With the Dodgers trying to stay under the $197MM competitive-balance tax threshold and unsure if they’ll contend this year, they’re not in position to act aggressively on the trade market, says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Given that the athletic Cody Bellinger may be a better fit in center field than at first base, Rosenthal notes that Los Angeles looks like a fit on paper for White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. However, Abreu is making $13MM – a salary which would be problematic for the tax-minded Dodgers, whose payroll is just above $186MM – and Rosenthal points out that the club may be more focused on bolstering its pitching if it does look to upgrade its roster via trade. The Dodgers’ staff might have taken yet another costly hit Saturday when left-hander Rich Hill exited his start after throwing a mere two pitches, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times was among those to report. Hill’s longstanding blister issues may have led to his departure, McCullough suggests.
Here’s more from the NL West:
- The Giants are considering using big-bodied corner infielder Pablo Sandoval at second base, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle relays. Sandoval has been taking grounders recently at the keystone with guidance from infield coach Ron Wotus, who said that the longtime third baseman “looks good. He has quick feet and good hands. So far, so good.” San Francisco’s in position to ponder this experiment because second basemen Joe Panik and Alen Hanson are on the disabled list. Moreover, Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez haven’t been particularly effective at the plate, while the 31-year-old Sandoval has hit a solid .270/.329/.429 in 70 PAs. That represents Sandoval’s best production in several years, though it’s obviously too soon to determine whether the Panda’s truly turning back into a useful hitter.
- Padres reliever Kirby Yates has emerged as one of the best waiver pickups in recent memory, thanks in part to the development of a splitter, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com writes. Yates, whom San Diego claimed from the Angels in April 2017, has posted a 3.06 ERA with 13.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 70 2/3 innings as a Padre. The club can take some credit for Yates’ breakout, as it has encouraged the 31-year-old to use his splitter – a pitch he has tossed 32 percent of the time this season en route to dominant results, Cassavell details. “The Angels didn’t want me to get away from the slider,” Yates told Cassavell. “I wasn’t necessarily going to get away from the slider, but I was trying to add a third pitch. When I got here, it was, ’We like your split, we want you to throw it more.’“
- Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz’s minors pact with the Diamondbacks comes with a prorated $1.6MM major league salary, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic tweets. Buchholz will begin earning that sum Sunday when he makes a start against the Mets. It’ll be the 33-year-old’s first MLB appearance since April 11, 2017.