- Zack Greinke has been dealing with a lack of velocity and a minor groin injury this spring, but after a 40-pitch bullpen session today, the Diamondbacks ace is hopeful of being ready for the start of the season, he told MLB.com’s Owen Perkins and other reporters. “If I felt this good every day for the rest of my career, it would be amazing,” Greinke said. “I’ll definitely be making the next outing. I felt healthy and the pitches were pretty good. Hopefully that continues. It should; it was a good day.” Greinke left a start last Wednesday after just one inning due to mild groin tightness, and though he already seems to be feeling better, manager Torey Lovullo said the club will continue to monitor Greinke’s progress. The setbacks have cost Greinke the Opening Day assignment, though he could pitch as soon as Arizona’s third game of the season.
- With several outfielders seemingly ahead of Trayce Thompson on the Dodgers depth chart, the club is expected to explore trading the out-of-options Thompson, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes. Thompson has shown some promise over three MLB seasons but he hasn’t been the same since suffering back injuries midway through the 2016 season. Thompson appeared in just 27 games for the Dodgers last season, contributing a meager .483 OPS in 55 plate appearances. Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor are slated for starting duty in right and center field, respectively, with Thompson, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles, and top prospect Alex Verdugo all competing for left field or backup duty. If a trade partner can’t be found, the Dodgers will risk losing Thompson for nothing, as he would have to pass through waivers before the Dodgers could send him to the minors.
- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed his rotation to reporters (including Bill Shaikin) today, with Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, and Hyun-jin Ryu lined up as the Los Angeles starting five. Beyond those five, however, are some question marks, as Roberts admitted “We don’t have the starting pitching depth that we’ve had in past years.” That depth allowed the Dodgers to reach the World Series despite DL stints for every member of their pitching staff, and now since Yu Darvish and Brandon McCarthy have both moved on to other teams, L.A. now has Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart, and Walker Buehler as the top depth options. Tom Koehler was signed over the offseason to bring a veteran arm into the mix, though Koehler is sidelined indefinitely due to a mild AC strain.
- A year after a surprising position switch, Chris Shaw is hoping to eventually crack the majors as a left fielder, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group writes. The Giants already had Brandon Belt at first base, so with Shaw’s natural position blocked, the club began to deploy Shaw in left field as a way of finding a place in the lineup for his intriguing power bat. Shaw was San Francisco’s first-round pick (31st overall) in the 2015 draft and is ranked as the second-best prospect in the team’s farm system by both MLB.com and Baseball America, making him a key part of the Giants’ future. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Shaw make his Major League debut sometime in 2018, with a potential starting job awaiting him in 2019 if Hunter Pence isn’t re-signed.
It has been something of a trying spring for Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes, the venerable starter is unlikely to be ready to take the ball on Opening Day — though that isn’t necessarily the primary concern for the organization. The more important consideration, surely, is to ensure that Greinke does not end up with a bigger problem after experiencing what the team is characterizing as minor groin tightness. Greinke was already laboring with sluggish fastball velocity, but it seems the team is generally still optimistic that he’ll be at full strength for the bulk of the coming season.
Here’s more from out west:
- The D-Backs are seeing renewed promise in young righty Yoan Lopez, Piecoro further writes. It’s an interesting look at the winding path that Lopez has taken since he signed a $8.25MM deal as an international free agent — a contract that cost the team double that amount and also put it in the penalty box for the ensuing two signing periods. The Cuban hurler pitched last year at the High-A level, allowing just three earned runs on 16 hits in 31 2/3 frames while recording a shiny 59:10 K/BB ratio. Beyond the results, Lopez has impressed with his stuff and a new attitude; it’ll certainly be interesting to see if he’s able to push for a chance at the majors at some point in the near future.
- The Padres are no longer considering Jordan Lyles for their rotation, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell tweets. The veteran righty could still earn a pen slot; given that the Padres promised him $1MM for the season in a deal that includes a 2019 option, it would seem they expected to carry him on the roster in some capacity. But the 27-year-old has been roughed up this spring and in his recent MLB seasons. By Cassavell’s reckoning, also via Twitter, that leaves the battle for the club’s final two starting jobs to veterans Tyson Ross and Chris Young along with younger hurlers Luis Perdomo and Robbie Erlin.
- Rangers prospect Cole Ragans is slated for an elbow MRI, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was among those to tweet. That’s certainly not the news the organization was hoping for at this stage of camp for a player who was taken 30th overall in the 2016 draft. The southpaw is still nowhere near the majors, having spent last season at the low A level, but he’s seen as a high-ceiling prospect and the Rangers are surely hoping to see him turn in a full season of development. Ragans racked up 87 strikeouts (but also 35 walks) in his 57 1/3 innings last year, ending the season with a 3.61 ERA. For now, it’s just a situation to monitor.
The Rangers are set to move right-hander Matt Bush back to the bullpen role in which he thrived for much of the 2016-17 seasons, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The 32-year-old righty had been in the mix for a rotation spot to this point, but he expressed peace of mind with the decision to return to the ’pen, indicating that he’s “very happy” to have clarity over his role and that he feels the team made the right decision. As Grant notes, the decision likely means Texas’ rotation will consist of Cole Hamels, Matt Moore, Doug Fister and Mike Minor early in the year, with Martin Perez able to join that quartet as early as his health permits. Jesse Chavez is on hand as a long relief option, and Bartolo Colon could have an easy path to cracking the big league roster if Perez needs some DL time early in the year.
Elsewhere in the western divisions …
- The Athletics’ offseason moves and budding farm system have made them into a more interesting club than many are giving them credit for, opines ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The pairing of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson at the team’s infield corners gives them one of the game’s great young defensive players — one AL evaluator from another club likened Chapman’s glove to that of Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado — and an impressive young slugger whose fast rise in the big leagues mirrored that of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins. (Olson hit .259/.352/.651 with 24 homers in 216 plate appearances.) Paired with one of the game’s most under-the-radar sluggers (Khris Davis) and interesting upper-level prospects like left-hander A.J. Puk, the A’s could surprise some in 2018, even if they’re not likely to vault up into to division contention just yet. Crasnick spoke to GM David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and scouts from other clubs about the improving young A’s club.
- While there’s still plenty of time left in camp, there’s some rising unease within the Diamondbacks organization surrounding Zack Greinke, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Greinke himself noted that he’s somewhat “nervous” that he won’t be working in his typical low-nineties range by the start of the season given that he’s still sitting in the mid-eighties with his fastball. Picking up on those comments, in the context of the team’s plans for an Opening Day starter, skipper Torey Lovullo acknowledged being “concerned about where [Greinke is] at” and said he plans to “let everything kind of settle down” before the club decides who’ll take the ball to open the season. Of course, it doesn’t matter as much whether Greinke throws the first pitch as it does that he’s at full strength. As to that matter, Lovullo suggested he’s nowhere near panicking over the veteran hurler. Instead, he stressed, his “concern is minimal” that Greinke will ultimately get up to speed and be prepared to attempt a repeat of a strong 2017 effort.
“It’s possible this is the Diamondbacks’ last, best chance to get real value for [Zack] Greinke,” Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes in a piece detailing the team’s difficult position this winter. With Greinke still owed $138.5MM through 2021 and taking up an inordinately large piece of Arizona’s payroll, the D’Backs are hard-pressed to to augment a roster that made a surprise run to the NLDS last year. Dealing Greinke may be the better long-term move, though it would hurt the team’s chances of capitalizing on its sudden contender status. Greinke had a down year in 2016 and just turned 34 in October, so it isn’t quite clear if his big 2017 season represented a return to form or perhaps a last hurrah before he begins to decline. The Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies have all checked in on Greinke this winter, so there’s certainly interest if Greinke was made available, though GM Mike Hazen will have a tough needle to thread in finding an acceptable trade match in both salary coverage and MLB-ready talent coming back to Arizona.
Here’s more from around baseball…
- C.J. Cron has been the subject of trade speculation, though if the Angels do try to deal the first baseman, MLB.com’s Maria Guardado doesn’t expect it to happen prior to Spring Training. Los Angeles will want to see if Albert Pujols is a viable option to regularly play first base, as the plan is for Pujols to spend time in the field so Shohei Ohtani can get some DH at-bats. Pujols’ history of foot problems, however, means that Cron (and Luis Valbuena) could be necessary depth pieces for the Halos.
- While the Reds were looking for one-year deals for relievers, they were comfortable enough with Jared Hughes’ track record to sign the righty to a two-year deal, general manager Dick Williams tells Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Williams feels Hughes adds some needed veteran experience to a Reds bullpen that struggled badly in 2017, and the GM didn’t close the door on his team acquiring another veteran reliever before the winter is over.
- The Indians will face a tall order in trying to extend Cody Allen or Andrew Miller before either reliever hits free agency next winter, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes as part of a reader mailbag. Allen is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, while Miller is finishing up the four-year, $36MM deal he originally signed with the Yankees in December 2014. Given the large contracts that relievers have been landing this offseason, a smaller-payroll team like Cleveland doesn’t seem like a candidate to re-sign either pitcher, nor to spend the big money it would take to get Allen or Miller to forego the open market and ink an extension.
The latest rumblings on the starting and relief pitching fronts…
- Talks between the Rangers and Diamondbacks regarding Zack Greinke are “mostly dead,” according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). Three other teams, however, have some interest. The Phillies and Yankees have both reportedly checked in on Greinke, though it isn’t clear if either is one of the three teams Heyman references. The D’Backs are willing to cover at least some of Greinke’s huge contract to facilitate a deal.
- The Rangers have interest in Japanese right-hander Kazuhisa Makita, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. The 33-year-old submariner will be posted by the Seibu Lions before December 31, though there hasn’t been much word on what other MLB clubs may be exploring Makita’s services. Adding Makita would be part of GM Jon Daniels’ overall bullpen strategy of adding lower-cost relief options rather than commit a lot of payroll space in an increasingly-expensive market for free agent relievers.
- The Rockies haven’t yet received a response to the “nice” offer they made free agent righty Greg Holland, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Colorado is hoping to quickly polish off a deal with the closer, who obviously impressed the club in the 2017 campaign.
- The Twins had interest in a reunion with former closer Brandon Kintzler, though Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter) that the team never made a formal offer to Kintzler before he signed with the Nationals.
With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.
Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.
Plenty more pitching rumors…
- The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
- As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
- Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
- The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
- Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
- The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
- Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
- Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
10:36pm: The D’Backs are “showing no interest in a salary dump,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link), as the Rangers are offering only “marginal prospects” and they want Arizona to pay a portion of Greinke’s contract (perhaps in the form of Choo’s deal).
8:19pm: Texas isn’t one of the 15 teams on Greinke’s no-trade list, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports (via Twitter). Choo can also list 10 teams per season via his own no-trade clause, though it isn’t known if the D’Backs are included.
7:41pm: The Rangers have been in discussions about the Diamondbacks about starting pitchers, with MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links) reporting that Zack Greinke’s name has been included in the talks. There isn’t any sign that a trade is close to actually happening, though Sullivan says that the negotiations “are real and on-going.”
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link), the Rangers need Shin-Soo Choo to be involved in the deal as well, in order to help balance out the Greinke’s enormous contract. Choo is owed $62MM through the 2020 season, while Greinke still has a whopping $138.5MM owed to him through the 2021 campaign.
For a Rangers team in dire need of pitching help, they would seemingly be a great fit to absorb that extra money on Greinke’s deal while also unloading an extraneous piece in Choo. The outfielder simply hasn’t lived up to expectations since signing that seven-year, $130MM with Texas in the 2013-14 offseason. Choo has been worth only 5.1 fWAR over his first four years in Texas, with most of that total coming just in 2014 (3.6 fWAR), as he has battled injuries and become a defensive liability, though his run-creation numbers are still slightly above average.
Depending on what else is involved in a potential trade, moving Greinke would essentially be something of a salary dump for the D’Backs. Even though the ace righty is coming off an excellent season (rebounding nicely from a down year in 2016), Greinke simply accounts for such a giant portion of Arizona’s payroll that the team is hard-pressed to make many other moves, given that the Snakes are again expected to spend in the $115-$120MM range next year. Greinke at least has much more trade value now than he did last winter in the wake of his tough 2016 campaign, though it would still be a tough blow for the D’Backs to lose their ace while still hoping to build on their NLDS appearance from a year ago.
Since the two teams were engaging in talks on multiple starters, it’s fair to say that Patrick Corbin might be a more reasonable trade candidate that wouldn’t involve nearly the salary machinations of a Greinke/Choo deal. Corbin is projected to earn $8.3MM in 2018, his final year of arbitration eligibility, so he’d also represent some significant payroll savings for Arizona if dealt.
The market for starting pitchers has more question marks than certainties this summer, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports observes. Rosenthal runs down a number of potentially available arms, noting that injuries and/or significant contracts make many of them tough sells. Regarding Zack Greinke, Rosenthal notes that while his contract always made an in-season trade seem like a long shot, the fact that the D-backs are contending and are in current possession of a Wild Card spot all but eliminates the possibility that he’ll be traded this summer.
With the draft out of the way, trade talk should slowly begin to heat up in the coming weeks. Here are a few more items of potential interest…
- FanRag’s Jon Heyman runs down a number of possible needs on clubs that are in contention, beginning with the Nationals. While there’s been much made of the team’s obvious need for bullpen help, Heyman suggests that the Nats won’t simply acquire a closer and consider their relief corps to be fixed. “We don’t need just one big reliever, we need two,” a Nationals source tells Heyman. One potentially available name on which the Nationals don’t appear to be especially keen, however, is closer A.J. Ramos of the division-rival Marlins. Heyman reports in his weekly National League roundup that Ramos is a ways down Washington’s list of potential targets.
- On the American League side, Heyman focuses on the White Sox, who have quite a few interesting trade pieces, as recently examined by MLBTR’s Jeff Todd. He suggests that there are indications the Sox do intend to move lefty Jose Quintana this summer — and they don’t think they’ll need to accept a sub-par return despite his struggles so far. There’s some “belief” that Chicago could be hoping to draw interest in Quintana from the Dodgers, Heyman notes in the N.L. post. Meanwhile, the organization isn’t as interested in fielding offers for first baseman Jose Abreu, per the report.
- Prior to trading designating Sam Dyson for assignment and trading him to the Giants, the Rangers also gave consideration to cutting right-hander Jeremy Jeffress loose, Heyman writes. However, Texas deemed Jeffress more likely to rebound from his struggles and kept him on the roster. I’d imagine that as was the case with Dyson, Jeffress would draw trade interest elsewhere based on his track record and 2016 success.
- Nick Groke of the Denver Post fielded some Rockies trade questions in his latest chat with readers, noting that there’s virtually no chance that the Rockies would even consider moving top shortstop prospect Brendan Rodgers this summer. Groke does, however, feel that outfielder Raimel Tapia is a plausible trade chip. The 23-year-old outfielder entered the season widely ranked among baseball’s top 100 prospects and is hitting .286/.375/.357 through a small sample of 32 plate appearances in a limited role.
- With the Athletics progressing into a youth movement, John Hickey of the San Jose Mercury News writes that top infield prospect Franklin Barreto likely isn’t far from getting his first big league promotion, though Hickey suggests that in order to create playing time for Barreto, Oakland would first have to trade Jed Lowrie. Hickey also notes that the A’s feel confident that Trevor Plouffe, who was designated for assignment yesterday to clear a spot for top third base prospect Matt Chapman, will catch on with another club. It’s not clear, though, if the A’s expect to trade him or are preparing to release the 31-year-old.
The trade that brought Zack Greinke to the Brewers from the Royals in December 2010 is still making an impact on multiple franchises over six years later, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. The players involved in that deal (Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi) have since been involved in several other blockbuster trades and transactions, such as the Royals sending Odorizzi to Tampa Bay as part of the package that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to K.C., or the Brewers parting ways with Greinke in 2012 and getting Jean Segura back from the Angels. It’s quite a remarkable list of trades linked to that original deal, with the Royals of course standing out as the big winner thanks to their 2015 World Series title.
Here’s some more from around the baseball world as we head into the new week…
- While some reports have suggested that the Diamondbacks would be open to trading Greinke, A.J. Pollock or Patrick Corbin even if the team is in contention, GM Mike Hazen told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that such a major trade wouldn’t make sense for a team in the playoff race. “If the opportunity has passed on trading one guy or two guys as opposed to the opportunity to win? To me, I’m going to take that tradeoff. That’s a tradeoff that I think we have to take,” Hazen said. None of the aforementioned three players are free agents this winter, Hazen noted, so the club doesn’t have any specific need to trade any of them immediately. Even after today’s loss to the Brewers, the D’Backs are still 31-21 on the year and they hold a 4.5 game lead on the second NL wild card slot.
- Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are tentatively scheduled to return to the Mariners rotation in mid-to-late June, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes, though both pitchers are still in the very early stages of their recovery process. Hernandez (righth shoulder bursitis) and Iwakuma (right shoulder inflammation) each threw their first bullpen sessions today, and still have multiple more bullpens and then minor league rehab outings to undertake before leaving the disabled list.
- Teams interested in the Royals’ trade chips are being told that K.C. is still trying to contend, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes (subscription required). At 21-28, the Royals have the worst record in the American League but they sit just 4.5 games out of a wild card spot and 6.5 games behind the AL Central-leading Twins. Given the parity within the league and the Royals’ natural resistance to break up their longstanding core until they have to, it could still be some weeks before we know whether the Royals are clear buyers or sellers at the deadline.
- Several contenders have been boosted by players capable of playing multiple positions, and the next step could be players who can provide bench depth both on the field and on the mound, Peter Gammons writes in his latest GammonsDaily.com entry. The Dodgers are toying with the idea of using Brett Eibner as both an outfielder and reliever, and teams could consider grooming their own two-way players if Eibner succeeds in this role.
Starting pitchers could dominate talks leading up to this summer’s trade deadline, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only column. In addition to long-discussed trade candidates like White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana, struggling would-be contenders like the Mets, Blue Jays, Royals, and Pirates could put some of their own arms on the market if they’re fully out of the pennant race by July. Olney’s column is well worth a full read for his listing of every potential name on the market, though here are a few of the particular hot stove notables…
- Some evaluators believe the Mets would listen to offers for Matt Harvey if they fall out of the running in the NL East. The former ace has been whispered in trade rumors for a couple of years due to both off-the-field controversy and a seeming likelihood that he will test the free agent market after the 2018 season (Scott Boras is Harvey’s agent). Of course, Harvey’s stock has dropped due to an injury-plagued 2016 campaign, and the righty has been only average (4.25 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 1.8 K/BB rate) over 29.2 IP and five starts this season. Harvey has been been homer-prone this season and his average fastball velocity is 93.8 mph, two full miles down from his 2015 velocity. Still, as long as Harvey stays healthy, one would think he’d still receive a lot of deadline attention given his past history.
- Gerrit Cole is also a Boras client, and since “there is a wide expectation” that Cole won’t stay with the Pirates when his current deal is up after 2019, the righty could be a deadline chip. Olney writes that some teams felt Pittsburgh was even willing to listen to offers for Cole last year. With two-plus years of team control left, Cole could well be the most sought-after name on the market if the Bucs indeed made him available, though Cole also has a fairly checkered injury history over the last three years. The right-hander has a 3.60 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 4.5 K/BB rate, and 47.1% grounder rate through 30 innings this season. Dealing Cole wouldn’t necessarily indicate a rebuild for the Pirates, as the team could seek to gain some MLB-ready young talent that could help them make a quick rebound in 2018.
- Some contending teams could also look to shop pitching, as Olney notes that the Dodgers could again try to move Brandon McCarthy after they were unable to find a taker last winter. McCarthy has a 3.10 ERA, 7.76 K/9, and 2.78 K/BB rate through 29 innings, finally looking to be in good form after missing much of 2015-16 due to Tommy John surgery. Of course, given McCarthy’s long injury history, interested teams will surely want to see if the veteran can stay healthy before making any trade offers. In my opinion, I’d think that the Dodgers might want to hang onto McCarthy given the team’s other injury and performance issues within their rotation.
- Even with Zack Greinke pitching well and the Diamondbacks battling for first in the NL West, Greinke’s huge salary will still make the D’Backs open to discussing a trade, rival evaluators believe. Greinke is owed roughly $167MM through the end of the 2021 season, single-handedly accounting for a such a big percentage of Arizona’s current and future payroll commitments that a trade may well be in the best long-term interest of the team. Of course, if the D’Backs are still contending into July, GM Mike Hazen will face pressure to keep Greinke so he can help the club reach the postseason for just the third time in 15 seasons.
- A busier-than-expected pitching market could also lead to some players staying put, as Olney suggests the Phillies could look to extend Jeremy Hellickson and make him a building block of their rotation. Hellickson has a 1.80 ERA through 30 innings this season, though his ERA predictors and peripheral numbers (3.3 K/9, .196 BABIP, 86.2% strand rate, 3.63 FIP, 5.26 xFIP, 5.34 SIERA) suggest that he has been quite fortunate to get such good results. One would think Philadelphia would try to sell high on Hellickson if he keeps outperforming the advanced metrics to such a large extent, though obviously other teams will be wary of those numbers as well.