- Yankees manager Aaron Boone provided updates on Miguel Andujar and Clarke Schmidt to reporters (including ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera and Newsday’s Erik Boland). For Andujar, he is already hitting off a tee and will start hitting out of the batting cage next week as the 26-year-old is trying to recover from right carpal tunnel syndrome. Schmidt, meanwhile, is getting a second opinion on his bothersome right elbow, which is still giving him discomfort after almost seven weeks. Schmidt was shut down back in February for what was supposed to be three or four weeks due to a common extensor strain in his right elbow — for what it’s worth, Boland noted that Boone today described the injury as simply a “right elbow strain.”
The Giants have acquired infielder Thairo Estrada in a trade with the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations, the two teams announced. Estrada will head to the Giants’ alternate training site and be added to the 40-man roster. Outfielder Jaylin Davis (left knee tendinitis) was placed on the 60-day injured list in a corresponding move to open up a 40-man roster space.
New York designated Estrada for assignment earlier this week to free up roster space for the newly-acquired Rougned Odor. Estrada has spent his entire professional career in the Yankees organization, hitting .280/.337/.389 with 26 home runs over 1949 minor league plate appearances from 2013-19 and .214/.267/.348 over 121 PA at the Major League level in 2019-20. Rather than his bat, Estrada’s value came from his defensive versatility, as he logged a lot of playing time at shortstop, second base, and third base in the minors, and also made a few appearances as a corner outfielder in 2019.
Estrada may have a tough time breaking into a Giants depth chart that is already full of multi-positional infielders, but he might be a better depth option behind Brandon Crawford at shortstop than Donovan Solano or Mauricio Dubon, particularly since Dubon has been increasingly deployed as an outfielder.
Davis was already expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks due to his knee issue, so the 60-day placement will allow Davis some time to fully ramp up in the minors before the Giants consider finding a spot for him on the active roster. The 26-year-old has seen action with San Francisco in each of the last two seasons, appearing in 21 total games with a .515 OPS over 59 PA.
The Yankees optioned Domingo German to their alternate site following today’s game, the team announced. A corresponding roster move has not yet been announced.
German’s first start on the season came on April 4th against the Blue Jays. The 28-year-old surrendered three runs in three innings, including a pair of home runs. It was German’s first start since posting 2.0 fWAR during the 2019 season. He went four innings today against the Rays giving up another pair of long balls. His entire line featured eight hits, one walk, four earned runs and five strikeouts.
The Yankees have not been getting much length out of their starters during their current three-game losing streak. As much as this move may very well be about German, the Yankees may also just want to add a fresh arm. Corey Kluber went just 2 1/3 innings on Friday, a game after Jameson Taillon was bumped after 4 2/3 innings in a game that went to extras.
The latest coronavirus-related situations from around baseball…
- Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez isn’t available today due to COVID protocols, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe). Martinez isn’t feeling well and could be back in the lineup as early as tomorrow, though the team is being cautious until Martinez gets his test results back. UPDATE: Martinez has been placed on the COVID IL, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Glove (via Twitter). Michael Chavis has been recalled to take his roster spot for the time being.
- The Blue Jays placed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on the COVID-19 injured list, per Scott Mitchell of TSN Sports (via Twitter). Santiago Espinal was activated to take his roster spot. Gurriel left Friday’s game after feeling vaccine-related symptoms, so he’s not likely to be out for too long.
- Ryan Borucki, meanwhile, makes a quick return from the COVID IL. Ty Tice has been optioned. Tice made one appearance, tossing a pair of scoreless innings.
- The Astros shifted Pedro Baez from the COVID-19 injury list to the regular 10-day injured list. Baez is suffering from right shoulder soreness, as manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart and other reporters that Baez “was trying to do too much too soon” in his preparations to return from the COVID list. Baez was placed on the COVID list in early March, so he missed a good chunk of Spring Training while sidelined. Since being put on the normal IL required Baez to be returned to the 40-man roster, the Astros had to move Austin Pruitt to the 60-day injured list in a corresponding move.
- The Yankees reinstated both Gio Urshela and Rougned Odor from the COVID-19 injury list, the team announced. In corresponding moves, infielder Tyler Wade was optioned to the alternate training site, and first baseman Mike Ford had been optioned to the alternate site after last night’s game. It was only a brief absence for Urshela, who ended up missing just last night’s game due to some side effects after receiving a vaccine. Odor himself was only in COVID protocols due to standard intake and testing procedure after he was acquired in a trade from the Rangers earlier this week.
- Cubs first base/catching coach Craig Driver has tested positive for the coronavirus and has returned to Chicago, the team told reporters (including The Chicago Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro). Contact tracing and testing revealed no other positive results within the team’s traveling party over the last three days. Driver is in his second season on the Cubs’ coaching staff, after spending the previous two seasons as the Phillies’ receiving coach and bullpen catcher.
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- Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela landed on the COVID IL on Friday because of side effects from the vaccine, according to a club announcement. The hope is that Urshela will return Saturday, manager Aaron Boone said (via Marly Rivera of ESPN). In the meantime, the Yankees recalled first baseman Mike Ford to take Urshela’s roster spot.
The Yankees announced this afternoon they’ve activated reliever Justin Wilson from the injured list. The veteran southpaw’s start to the season was delayed by shoulder inflammation. He’s now in line to make his first appearances as a Yankee since New York traded him to the Tigers for Chad Green and Luis Cessa in December 2015. Wilson spent last season with the crosstown Mets, where he pitched to 3.66 ERA/3.92 SIERA, before signing with the Yankees in February.
- Blue Jays righty Nate Pearson came out of a bullpen session yesterday feeling fine, manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters (including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet). The hard-throwing righty suffered a groin injury in Spring Training that currently has him on the 10-day injured list. A productive season from Pearson, Baseball America’s #19 overall prospect entering the year, would go a long way towards the Jays’ hopes of sticking with the Yankees and Rays in the American League East.
Anibal Sanchez continues to prepare himself for the 2021 season. This upcoming Saturday in Miami, he will throw a bullpen session for a few teams, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (via Twitter). The Phillies were linked to Sanchez this winter, while the Nationals have more recently expressed an interest in bringing the 37-year-old back to DC for a third season. Given the level of comfort between the two sides, the Nats certainly make for a logical match. Their need is clear enough with Patrick Corbin and Jon Lester on the injured list as part of the COVID-19 protocols. The team has not revealed whether either player tested positive or if they are currently out because of contact tracing protocols. Either way, the organization lacks rotation depth. It’s worth mentioning that one of the reasons that Sanchez didn’t sign one of the Major League offers he received this winter was because of concern about COVID, however. Even so, given the need for pitching around the game and Sanchez’s 15-year career as a Major League starter, a signing shortly after Saturday’s bullpen certainly seems on the table. Let’s check in elsewhere around the game…
- There are few issues more central to the Astros’ future than Carlos Correa’s impending free agency. The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan addresses some of the complexities facing the Astros’ future at short. If Correa were to leave in free agency, prospect Jeremy Pena “is an excellent defender and he’s improved enough offensively in the last two years that he has everyday player potential,” writes Kaplan. Pena has not yet appeared above High-A, so his performance this season will provide a key data point. Given the plethora of shortstops about to hit the open market, however, the Astros could considering trying to snag one of them as a one-year stopgap as the Twins did this winter with Andrelton Simmons and the Blue Jays did with Marcus Semien. Banking on one of those players being available at that price point is risky, however. Still, now that Francisco Lindor has tied his long-term future to the Mets, there may be even more uncertainty for those shortstops behind him in the pecking order. To dig in further, definitely check out Kaplan’s full piece here.
- Thinking about that future shortstop market, one has to wonder if the Yankees might be a prime player in next year’s shortstop market. Questions persist about Gleyber Torres’ ability to stick defensively at shortstop, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Yankees chose to bring back DJ LeMahieu this winter, thereby blocking Torres’ most natural position and locking him into shortstop. That said, there are always ways to re-assemble a roster, especially with a player as malleable as LeMahieu. Still, keep an eye on the 24-year-old Torres this season. If he’s not able to pick up his defensive play, the Yankees might find themselves in a position to exploit a robust shortstop market next winter.
- The Rangers had other offers for Rougned Odor beyond the deal they accepted from the Yankees. Other offers had more favorable financial terms, but the Rangers prioritized adding talent, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter). Fangraphs had Antonio Cabello as the Yankees’ 23rd-ranked prospect prior to the trade, while Josh Stowers was listed in the “Realistic Bench Pieces” section.
4:58pm: The Yankees will pay Odor the prorated minimum this year ($570,500) and next, but that money will not count against their luxury tax bill, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.
2:32pm: The teams have announced the trade. The Rangers acquired outfielders Josh Stowers and Antonio Cabello in return for Odor and cash. Notably, Texas announced Cabello as a catcher/outfielder, though he’s played exclusively the outfield in his minor league career to date. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN ranked Cabello as the Yankees’ 18th-best prospect, tweeting that he has the necessary tools for both center field and catcher. Cabello, whom the Yankees signed out of Venezuela for $1.4MM in 2017, hasn’t climbed above rookie ball yet, though he’s still just 20 years old. He owns a .251/.344/.409 line with eight home runs in 443 professional plate appearances.
Stowers, 24, has now been part of two trades during his career. He was originally a second-round pick of the Mariners in 2018, but they dealt him to the Yankees as part of a three-team deal that also included the Reds and centered on righty Sonny Gray. Stowers slashed an impressive .273/.386/.400 with seven homers and 35 steals in Single-A ball in 2019, his lone season in the New York organization. However, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote over the winter that he doesn’t expect Stowers to max out as more than a fourth outfielder in the bigs.
1:22pm: The Yankees are sending a pair of prospects to the Rangers in the deal, tweets Sherman.
1:05pm: The Yankees and Rangers are finalizing a trade that will second second baseman Rougned Odor to New York, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). The Rangers designated Odor, who has two years and $27MM remaining on his contract, for assignment prior to Opening Day. Given that substantial commitment and the Yankees’ general aversion to paying the luxury tax, the Rangers are surely offsetting the majority of Odor’s contract in some capacity. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the two sides have agreed to a deal.
It’s a bit surprising to see the Yankees taking on Odor, although it’s hard to imagine a park better suited for the 27-year-old lefty hitter’s pull-happy approach than Yankee Stadium. Odor’s strikeout rates have climbed continually since he signed an ill-fated six-year, $49.5MM extension with the Rangers, and generally been a poor all-around performer due to significant on-base deficiencies.
However, Odor’s power has never really been in question. He has three 30-homer seasons in the past five years and swatted 10 long balls in just 148 plate appearances last year. The trade-off for that pop has been a strikeout rate that has soared north of 31 percent in the past two seasons and an overall .215/.279/.418 batting line through 1915 plate appearances dating back to 2017.
Odor figures to join a Yankees bench that currently features catcher Kyle Higashioka, outfielder Mike Tauchman, outfielder Brett Gardner and infielder Tyler Wade. The only one of the bunch who has a minor league option remaining is Wade, and given that he’s also the only infielder of that group, it seems likely that he’ll be bumped to accommodate Odor’s acquisition. That would make Gio Urshela the primary backup to Gleyber Torres at shortstop, with Odor likely handling third base should Urshela be pressed into action at short for any reason.
The Yankees announced that they have designated infielder Thairo Estrada for assignment and optioned right-hander Michael King to their alternate site. They made those moves to clear space for newly acquired infielder Rougned Odor.
This could bring an end to a long run in the Yankees organization for Estrada, who first joined the club as an international free agent from Venezuela in 2012. Estrada eventually became a prospect of note with the Yankees, topping out as Baseball America’s No. 8 farmhand for the team in 2018, but he hasn’t been a particularly productive hitter during his time in the pros. The 25-year-old has put together a .280/.337/.389 line with 26 home runs and 52 steals on 81 attempts in 1,949 plate appearances in the minors, and he batted .214/.267/.348 over 121 PA as a Yankee from 2019-20. Still, with another minor league option remaining, it’s not that far-fetched to think another team could take a chance on him in the next week.
King could return to the Yankees’ pitching staff sometime soon. However, after he threw six shutout innings in relief against the Blue Jays on Sunday, it was logical for the Yankees to send him down on at least a temporary basis and use fresher arms in the meantime.