Click here to read a transcript of today’s chat with host Jeff Todd.
APRIL 27: Martin has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, Divish was among those to tweet. He’ll remain under Seattle’s control, then, though bringing him back to the active roster would require a 40-man move.
APRIL 23: The Mariners have designated outfielder Leonys Martin for assignment, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). First baseman Dan Vogelbach and right-hander Chris Heston have been called up from Triple-A Tacoma in corresponding moves, while righty Chase De Jong has been sent down to Triple-A.
[Updated Mariners depth chart at Roster Resource]
Martin is off to a very rough start this season, hitting just .111/.172/.130 through his first 58 plate appearances. This continues Martin’s slump from the last two months of the 2016 season, which put a damper on an overall productive first season in Seattle. Martin generated 2.2 fWAR on the heels of a .247/.306/.378 campaign in 576 PA, even if his base-running and defense contributed more to his value than his hitting.
Even Martin’s vaunted center field glove took a hit in 2016, however — he managed just a +4.2 UZR/150 and -2 Defensive Runs Saved, very middling numbers for a player who posted 45 DRS from 2013-15. Between this step backwards on defense, continued issues at the plate and a desire to give more playing time to Jarrod Dyson in center, it makes sense why Seattle would seek to move on from Martin.
The Mariners avoided arbitration with Martin by agreeing to a one-year, $4.85MM deal with him for the 2017 season, a sizeable enough salary that it seems unlikely another team would claim Martin on waivers. A trade could be a possibility; this is just my speculation, but the Tigers, Giants, and Pirates stand out as teams that could potentially use a left-handed hitting outfielder capable of playing center.
Vogelbach was originally ticketed for a timeshare at first base this season before a somewhat surprising demotion to Triple-A during Spring Training. With Danny Valencia struggling, however, it opens the door for Vogelbach to get some at-bats against right-handed pitching. The Mariners are also likely looking for ways to keep the hot-hitting Taylor Motter in the lineup with Jean Segura returning shortly from the DL, so Motter could factor into the mix at first or in left field (if Guillermo Heredia gets some time in center field).
The Red Sox have claimed infielder Chase d’Arnaud off waivers from the Braves, per a club announcement. He had been designated for assignment and, evidently, placed on outright waivers by Atlanta.
To clear 40-man space, Boston bumped righty Carson Smith to the 60-day DL. He is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and it wouldn’t seem as if the placement says much about any changes to his timeline to return.
The 30-year-old d’Arnaud represents a utility option for the Sox, who are struggling to cover with third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the DL and second bagger Dustin Pedroia also ailing. Over 262 career trips to the plate at the game’s highest level, d’Arnaud owns only a .245/.317/.335 batting line. Though he isn’t much with the bat, the right-handed hitter does have experience playing all over the field.
[RELATED: Updated Reds Depth Chart]
It has been exactly one year since Mesoraco last suited up at the major league level. This time last year, he was struggling to a .140/.218/.160 batting line over 55 plate appearances before suffering a shoulder injury. When he underwent surgery for a labrum tear, it marked the second consecutive year in which Mesoraco was shut down early with a significant injury after scuffing at the plate.
Mesoraco ended up not only having work done to his shoulder, but also another procedure on his hip. There’s now plenty of health uncertainty for the 28-year-old, who’ll be looking to prove again that he can handle MLB pitching both at the plate and behind it.
Of course, it wasn’t long ago that Mesoraco looked like a core piece for the franchise. In 2014, he slashed an excellent .273/.359/.534 and swatted 25 home runs in just 440 plate appearances. That led to a four-year, $28MM extension that bought up all his arbitration eligibility and also accounted for one would-be free agent season. But the deal expires after the 2018 campaign, so Mesoraco and his team will hope that he is able to regain his trajectory sooner rather than later.
Cincinnati will keep an insurance policy on hand in the even that Mesoraco struggles. Tucker Barnhart will presumably continue to see a fair bit of action as Mesoraco is eased back in. And Rule 5 selection Stuart Turner will keep his roster spot, meaning the team will carry three backstops — at least for the time being.
The NFL Draft is here! This year’s draft is the hardest one to predict in recent memory and you’ll want to stay tuned to Pro Football Rumors for every update whether you’re a casual or hardcore NFL fan.
The draft is hours away and we still don’t know who the No. 1 overall pick will be. Most of the football world views Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett as the top overall talent in this year’s class, but Browns ownership is reportedly pushing for UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky. If the Browns bypass the best player available in favor of the best quarterback available, it will trigger a ripple effect that will turn the rest of the first round upside down.
The uncertainty doesn’t stop there. The 49ers could break with tradition and select running back Leonard Fournette at No. 2. The Bears, at No. 3, are eager to trade down. The Jaguars, picking at No. 4 overall, are reportedly considering Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, a player previously projected as a late first round or early second round type. With so many question marks early on, the entire draft is in flux and things could get insane. We mean that in a good way.
The Mets have scratched star righty Noah Syndergaard from his scheduled start today, manager Terry Collins told reporters including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter links) and SNY’s Steve Gelbs (via Twitter). Syndergaard is dealing with discomfort in his right biceps, likely caused by tendinitis, leading to what Collins phrased a “tired arm.”
At this time, it’s not known whether this is more than a single-start blip, or whether there’s cause for greater concern. The Mets will surely take a cautious route regardless; as Collins put it, “we can’t take a chance on this guy.”
Matt Harvey will take the ball in Syndergaard’s place. This is the second time that Harvey has been moved up to cover for an injury. Fortunately, the last time, Jacob deGrom needed only a bit of extra rest. Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard have been excellent even as the club has staggered to an 8-12 record to open the year. Clearly, the Mets can scarcely afford to lose any of the three; though it’s plenty early, the club is already 6.5 games back of the Nationals in the NL East.
It’s certainly possible that Syndergaard could follow deGrom in making a swift return. Indeed, Syndergaard could be cleared to throw by this weekend, which seems to be his own expectation. (Twitter links via DiComo.) But the organization has ordered up an MRI to make sure there isn’t a more significant problem causing the discomfort.
More broadly, rotation depth continues to be a concern for the Mets, who received a dud of an outing last night from Robert Gsellman. He and Zack Wheeler haven’t produced quite the results hoped for, though their peripherals suggest cause for optimism moving forward. Of greater concern, the organization seemingly still doesn’t know when it’ll welcome back Steven Matz and Seth Lugo to the rotation mix.
The Braves have selected the contract of righty Jason Motte, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. To open an active roster spot, catcher Anthony Recker was optioned back to Triple-A.
Motte, 34, joined the Braves on a minors deal after he was cut loose by the Rockies. He has impressed in five scoreless appearances at Triple-A, allowing just two hits and a walk while fanning six opposing hitters.
The idea of making it back in September seems to represent a rather optimistic scenario for the 32-year-old hurler. While his surgery is said to come with a four-to-six month recovery period, that doesn’t account for the the need to restart a throwing program.
Buchholz acknowledges that he was not operating at his peak even prior to the injury. As Zolecki notes, his velocity readings showed that. “I was probably throwing at 85 percent,” says Buchholz, “just trying to do what I was doing, get by and build arm strength.” Nevertheless, he insists, the injury arose suddenly.
The veteran starter says that he has apologized throughout the organization for being out, though surely he’s not at fault here. Still, the club seems unlikely to get much for its $13.5MM investment. Barring a surprising return late this year, odds are that Buchholz will not throw another pitch for the Phillies before he reaches free agency for the first time.
As for that upcoming open-market trip, Buchholz suggested he has every intention of returning. “I wanted to pitch,” says Buchholz. “I wanted to be good. … I definitely don’t think I’m done playing. I’ve stayed healthy for the most part. This is the first issue that has involved surgery for me.”
There’s plenty of time to see how the market shapes up, but Buchholz seems likely to represent a classic buy-low, back-of-the-rotation target. He has been excellent at times, including recently (in much of 2015 and late in 2016), though inconsistency and questions about his health will surely tamp down interest.
Here are Wednesday’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Rangers signed right-hander Walker Weickel to a minor league contract, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old has spent his entire career prior to this point with the Padres, who selected him 55th overall back in the 2012 draft. Weickel’s career has been slowed by injuries, including Tommy John surgery, and he’s been limited to 22 1/3 innings over the past two seasons combined. Texas has assigned Weickel to extended Spring Training, per Grant.
- Right-hander Casey Fien’s contract was selected by the Mariners prior to tonight’s game, the team announced. He’ll rejoin the club after previously being outrighted earlier this season. The 33-year-old Fien was slammed for seven runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings in his first stint with the Mariners. Though he’s struggled since the onset of the 2016 season, Fien was a reliable middle relief/setup option for the Twins from 2012-15, logging 223 2/3 innings with a 3.54 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9. Seattle’s 40-man roster is once again full with Fien’s addition.
April 26: Miller’s MRI is being sent to Dr. James Andrews for a third opinion, writes MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Miller, according to Gilbert, was asked directly if the first two readings of his MRI results showed a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
“They see something in there,” Miller said to reporters. “They haven’t given me specifics yet, exactly what it is or how we’re going to handle it or what we’re going to do to fix it.”
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic spoke to D-backs manager Torey Lovullo about the impending third opinion, though Lovullo downplayed the ominous nature of that development.
“It’s part of the plan that we had talked about all along where we were going to have this group look at it and come together and get as much information as we possibly could, and pass it along to Shelby and figure out what the best game plan is,” Lovullo told McManaman.
April 24, 6:50pm: Miller is slated to visit orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a second opinion, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets.
4:36pm: As expected, the Diamondbacks have moved righty Shelby Miller to the 10-day with forearm tightness, per a club announcement. He was forced out of his start yesterday with an apparent injury, prompting obvious concern from within the organization.
[RELATED: Updated Diamondbacks Depth Chart]
For the time being, reliever Silvino Bracho will take the open roster spot. It’s not immediately clear how the club will fill the gap in its rotation, though it seems reasonable to think that righty Archie Bradley could get a shot. The former top prospect has thrived thus far in a bullpen role.
There’s still no word on a diagnosis for Miller, who entered the year looking to engineer a turnaround following a disastrous debut season in Arizona. Through 22 innings over four starts, he had worked to a 4.09 ERA with 8.2 K/9 but also 4.9 BB/9 while sitting around a career-best 95 mph with his fastball.
All things considered, those numbers provided both cause for optimism and reason for wariness. The hope remains that the 26-year-old has avoided a significant injury, so that both Miller and the team have the chance to find out whether he’s capable of making a full rebound.