- Bartolo Colon feels he can play “just one” more season. A return in 2018 would make it 21 seasons in the big leagues for Colon, who turns 45 in May. The veteran has become a fan favorite around baseball thanks to his unlikely late-career revival, though Colon finally started to look his age in 2017, posting a 6.48 ERA over 143 innings with the Twins and Braves. Despite his recent struggles, Colon seems to be a likely candidate to land a low-cost MLB contract with a team next year, given his lengthy track record.
- The Rangers are considering issuing a qualifying offer to Andrew Cashner. This would ensure that Texas received some draft pick compensation if Cashner rejected the QO, though given the Rangers’ need for pitching, they could welcome the chance to bring back Cashner on a one-year deal. Still, since the QO carries a hefty cost of $18.1MM, it is still a little surprising that Texas is considering issuing one to Cashner, who is a decent candidate to accept. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently covered Cashner’s interesting offseason case in a Free Agent Stock Watch piece, outlining the many pros and cons suitors face in weighing a Cashner this winter.
- In less-surprising qualifying offer news, the Royals are a virtual lock to extend the QO to Lorenzo Cain but aren’t planning to issue one to Jason Vargas. Tommy John surgery sidelined Vargas for much of his three-year stint in Kansas City, though he was mostly effective (4.16 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 2.31 K/BB rate) over 179 2/3 IP in 2017. Given that TJ surgery and the fact that Vargas turns 35 in February, he’d seem to be a good candidate to accept a qualifying offer, and the Royals probably don’t want an $18.1MM salary on the books as they embark on a possible rebuild.
- There apparently haven’t been any talks between the Angels and Justin Upton about his opt-out clause, which Heyman finds “interesting.” There isn’t any immediate rush, of course, as Upton doesn’t need to make his decision until three days after the World Series is over. “Most see it as a very close call” as to whether Upton will actually opt out of the four years and $88.5MM remaining on his deal given the mutual interest between he and the Angels. The possibility exists that the two sides could work out an extension to tack another year or two beyond the current end of Upton’s deal, though the lack of talks indicates that scenario has yet to be explored.
- The Angels initially tried to acquire Parker Bridwell from the Orioles last year before finally landing the right-hander in April for what Heyman describes as “just a small amount of cash.” This minor deal at the time ended up being a steal for the Halos, as Bridwell delivered a 3.64 ERA over 121 innings, starting 20 of his 21 appearances for Los Angeles.
- According to one Marlins player, the Cardinals reportedly expressed interest in Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and Brad Ziegler this summer, with Ziegler’s name surfacing after Trevor Rosenthal was lost to Tommy John surgery in late August. The Cards’ interest in Ozuna (and other Miami outfielders) is known, though this is the first time Gordon and Ziegler have been linked to St. Louis. It makes sense that the Cards would’ve checked in on Ziegler given their sudden need for relief help after Rosenthal went down, though it remains to be seen if Ziegler would be a trade target this winter as the team looks to bolster its pen. Ziegler has a hefty $9MM salary in 2018, though the Marlins could eat some of that money to make a deal happen. Gordon would be an even pricier addition at $38MM owed through the 2020 season, plus a $14MM vesting option for 2021.
There is once again concern surrounding CC Sabathia’s troublesome right knee, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Pain in that knee forced Sabathia out of last night’s start after three innings, and the 37-year-old said after the game that his knee hasn’t felt this bad in two years, Davidoff continues. Sabathia is headed back to New York to have the knee further evaluated today, and it’s an all-around worrisome scenario for the Yankees, who have quietly received strong production out of Sabathia over the past three months or so. Sabathia has a 2.98 ERA in his past dozen starts (albeit with somewhat lesser peripherals), but he’s now given up four runs in each of his past three trips to the hill. The Yankees have bolstered their rotation with the additions of Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia, but they’ve also lost Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery and are trying to limit young Jordan Montgomery’s innings.
More on the division…
- As part of that effort to limit Montgomery’s innings, the Yankees optioned him to Triple-A on Monday. Presumably, if Sabathia were to require a trip to the disabled list, Montgomery would be the first line of defense to step back into the team’s rotation. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, manager Joe Girardi recently said that the Yankees have “somewhat of a concern” about the notion of Montgomery exceeding 180 innings, as Montgomery worked a total of 152 innings last year (including the Triple-A playoffs). “We care about all our players, but this is not just a one-year deal for him,” said Girardi. “We envision him being a starter here a long time, and we want to make sure we don’t push him too hard.” Montgomery has thrown 120 2/3 innings this season between the Majors and his lone minor league start of 2017.
- Angels righty Parker Bridwell, who came up through the Orioles’ system, spoke at length with Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun about the feeling of being designated for assignment earlier this season and his subsequent trade to the Halos. “It was the weirdest three days of my life,” Bridwell explained. “I felt like I was never going to have a job again when I got DFA’d. … I wanted to check my phone every five seconds, but I just put my phone away and let whatever was going to take place take place.” Bridwell’s interview with Encina is a fantastic read, especially for those who follow the trade and waiver circuit closely, as the right-hander provides a great deal of candid insight into the human element that we often take for granted when looking at seemingly minor transactions. Bridwell discusses the process of being traded, the feeling of facing friends in his former organization and the differences between the coaching staffs in Baltimore and Anaheim, and I strongly recommend reading it in full. As for the Angels, they’re undoubtedly thrilled with the decision to acquire Bridwell from Baltimore for cash. In 66 innings this season, he’s posted a 3.00 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate.
- Rays right-hander Matt Andriese, who has been out since early June with a stress reaction in his right hip, threw an extensive live batting practice session yesterday and is slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend, per Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. That’d put him back on track for a return late this month, Mooney notes, assuming no setbacks and a four-start rehab schedule in the minors. Mooney also notes that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had a setback earlier this month, will begin a running program Thursday and isn’t expected to be ready until the Rays’ Aug. 18-24 home-stand.
6:59pm: Street was not able to stay on track due to a “mild shoulder impingement,” GM Billy Eppler tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).
5:51pm: The Angels have acquired righty Parker Bridwell from the Orioles, per club announcements. Cash considerations or a player to be named later will go to Baltimore in return.
To open a 40-man spot, the Halos have bumped righty Huston Street to the 60-day DL. That suggests his lat strain isn’t progressing quite as hoped. At the time of his injury, about six weeks back, it was suggested that it was at least possible Street would be throwing in three or four weeks. With today’s DL swap, he won’t be eligible to return until about two months of the season have elapsed.
Bridwell, who was recently designated for assignment, will head to Double-A upon landing in his new organization. The 25-year-old reached the majors briefly last year, but evidently didn’t factor very heavily in the O’s plans.
A starter for most of his career, Bridwell spent much of 2016 functioning as a multi-inning reliever (he logged 87 total innings last year over 33 appearances). Over 83 2/3 minor-league innings, including an AFL stint, Bridwell pitched to a 3.76 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9.