- The Yankees will be willing to deal pending free agents Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran if they’re not in serious contention for a playoff spot by the August 1 deadline, Rosenthal says. They do not want to trade Andrew Miller right now, however. It’s also possible they could deal starting pitchers like CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda, but they are not in active discussions to sell right now and they could wait to deal members of that trio this offseason, since all are under control in 2017.
- The Marlins would deal Adeiny Hechavarria and replace him at shortstop with Miguel Rojas if they could get a top starter like Chris Archer of the Rays in return, Rosenthal says. From this vantage point, that sounds like a lot to ask for a shortstop who has hit .238/.274/.336 this season (although Hechavarria is a stellar defender), and one would think Hechavarria would have limited value in a deal for an ace, even as part of a package. Rosenthal unsurprisingly notes that the Rays aren’t interested in trading Archer for a package that has Hechavarria as its centerpiece. The Marlins are also very interested in Archer’s fellow Rays starters Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore, although their weak minor league system poses difficulties in lining up a trade.
- The Rockies don’t seem overly motivated to trade Carlos Gonzalez and have passed on opportunities to do so, Rosenthal says. Gonzalez’s contract runs through 2017, coinciding with the end of GM Jeff Bridich’s deal, and Rosenthal implies it might be in Bridich’s best interest to keep Gonzalez around to increase the Rockies’ chances of being competitive until then.
- The Tigers aren’t likely to make big moves before the deadline, with a large payroll that will limit their flexibility and a number of tough-to-move contracts on the books. They could, however, become a seller if they do especially poorly in the next two weeks, potentially dealing Francisco Rodriguez and/or other relievers.
- Braves GM John Coppolella continues to insist his team will not deal Julio Teheran, Rosenthal says. Coppolella believes Teheran (who is under team control through 2020) can be a key player on the next contending Braves team, although he acknowledges that won’t happen this season.
The Astros will not be calling up Alex Bregman to join the team in Seattle this weekend, manager A.J. Hinch said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). A report from last night indicated that Bregman was “expected” to be promoted right out of the gate following the All-Star break, but Hinch’s more definitive comments put that rumor to bed for the time being. The Houston skipper does note that Bregman can help his team at some point in the second half and even went so far as to specify “probably in the near future.” The 2015 No. 2 overall pick is hitting .309/.416/.603 with 19 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this season and homered five times while posting a 1.310 in eight Triple-A games following his recent promotion to the top minor league level.
A few more notes from the American League…
- The scouting community seems to like the way that righties Michael Pineda of the Yankees and Matt Shoemaker of the Angels are throwing, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The pair has produced results of late, and could factor into the summer trade market, though neither seems particularly likely to change hands. From my perspective, New York will likely place a high value on Pineda, who can help keep the dreams of contention alive this year and next. And that may be even more true of the Halos and Shoemaker, given that the organization has been hit hard by pitching injuries and badly needs just that sort of controllable arm.
- The Tigers announced today that outfielder Anthony Gose has served a three-game suspension for his scuffle with Triple-A skipper Lloyd McClendon. Additionally, Gose will be demoted from Triple-A to Double-A to begin the second half of the season. GM Al Avila did make clear that he expects Gose to begin moving back toward the majors with the organization.
- Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin has been a new hitter since returning to the Majors after a demotion to Triple-A earlier this year, and Fangraphs’ August Fagerstrom attempts to identify the reasons behind his improvement. As Fagerstrom notes, Naquin followed similar changes to those made by Jake Lamb prior to his breakout, going from an upright stance to a more crouched stance in the box and also dropping his hands. The result was a player that, incredibly, led all of Major League Baseball in slugging percentage on low pitches. While Naquin has still struggled some with pitches up in the zone (and above it), he’s more than tripled his walk rate and significantly cut back on his strikeouts. Fagerstrom notes that there’s no way that Naquin can sustain the astonishing level of power he’s shown — he’s hitting .313/.394/.708 since his recall — but Naquin looks like a legitimate entrant into the AL Rookie of the Year mix and dramatically lessens the Indians’ need to seek an outfield upgrade on the trade market even if his .418 BABIP is destined to come back down to earth.
Surprisingly, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has revived his career to the point that he might actually have value in a trade, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The soon-to-be 36-year-old has bounced back from multiple underwhelming seasons in a row to post an excellent 3.17 ERA in 76 2/3 innings in 2016, through his strikeout and walk ratios per nine innings (7.16 and 3.52) are each below average and he’s on a $25MM salary through 2017. In addition to Sabathia, hot-hitting 39-year-old right fielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran, left fielder Brett Gardner, catcher Brian McCann, third baseman Chase Headley, and starters Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi are Yankees who could have value around the deadline (not to mention their much-ballyhooed relievers, of course). The only member of that group who’s set to become a free agent at season’s end is Beltran. As Cafardo points out, it’s currently up in the air whether the playoff hopeful Yankees would move any of these players, though he wonders if clinging to postseason dreams is the right course for the 39-41 club.
More inside stuff from Cafardo:
- Led by former Rays general manager and current president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers are in pursuit of Tampa Bay right-hander Chris Archer. The Rays aren’t planning on moving the 27-year-old as of now, though, which backs up FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s report from Saturday.
- The presence of senior vice president of baseball operations Frank Wren, formerly the Braves’ GM, could lead the Red Sox to go after Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran. Wren – who’s high on Teheran – is Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski’s right-hand man, Cafardo notes, and could push him toward putting together a package for the 25-year-old.
- If they’re unable to swing a deal for Teheran, the Red Sox might turn their attention to Rays southpaw Matt Moore – in whom they’re interested. Moore, who has three more years of team control left via club options, also intrigues the Astros, Dodgers, Orioles, Royals, Yankees and previously reported Rangers.
- With the possible exception of right-handed reliever Zach McAllister, the Indians aren’t going to give up pitching to augment their offense. Further, the organization has a reputation for keeping its payroll low and avoiding big-money acquisitions, which could take it out of the running to pick up a well-compensated trade chip. Athletics third baseman Danny Valencia, who’s on an affordable $3.15MM salary this season and has another trip through arbitration scheduled, is a potential target for Cleveland.
- Hard-throwing Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray, who’s eighth in the majors in K/9 (10.42), is drawing interest from teams looking for starters. The 24-year-old has thrown 214 innings of 4.00 ERA ball dating to 2015 and won’t even become eligible for arbitration until after 2017, meaning he has four full seasons of club control remaining.
- The Marlins are aggressively pursuing pitching, as evidenced already by their acquisition of reliever Fernando Rodney and reported interest in starters Drew Pomeranz and Jake Odorizzi. However, the Fish might not have the prospects to land a significant arm for their rotation, writes Cafardo.
- Blue Jays scouts are keeping a close watch over the Astros’ system, so the two AL playoff contenders could have some kind of deal in the works.
Phillies right-hander Vincent Velasquez and his agent, Scott Boras, have talked about an innings limit for this season, the 24-year-old told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “The agents and I discussed it a little bit, but I don’t know the definite answer, an exact amount of innings. I don’t know, I’d want to say roughly like maybe 150 or something, maybe 160 tops,” said Velasquez, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a strained right biceps. “I would say, philosophically, we’re probably in the same ballpark,” stated team president Andy MacPhail. Velasquez has never racked up more than 124 2/3 innings in a season, as Zolecki notes, and was up to 61 2/3 frames this year before landing on the DL. The hard-throwing Velasquez recorded a 3.65 ERA, 10.65 K/9 and 3.21 BB/9 over that 12-start span, further establishing himself as one of baseball’s most exciting young starters, so it’s no surprise that both Boras and the rebuilding Phillies want to protect the ex-Astro.
Here’s more from MLB’s two East divisions:
- With Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan nearing a return from a neck strain and the out-of-options Sandy Leon swinging a red-hot bat, 25-year-old backstop Christian Vazquez’s playing time and-or roster spot could soon be in jeopardy, per Scott Lauber of ESPN.com. Vazquez has graded well as a pitch framer this year and has caught a solid 7 of 18 would-be base stealers, but he has offset his terrific defense with an anemic .215/.255/.302 batting line and one home run in 157 plate appearances. That adds up to a 41 wRC+, the third-worst mark among catchers with at least 150 PAs.
- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has rebounded from a nightmarish two-month start to put up sterling numbers in June, with a 3.00 ERA, 37 strikeouts and five walks in 30 innings, and could be pitching his way into the team’s long-term plans, opines Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. That’s not a decision the Yankees will have to make immediately, though, as Pineda isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until the end of the 2017 season. Since recovering from a torn labrum and debuting with the Yankees in 2014, the former Mariner has amassed 320 1/3 innings of 4.08 ERA ball to accompany an excellent 6.45 K/BB ratio and a respectable 45 percent ground-ball rate. Similar production going forward should lead to an appreciable raise for the 27-year-old, who’s making $4.3MM this season.
- “Mental confusion” is what caused the Mets to demote left fielder Michael Conforto to Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday, manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Adam Rubin of ESPN.com (video link). “I just want him to go get some confidence and get back here,” continued Collins. After hitting a videogamelike .365/.442/.676 in 86 April PAs, Conforto, 23, has since collected just 21 hits (six fewer than his April total) in 157 trips to the plate.
Jose Bautista’s future with the Blue Jays has been up in the air since Spring Training, when reports of an asking price north of $150MM emerged, but the right fielder tells Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci that his preference is to remain in Toronto. “I love the city. I’d be stupid to leave,” said Bautista. While that comment will garner plenty of attention, it’s hardly uncommon for stars to voice a preference to remain with the club with which they’ve broken out. Bautista implied that the ball is in the court of first-year president of baseball operations Mark Shapiro and first-year GM Ross Atkins. “I will explore every single option, whether it happens or not with the new regime, to continue to try to stay here,” he added. “That being said, I think teams utilize that a lot against players, [seeking] a discount or bargain price, and I think that’s extremely unfair, especially to have your biggest contributors on the field and try to take advantage of the fact that they like it there and negotiate a tougher deal.” Despite today’s comments, it seems difficult to envision Bautista significantly dropping his asking price — especially when he’s again on pace to top 30 homers.
More from the AL East…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that if the Yankees want to option right-hander Michael Pineda to the minors in an effort to get the struggling 26-year-old back on track, their window to do so is closing. Pineda, Sherman notes, will reach five full years of MLB service time on June 14, at which point he will have earned the right to refuse a minor league assignment. Cashman tells Sherman that Pineda will make his next start on Thursday (in Detroit), and the club will have further discussions about him following that outing. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild cryptically tells Sherman that he’s aware of what Pineda’s problem is but is electing not to disclose the issue to the media.
- Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins spoke to reporters tonight about his club’s acquisition of Jason Grilli (video link via Sportsnet.ca). Atkins said that he’s been on the lookout for bullpen help since the day he arrived in Toronto, and Grilli’s penchant for missing bats made him an attractive option. “There’s a lot that we like about Jason and how he complements this team,” said Atkins. “The first thing that comes to mind is experience. He’s been on winning teams, [in] very high-leverage situations and gets a ton of swing-and-miss — has gotten a lot of swing-and-miss throughout his career.” Atkins expected Grilli to join the club on Wednesday.
- As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets, Rays right-hander Brad Boxberger left tonight’s game with a strained muscle in his left side. Following the game, manager Kevin Cash told the media that the injury was “obviously not good,” and Topkin tweets that the sense in the clubhouse is that Boxberger is headed back to the disabled list. Further evaluation will be required tomorrow, he notes, but another absence for the Rays’ presumed 2016 closer appears to be a strong possibility.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez “very likely could join” the team during its next series, which begins Monday in Arizona, manager A.J. Hinch said (via Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle). That would mark a quick return for Gomez, who landed on the disabled list May 17 with a bruised left rib cage and is currently on a Double-A rehab assignment. Gomez was unexpectedly among the worst players in baseball this year before his placement on the DL, hitting a toothless .182/.238/.248 without a home run in 132 plate appearances. “I think he’s feeling a lot better, which is the number one priority. Getting production out of him is the second phase of this,” stated Hinch.
In other American League news…
- The Red Sox are considering removing Brock Holt from the everyday left field job when he returns from a concussion and shifting him back to a super-utility role, writes Ian Browne of MLB.com. Whether that happens will depend on how catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart fares in Holt’s place, said manager John Farrell – who’s encouraged by Swihart’s defensive work. “If [Blake] swings the bat, we could find Brock in more of a utility role and move him around. When Brock has been getting fairly regular at-bats, he’s been a very productive offensive player. That’s going to determine it,” commented Farrell. Swihart has collected just nine hits in 50 plate appearances this season, though he did have a two-triple performance Wednesday. Holt, who spent time at eight different positions in 2015 and made the All-Star team, got off to a slow start this season prior to his injury and hasn’t played since May 17.
- The White Sox were confident right-hander Miguel Gonzalez would help them when they signed him as a free agent shortly before the season, and the move has so far paid off, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Gonzalez overcame a below-average strikeout rate to record a 3.49 ERA with the Orioles from 2012-14, but that number rose to an ugly 4.91 last season and the O’s then released him after his velocity dropped in spring training. Gonzalez’s velo is back to its previous level, though, and he gave up a respectable nine earned runs in 22 2/3 May innings. “Every time he pitches, it seems like we have a chance to win that game,” manager Robin Ventura said of Gonzalez. With the Sox in talks to acquire James Shields from the Padres, either Gonzalez or Mat Latos could soon be the odd man out of Chicago’s rotation. Gonzalez and Latos are trending in opposite directions at the moment, so it seems the latter would get a demotion as of now.
- Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild didn’t rule out temporarily removing Michael Pineda from the team’s rotation when asked Saturday, but manager Joe Girardi said today that it hasn’t been considered (via Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media). Although the right-hander allowed six earned runs in a loss to the Rays on Saturday to increase his ERA to a league-worst 6.92, he’ll start Thursday against Detroit.
- As was reported earlier today, Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson had a setback in his recovery from a shoulder injury. The 35-year-old has since opened up about it, telling reporters – including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link) – that he felt “awful” during his Saturday bullpen session. Wilson will next undergo an MRI, per Fletcher.
The Mets think they found a flaw in the delivery of struggling right-hander Matt Harvey, whose command is suffering because his arm is pausing/stopping, tweets FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco expressed confidence Friday that Harvey’s on the right track mechanically. In his latest start, a loss to the Nationals on Tuesday, Harvey struck out only one batter while allowing eight hits (including three home runs), five earned runs and two walks across five innings. The 27-year-old was one of baseball’s premier starters from 2012-15 (2.53 ERA, 9.46 K.9, 1.98 BB/9 over 427 innings), but the 2016 version has gone the opposite direction. Harvey’s 6.08 ERA through 53 1/3 frames ranks fourth worst among the league’s qualified starters, while his strikeouts have notably declined (7.43 K/9) and his walks have increased (2.87 BB/9).
More from the Big Apple:
- Michael Pineda, another righty amid a surprisingly subpar season, might not continue to have a spot in the Yankees’ rotation if his troubles continue. Pineda’s ERA ballooned to 6.92 Saturday after he gave up nine hits and six earned runs in a loss to the Rays, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild didn’t close the door on demoting him, per Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media. “We’d like to get him through this but our eyes are open with what goes on,” he said. “To win games is the most important thing for the team. So, in jeopardy, I don’t know. But we realize what’s going on.” The decision will ultimately rest with general manager Brian Cashman, whom manager Joe Girardi and Rothschild speak with on a daily basis.
- Even if the Yankees do wish to use Pineda’s remaining option and send him to the minors, they’re not exactly overflowing with candidates to replace him, as George A. King III of the New York Post points out. The Bombers already had to demote the similarly disappointing Luis Severino, for whom they also had high hopes entering the season. For his part, Pineda doesn’t think his issues are related to health. “I feel strong. I feel good,” he said Saturday. Pineda’s velocity would seem to agree with that, and his K/9 currently sits at a career-best 9.96.
- It was previously unclear how much time Mets first baseman Lucas Duda would miss after landing on the disabled list Monday with a stress fracture in his back. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson clarified Saturday, telling reporters – including ESPN’s Adam Rubin (video link) – that Duda should be out in the four- to six-week range. Thanks to Duda’s injury, the Mets acquired fellow lefty-swinging veteran James Loney from San Diego on Saturday to help fill the void at first.
The deadline for teams to exchange arbitration figures with eligible players is 1pm ET today. Dozens of arb agreements figure to flow in over the next few hours, and we’ll keep track of the smaller arb agreements in this post. All projections referenced are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz and can be viewed on the full list of 156 players that filed for arbitration this year. Remember also that you can keep track of everyone that has avoided arbitration by checking out MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker.
Onto the agreements…
- Shortstop Zack Cozart is in agreement with the Reds for an undisclosed sum, per a team announcement. He projected at $2.9MM in his second year of eligibility after a promising start to the 2015 season was cut short by a serious knee injury.
- The Diamondbacks announced that they have avoided arbitration with righty Rubby De La Rosa for an undisclosed sum. He was projected at $3.2MM but, per Jack Magruder of Fanragsports.com (on Twitter), will earn only $2.35MM.
- Reliever Fernando Rodriguez settled with the Athletics for $1.05MM — beneath his projected $1.3MM — per the Associated Press.
- Dodgers infielder Justin Turner will earn $5.1MM next season, Jon Heyman reports on Twitter. That’s just a shade under his $5.3MM projection.
- The Braves settled with reliever Arodys Vizcaino for $897,500, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets. He had a $1.1MM projection entering the fall.
- Both Zach Putnam will earn a $975K salary next year after agreeing with the White Sox, per a club announcement. That’s $175K over the projected arb value of the Super Two.
- The Cardinals settled with first baseman Matt Adams for $1.65MM, Heyman tweets. That’s a small bump over his $1.5MM projections. The team is also in agreement with right-hander Seth Maness, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Super Two reliever projected at $1.2MM but will receive $1.4MM, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter).
- Righty Tom Koehler receives a $3.5MM payday from the Marlins, per Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The team gets a break on the $3.9MM that had been projected. The team also has an agreement with righties David Phelps and Carter Capps, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets. Heyman adds (via Twitter) that Phelps will earn exactly his projected amount of $2.5MM. Capps was predicted to earn $800K, but his salary is yet to be reported.
- The Diamondbacks agreed to a $4.35MM rate with first-year-eligible starter Shelby Miller, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter. He had projected at $4.9MM. Notably, Miller comes in just ahead of fellow 3+ service-class pitcher Harvey (who is covered below). Fellow Arizona hurler Patrick Corbin will earn $2.525MM next year, Passan also tweets.
- The Nationals have agreed with infielder Danny Espinosa for $2.875MM, Jon Heyman tweets. He gets a slight bump over his $2.7MM projection in his second season of arb eligibility.
- Nolan Arenado will receive a $5MM salary from the Rockies in his first season of eligibility, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. That’s exactly what fellow star young third baseman Manny Machado settled for as well, though Arenado was a Super Two. As Swartz explained recently, those two players’ cases may well have been tied together despite some important distinctions. He also explained why Arenado might not reach his sky-high $6.6MM projection in actuality.
- The Orioles have agreed with starter Miguel Gonzalez for $5.1MM, Eduardo Rodriguez of the Baltimore Sun reports on Twitter. Gonzalez projected for $4.9MM.
- Outfielder Chris Coghlan agreed at $4.8MM with the Cubs, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat tweets. That’s quite a nice increase over his projected $3.9MM. Also agreeing with Chicago was reliever Pedro Strop, who gets $4.4MM, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter). He had been projected at $4.7MM.
- Both righty Michael Pineda (for $4.3MM) and infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley ($3.2MM), according to Passan (via Twitter) and Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Those numbers largely track the projected amounts of $4.6MM and $3.1MM, respectively.
- Danny Duffy will play at $4.225MM next year after reaching terms with the Royals, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). Catcher Drew Butera, meanwhile, will get $1,162,500 from Kansas City. Both represented small bumps over their projected values of $4MM and $1.1MM.
- Marlins closer A.J. Ramos will get $3.4MM in 2016, Heyman reports (Twitter links). Teammate Adeiny Hechavarria, meanwhile, will take down $2.625MM. Both first-year-eligible players went over their projections ($2.8MM and $2.3MM, respectively).
- The Mets will pay $4.325MM to Matt Harvey and $3MM to shortstop Ruben Tejada for 2016, ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin reports (Twitter links). Harvey approaches, but doesn’t quite reach, his $4.7MM projection. Though he’s still recovering from an unfortunate leg injury suffered during the post-season, Tejada will take home a cool half-million more than had been projected.
- Righty Joe Kelly has agreed with the Red Sox at $2.6MM, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. He falls a fair sight shy of the $3.2MM that MLBTR projected. Though he reached ten wins on the year, Kelly scuffled to a 4.82 ERA over his 134 1/3 innings.
- Righty Drew Hutchison agreed with the Blue Jays for $2.2MM, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. He falls short of a $2.6MM projection after a tough 2015 campaign.
- The Tigers have reached terms with shortstop Jose Iglesias for $2.1MM, per another Heyman tweet. The deal also includes some incentives, per the report. That’s a healthy jump up over the $1.5MM projection for the slick-fielding infielder, who did have a strong 2015 season.
- The Mariners announced that they reached agreement with lefty Charlie Furbush and righty Evan Scribner. Furbush will receive $1.7MM, while Scribner will get $807.5K, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
- Both shortstop Jean Segura and righty Wily Peralta are under contract with the Brewers, per a team announcement. Segura gets $2.6MM after being projected at $3.2MM, per Heyman (Twitter link). Matt Swartz’s system pegged Peralta at $2.8MM, and that’s exactly what he’ll earn, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter).
There are plenty more after the jump:
The Yankees have designated lefty Chris Capuano yet again, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. His roster spot was needed for the activation of righty Michael Pineda. (New York also optioned Nick Rumbelow and activated Nick Goody, both of whom are also right-handed pitchers.)
Remarkably, this marks the fourth time in the last month that Capuano has hit DFA limbo. With a $5MM salary for this season and an unsightly 7.71 ERA, Capuano has cleared outright waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A on the three prior occasions.
The return of Pineda came somewhat sooner than had been expected, as he ultimately missed about a month with a right forearm strain. His health and effectiveness will obviously be critical down the stretch as the Yankees fight for the division title. And Pineda will also be pitching for his next contract, as he’ll hit arbitration for the second (and second-to-last) time over the winter looking to build off of his $2.1MM salary from the present season.
Michael Pineda’s stint on the disabled list may be shorter than expected, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Pineda is slated to make a rehab start for the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate on Sunday, and while he’s only scheduled to throw 45 pitches, he could rejoin the big league rotation five or six days after that start. When Pineda initially landed on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm, it was feared that he’d be out until sometime in September.
More news from the AL East as the weekend looms…
- For all the focus on the Red Sox’ need for pitching, the hole at first base will be a significant need that must be addressed in the offseason, writes WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Boston has at least had internal discussions about moving Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval to first base, but neither player has been approached by the team yet, Bradford continues. Bradford handicaps the six likeliest scenarios for first base in 2016, with Ramirez leading the way, followed by a trade acquisition. As he notes, Allen Craig’s light hitting even at Triple-A has probably removed him from the equation.
- The Orioles will call up both catcher Steve Clevenger and outfielder Henry Urrutia today, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, but the corresponding 25-roster moves remain unknown. Kubatko notes that ailing backstop Matt Wieters could yet avoid the disabled list, however. Kubatko also spoke to GM Dan Duquette about the acquisitions of minor league right-handers Matt Buschmann and Jason Stoffel, noting that Stoffel in particular has a chance to impact the Orioles’ big league bullpen at some point. Buschmann, Duquette explained, is a veteran Triple-A arm brought in to help the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, which is currently in contention.
- MLB Network’s Peter Gammons recalls speaking with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos last year about the measures Anthopoulos would take to improve the team. His top priority, according to Gammons, was to get more consistent by improving the club’s defense. As Gammons notes, while much is made of Toronto’s slugging lineup, Anthopoulos deserves credit for the equally impressive run-prevention makeover the team has undergone. By bringing in Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin in the offseason, trading for Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere, and giving the everyday center field role to Kevin Pillar, the Blue Jays have transformed into an outstanding defensive unit that complements a much-improved pitching staff.