Enough off days already. PLEASE. I’m begging you. Just give me my dang baseball games.
Here’s some news from around the league …
- Well, in case Pedro Strop’s blown save yesterday or Brandon Morrow’s bad news from earlier in the week (he’s shut down) made you think the Cubs were inching closer to Craig Kimbrel, I’d slow your roll. Ken Rosenthal may not have explicitly excluded the Cubs from the conversation, but he did mention that the Mets and (of course) Brewers are “among teams still in touch with Kimbrel.” Aside from the Braves, those have been the only three teams explicitly in on Kimbrel for a while now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if those are the only serious suitors. At some point, you’d hope the Cubs would jump into the discussion, but it remains unlikely.
- For what it’s worth Ken Rosenthal got into the Braves’ apparent apathy towards adding Kimbrel, and discouraged it. In fact, he thinks, given their window of contention, lack of a postseason series win since 2001(!), and general bullpen needs, they should probably go out and get him. He also thinks the draft pick given up to acquire Kimbrel should probably not be a big consideration. Most of it can be said about the Cubs, as well.
- And as for the Brewers, they might not know how well Jeremy Jeffress can contribute now that he’s back in the fold, but Josh Hader has shown that he’s human, so maybe they’ll feel an extra push towards getting something done. We’ll see.
- For what it’s worth, Kimbrel is not the only pitcher the Mets and Brewers may be chasing together. Gio Gonzalez was released by the Yankees earlier today (er, rather, he exercised the opt-out in his Minor League deal after they told him he would not be added to the 25-man roster) and is now a free agent. According to Andy Martino, the Brewers and Mets are both interested in signing the left-hander.
- Gonzalez, 33, was very successful with the Brewers in a small sample last season (25.1 IP, 2.13 ERA), but struggled quite a bit in the other 145.2 IP with the Nationals (4.57 ERA). He made three starts in the Yankees Minor League system this year, and although his strikeout rate was good (28.4%), his results were not 6.00 ERA. Maybe the Brewers found a way to succeed with him, maybe not, but I don’t feel as worried about him landing back in Milwaukee as I do Kimbrel.
- Jacob deGrom completed a bullpen session “without issue” earlier today, but Mets fans are not holding their breath. The 2018 NL Cy Young award winner has been on the shelf since Friday with a right elbow injury (apparently stemming from an illness?) and that’s never something you want to see. For now, though, the news is good and he’s scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday. It’s entirely possible, according to MLB.com, that if all goes well he’ll return from the IL on Friday … just in time to start against the Brewers. Go, Jacob!
- The injury-beset Yankees have signed veteran infielder Brad Miller, recently released by the Indians, to a Minor League contract.
- The Cardinals have placed Michael Wacha on the 10-day Injured List, retroactive to Friday, with a left knee injury. He joins fellow pitchers Luke Gregerson, Carlos Martinez, Mike Mayers, and Brett Cecil on the IL. Meanwhile, Alex Reyes is down in Triple-A. The Cardinals have a TON of pitching talent, as usual, but they are not particular healthy right now.
- Speaking of Martinez, arguably the most proven talent of the bunch, he’s reportedly “feeling great” as he works his way back from a shoulder injury, though it doesn’t sound like a return is exactly imminent. And even if it were, it’s not entirely clear if he’d step right back into the rotation or make a pitstop in the bullpen first.
- And while we’re on the injury front:
Torn ACL for Matt Shoemaker. Out for the year #BlueJays
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 21, 2019
- The Blue Jays are unlikely to be competitive this year either way, but losing Shoemaker, who was pitching extremely well early, won’t help.
- Pirates prospect Cole Tucker was not on the preseason top-100 list at MLB Pipeline, but he was a former first round draft pick and had a great debut over the weekend. Here’s how Adam Berry so poetically put it at MLB.com: “As storm clouds gathered over the city and lightning struck in the distance, the former first-round pick blasted a tie-breaking two-run homer to center field to earn his first Major League hit, homer and curtain call just before the Pirates’ 3-1 win over the Giants was called after five innings due to rain.” Now that’s how you debut, kid. I know he’s on the Pirates, but that’s just a fun story.
- Jordan Hicks … still throwing extremely hard:
- Eloy Jimenez’s grandmother died on Sunday night, so the former Cubs prospect, current White Sox big leaguer, has returned to the Dominican Republic and will remain on the bereavement list until Friday. Obviously, we send all of our love and condolences his way.
- The Cubs are fortunate enough to miss Clayton Kershaw during this weekday series against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, because while he’s started late, he’s started relatively strong through his first 2 starts, 13.0 IP, 7Hs, 4ER, 13Ks, 4BBs. He’s not the guy he once was, sure, but he can still be very effective. At FanGraphs, Craig Edwards tries to figure out what type of pitcher Kershaw is turning into – a process that really started last season – and it’s a pretty interesting read.
The Toronto #BlueJays, fresh off a three-game sweep over the Oakland #Athletics, should have all of Canada buzzing when they are expected to call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on Tuesday when they play the #SFGiants in Toronto. All that remains is the official announcement.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 22, 2019
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 22, 2019
- In yet another, later tweet, Nightengale seemed to suggest that the home series starting this Friday could be the debut for Guerrero Jr., but, I mean, take it with a grain of salt. Obviously, it’s coming at some point soon, but who knows when. Whenever he comes, Guerrero is going to be a transformative player.