was promoted to full-season Class-A ball despite only having turned 18 in May. Lynch, a University of Virginia product, split his pro debut between those same two levels and pitched to a 1.58 ERA with a 61-to-8 K/BB ratio in 51 1/3 innings.
    • Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com took a longer-term look at prospects yesterday, attempting to forecast who will be the top-ranked prospects this time a year from now. With names like Guerrero, Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kyle Tucker all expected to graduate from prospect lists next year, Callis and Mayo tab Twins shortstop Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick from 2017, as their pick to be the game’s top prospect a year from now. More encouraging for Twins fans is that 2016 first-rounder and outfielder Alex Kirilloff, who missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, lands third on the same list after hitting .348/.392/.578 between Class-A and Class-A Advanced in his return from that surgery.
    • Meanwhile, Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser writes that Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been tabbed as BA’s breakout prospect of 2018. (Franco also appears on the previously mentioned lists from Law and MLB.com.) The 17-year-old Franco grew up living next to Indians superstar Jose Ramirez in the Dominican Republic and calls his childhood neighbor and friend his “idol” and greatest influence as a hitter. Glaser speaks to Franco about his relationship with Ramirez and his progress in 2018, and he also chats with Franco’s Appalachian League manager, Danny Sheaffer, about the young phenom’s strengths and upside. Franco was one of just two 17-year-olds playing in the Appy League this year but crushed older pitching to the tune of a .351/.418/.587 slash with 11 homers, 10 doubles and seven triples in 273 plate appearances.
    • Evaluating pitching prospects is among the most challenging endeavors for teams and online analysts alike. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently explored the pitfalls of attempting to do so, suggesting that many mainstream publications (his own past work at Fangraphs included) have leaned too heavily in favor of “power-over-feel” prospects and downplayed the potential significance of players cut from the Shane Bieber cloth — those who possess above-average command and stuff but perhaps not an overpowering arsenal of 60- or 70-grade offerings. McDaniel highlights Tigers righty Matt Manning, White Sox righty Dylan Cease and Rays lefty/first baseman Brendan McKay in examining the various elements that have contributed to this line of thinking in an interesting column that those who avidly follow prospects will want to check out in its entirety.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Release Eric Stout]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132603 2018-09-12T20:19:49Z 2018-09-12T20:19:25Z Sept. 12: Stout has cleared waivers and is now a free agent, the team announced.

    Sept. 10: The Royals announced Monday that they’ve requested unconditional release waivers on left-handed reliever Eric Stout. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment last week when Kansas City claimed Ben Lively off outright waivers from the Phillies.

    Stout had a brief run in the Majors with the Royals earlier this season, but he as hammered for seven runs (six earned) in 2 1/3 innings.  His struggles extended to Triple-A Omaha, where he pitched to a 4.75 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9 and a 37.8 percent grounder rate through 55 innings. Lefties have posted a .725 OPS against Stout between the Majors and Minors this season, but he held left-handed opponents to a terrible .193/.264/.301 batting line with a 22.5 percent strikeout rate and a 7.5 percent walk rate in Omaha a year ago.

    The decision to release Stout stems from the fact that he was on the minor league disabled list at the time the Royals decided they needed a roster spot to claim Lively. Injured players can’t be run through outright waivers during the season, so Stout will instead be released if and when he clears release waivers. At that point, common for players in these situations to re-sign a new minor league deal, though Stout will also have the opportunity to explore the market and field interest from 29 other teams.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Interested In Royals' Sharp For GM Opening]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132672 2018-09-12T00:11:18Z 2018-09-12T00:11:18Z
  • Royals assistant GM Scott Sharp has also had his name come up in numerous reports over the past week (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick). He’s been with the Royals for more than a decade and has some background in scouting, analytics and business, which could make him somewhat of a compromise between the Wilpons’ disparate preferences, though certainly other candidates would be able to bring a similar combination to the table for the Mets as well.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Heyman: Royals Plan To Offer Ned Yost One-Year Extension]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132482 2018-09-08T21:59:48Z 2018-09-08T21:59:48Z
  • Royals general manager Dayton Moore said back in April that the team wants skipper Ned Yost around beyond this season. At 46-94, the Royals have since endured a horrific campaign. Nevertheless, Yost remains in their plans, Heyman reports, adding that they plan to offer him a one-year extension. Whether Yost wants to keep the job for 2019, when he’ll turn 64 years old, isn’t yet clear. Yost is in his ninth season as the Royals’ manager, with the team’s World Series title in 2015 serving as the crowning achievement of his tenure.

  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Claim Ben Lively, Designate Eric Stout For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132329 2018-09-05T19:06:20Z 2018-09-05T18:49:04Z The Royals have claimed right-hander Ben Lively off waivers from the Phillies, according to an announcement from both teams. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals have designated left-hander Eric Stout for assignment.

    Lively, 26, will give the Royals yet another arm to evaluate as they stockpile potential rotation pieces for the 2019 season and beyond. The right-hander, originally acquired by the Phils in the 2014 trade that sent Marlon Byrd to the Reds, has a minor league option remaining beyond the current season, so the Royals will be able to shuttle him back and forth between Omaha and the Majors next year — in the event that Lively survives the offseason on Kansas City’s 40-man roster.

    It’s been a tough season for Lively, who has missed time with a shoulder injury. He’s been hit hard to the tune of a 6.85 ERA in a tiny sample of 23 2/3 Major League innings this season, though his Triple-A work — 2.42 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.52 HR/9, 42.3 percent ground-ball rate in 52 innings — has been decidedly more encouraging. Lively ranked in the bottom half of the Phillies’ top 30 prospects in 2016-17, per Baseball America, drawing praise as a potential fifth starter at the big league level with average to fringe-average stuff across the board.

    Lively has a 2.97 ERA in 266 2/3 career innings of Triple-A work, making him a more or less MLB-ready asset on which the Royals are taking a chance. He also turned in a 4.26 ERA with less-encouraging peripheral marks through 88 2/3 innings with the Phils last season. The move to the American League probably won’t help Lively much, though he’s going from a homer-friendly home setting, Citizens Bank Park, to a fairly cavernous one in Kauffman Stadium.

    Stout, 25, was beat up for seven runs (six earned) in just 2 1/3 innings with the Royals earlier this season. Though he posted solid bottom-line numbers at Triple-A in 2017, his pedestrian K/BB numbers, low ground-ball rate and good fortune on homers allowed contributed to an FIP (4.24) and xFIP (5.26) that were markedly higher than last season’s 2.99 ERA. Through 55 Triple-A frames in 2018, he has indeed regressed, working to a 4.75 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9 and a 37.8 percent grounder rate. Lefties have posted a .725 OPS against Stout between the Majors and Minors this season, though to his credit, he held same-handed opponents to a putrid .193/.264/.301 slash with a 22.5 percent strikeout rate against a 7.5 percent walk rate in Omaha a year ago.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Danny Duffy Shut Down For Remainder Of Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132312 2018-09-05T15:05:44Z 2018-09-05T15:01:40Z Sept. 5: Manager Ned Yost confirmed that Duffy’s season is over, Flanagan tweets. With the team’s most veteran arm done for the year, Jakob Junis will be the most experienced arm heading up a six-man rotation. Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer, Jorge Lopez, Eric Skoglund and Glenn Sparkman could all be in line for starts down the stretch.

    [Related: Kansas City Royals depth chart]

    Sept. 4: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy exited tonight’s start after being charged with three runs in just two-thirds of an inning, with the team later announcing that he exited due to a left shoulder impingement. Following the game, Duffy told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com that he expects to be shut down for the rest of the season (Twitter link).

    While there’s been no formal declaration from the team just yet, the Royals have every reason to exercise caution. Kansas City was mathematically eliminated from postseason contention quite some time ago and was never considered a contender heading into the season. Duffy is quite arguably the team’s most important starter, as he’s owed $46MM from 2019-21 as part of a five-year, $65MM contract extension he signed prior to the 2017 season. He already missed 10 days due to a left shoulder impingement last month, and he’d struggled for much of the season even before landing on the disabled list.

    Duffy, 29, was the Royals’ best starter from 2016-17 but saw his ERA balloon to 4.88 following today’s ugly outing. His strikeout rate has remained in line with his mark from 2017, but Duffy’s walk, home-run, ground-ball, line-drive, hard-contact and swinging-strike rates have all gone in the wrong direction. Prior to tonight’s start, Statcast measured the average exit velocity of balls in play against Duffy to be up by 2.1 mph from 2017 — further lending credence to the notion that he’s surrendering far too much hard contact on the season.

    Had Duffy been healthier in 2018, he’d no doubt have seen his name kicked around the rumor circuit in the weeks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline — and possibly even into the month of August. However, there’s little reason to think the Royals would even entertain the thought of selling low on Duffy. In fact, the Royals may not even be eyeing as lengthy of a rebuild as was once expected. General manager Dayton Moore told the Kansas City Star’s Maria Torres back in late July that he and his front office deliberately targeted upper-level prospects in some of this summer’s trades, hoping to infuse some youth into the roster and to put together a more competitive club as soon as 2019 or 2020.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Duffy Exits With Shoulder Impingement; Phillips Day-To-Day With Contusion]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132306 2018-09-05T02:16:58Z 2018-09-05T02:16:58Z
  • The Royals announced tonight that left-hander Danny Duffy exited tonight’s start with a shoulder impingement and shoulder tightness. Further details haven’t yet been made available, but Duffy already missed 10 days last month due to an impingement in his left shoulder, making continued symptoms all the more troubling. The 28-year-old lefty lasted just two-thirds of an inning and saw was charged with three runs, causing his ERA to balloon to 4.88 on the year. Center fielder Brett Phillips, meanwhile, was announced as day-to-day with a shoulder contusion after crashing into the outfield wall at top speed.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jorge Soler May Be Done For Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=132059 2018-09-02T17:25:55Z 2018-09-02T17:24:21Z Royals outfielder Jorge Soler suffered a setback in his rehab from a foot injury, and the team will shut him down for an undisclosed period of time, manager Ned Yost told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com and other reporters on Sunday. With only a few weeks left on the schedule, it’s possible Soler’s season is over, Flanagan notes.

    Soler last played in the majors on June 15, when he incurred a left foot fracture, though the Royals’ hope was that he’d return in August. Instead, the 26-year-old’s big league campaign may conclude with 257 plate appearances and a terrific .265/.354/.466 batting line. Soler also chipped in nine home runs and a .202 ISO while cutting his strikeout rate to 26.8 percent (compared to 32.7 in 2017). Statcast data suggests Soler’s success this season hasn’t been a fluke, as there’s little difference between his expected weighted on-base average (.359) and his real wOBA (.355).

    In terms of bottom-line results, this has been a rough year for the rebuilding Royals, who own the majors’ second-worst record (44-91). Soler’s production counts as a rare bright spot, especially after he endured a difficult first year with the organization in 2017. Soler – whom the Royals acquired from the Cubs for closer Wade Davis in December 2016 – spent the majority of last year in the minors, playing just 35 games in Kansas City. But Soler worked diligently over the winter to improve, as Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star detailed in February, and that effort did yield positive results prior to his injury.

    With his season potentially over, Soler will have to make a key financial decision during the winter.  While the Cuba native is still on the nine-year, $30MM deal he signed in 2012 with the Cubs, he’ll have a chance to opt into arbitration in the offseason. Soler’s currently slated to make $4MM in 2019, and thanks to his injury, he may be better served taking that guaranteed sum than testing arbitration.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=131982 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of MLB.com).
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[August 31st Trade Deadline Recap]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=131979 2018-09-01T16:35:07Z 2018-09-01T15:42:28Z A flurry of activity came yesterday in advance of the deadline to acquire postseason-eligible players via trade. In case you weren’t able to keep track of it all, here’s a roundup of the swaps made by MLB organizations on August 31st, 2018, sorted by the team on the acquiring end of the major-leaguer involved.

    AL West

    AL Central

    • The Indians acquired Josh Donaldson from the Blue Jays. Toronto will send $2.7MM to Cleveland as well, and they’ll get back a player to be named later, the quality of which will be dependent upon how Donaldson’s health situation progresses.

    AL East

    • The Yankees took Adeiny Hechavarria off the Pirates’ hands in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. It’s not yet known how much cash the Bucs will chip in to help pay the ~$1MM still owed to Hechavarria.
    • The Yankees also pried Andrew McCutchen from the Giants. San Francisco gets infield prospect Abiatal Avelino and right-handed pitching prospect Juan De Paula.

    NL West

    NL Central

    NL East

    • (No trades)
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Acquire Drew Butera]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=131815 2018-08-31T17:24:36Z 2018-08-31T17:02:18Z The Rockies announced Friday that they’ve acquired veteran catcher Drew Butera and cash from the Royals in exchange for minor league left-hander Jerry Vasto.

    Butera, 35, has been the primary backup to Kansas City mainstay Salvador Perez for the past three seasons and will bring nine years of MLB experience to the Rockies’ roster. He’s hitting .188/.259/.289 through 166 plate appearances this season and is a lifetime .201/.258/.298 batter between the Royals, Angels, Dodgers and Twins.

    While he’s clearly never been much of a threat with the bat, Butera has a strong defensive reputation, even if his performance in 2018 has been more questionable in that regard. He’s prevented 30 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in his career but has seen that number plummet to 13 percent in 2018. He’s been a quality pitch-framer in the past as well, but Baseball Prospectus grades his efforts in that regard to be below average this season.

    Butera inked a two-year, $3.8MM contract with the Royals prior to the 2017 season and will be a free agent following the current campaign. He’s earning $2.3MM this year and is still owed about $381K of that sum through the end of the year. He becomes the latest backup catcher to swap hands in the past 48 hours, as each of Rene Rivera, Chris Stewart, Bobby Wilson and Chris Gimenez have also changed hands with teams looking to add veteran catching help in advance of expanded September rosters.

    Vasto, 26, made his MLB debut with the Rockies earlier this year but appeared in just one game and tossed only two-thirds of an inning. He was hit hard in his first season of Triple-A duty in 2017 but has turned in considerably more promising results in 2018: a 3.16 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9 and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate in 37 innings. He’ll give the Royals a controllable left-handed option for their bullpen. Because his contract was only selected this season, he comes with the added bonus of having multiple minor league options remaining beyond the 2018 campaign.