Crash Course: Weekly Round-Up for June 25-July 2

Welcome to another edition of Crash Course. With the deadline just over four weeks away, rumors are beginning to pick up, making the news quite a bit more interesting. Here is your chance to catch up on all of the rumors, as well as the usual transactions of the week! Happy fourth!

Baltimore Orioles

  • Tim Beckham returned to the Orioles after missing a few months to recover from core surgery.  While Donnie Hart was sent down initially, he replaced Dylan Bundy the following day, as Bundy landed on the disabled list with an ankle sprain. Hart was later replaced by Yefry Ramirez.
  • Craig Gentry and Darren O’Day were both placed on the disabled list this week as well. Gentry is out with a fracture in his rib and O’Day will be out for the season after a severe hamstring strain.  Jimmy Yacabonis and Steven Wilkerson were both called up as replacements, but Yacabonis was sent down a few days later alongside Yefry Ramirez to make room for Paul Fry and Ryan Meisinger. Ramirez returned to replace Wilkerson when he landed on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
    • Corban Joseph was sent outright to Triple-A and O’Day was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.
    • Meisinger is a 24-year old relief prospect who has a very strong control and a mean slider, which causes a lot of strikeouts. While he’s efficient, he may have some trouble, based on his pedestrian groundball numbers. He looks like a mainstay middle reliever to me.
    • As for Fry, he’s one of the O’s many international bonus pool space purchases. The 25-year old lefty has shown inconsistencies in control, groundball rate and bottom line numbers. He’s a guy who will have a horrible season, get cut and signed by another team as a non-roster invite, pitch his way to a multi-year deal and wind up like Anthony Swarzak.
  • In other news, Chance Sisco replaced Austin Wynns.
  • Manny Machado talks are reportedly heating up with the Dodgers, the Phillies, the Diamondbacks and the Indians. While there has been some interest from the Cubs and Brewers, it doesn’t seem like it’s much more than due diligence.
  • Danny Valencia makes so much sense for the Milwaukee Brewers, Nationals, Phillies and Cardinals, as all three have been in the bottom third of offensive teams against lefties. While he may not fetch the O’s a top prospect, I could see something like the Howie Kendrick trade to the Nationals from last season. Regardless, as things stand right now, there should be a rather solid market for him.

Boston Red Sox

  • The big news out of bean town is the acquisition of utility man Steve Pearce from the division rival Jays. Shortstop Santiago Espinal was the cost, and there was some cash exchanged in the deal as well. Pearce replaced Tzu-Wei Lin on the active roster.
    • I love this deal for the Sox, as they didn’t give up much in Espinal, and they got somebody who has been very solid, albeit in limited at bats this season. He is currently hitting .298/.352/.524 with four home runs while offering defensive versatility.
    • This deal also gives something of an indication as to where Dustin Pedroia is at in his recovery. It seems as though it’s going to be a lost season for the second baseman.
  • In other news, Steven Wright landed on the disabled list with some knee inflammation and was replaced by Justin Haley. Haley was sent down last Monday to accommodate William Cuevas.
    • I spent some time talking about Cuevas last week in reference to trade talks with the A’s. Here is what I had to say.
      • “If the A’s want some young starting depth from Boston, William Cuevas is sporting a 3.71 ERA over 80 innings pitched in Triple-A Pawtucket, which is in line with his career 3.79 ERA over 912.1 minor league innings. He’s still just 27-years old and could represent quite the buy-low option. While I wouldn’t send him for Canha straight up, he’s a name to consider.”
  • Finally, the Sox sent  Lorenzo Cedrola to the Reds in exchange for bonus space.
    • I don’t think this is the best move for a team with a very weak system that could be looking for upgrades at the deadline. While Cedrola isn’t a major prospect, he has been very solid this season and looks like he could very well make it to the major leagues as a productive player. I’ll touch a bit more on Cedrola under the Reds’ section

New York Yankees

  • Finally, the Yanks brought up Brandon Drury from Triple-A to replace Luis Cessa. While I would be calling for Ronald Torreyes to be next, he was placed on the Temporarily Inactive List at Triple-A.
  • A.J. Cole was activated from the disabled list, and David Hale had his contract purchased to replace Giovanny Gallegos. Cole will resume pitching in middle relief for the bombers and Hale will probably serve in a mop-up capacity until they need to use the roster spot for something else. He has already been designated for assignment three times this season.
  • While there were a few cuts in the minor leagues, the only one that you really need to know is Cesar Diaz, a 25-year old outfielder who brings solid plate discipline, speed and defensive versatility, as he can play all three outfield spots and second base. He has shown solid contact ability and if signed should be assigned to Double-A. While he’s a bit old to be considered much of a prospect, I see him as a very solid utility guy if given the opportunity. I would use Torreyes as a comp.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • It was a quiet week for the Rays, as the only moves that were made were Johnny Venters and Wilmer Font each landing on the disabled list with non arm injuries, and Hunter Wood and Austin Pruitt being called up.
    • The Venters move could hurt a bit, as he was seen as something of a decent trade chip. If he can’t make it back by July 31st, he looks like an August candidate.
  • In other news, Michael Broadway replaced Cody Hall for the Montgomery Biscuits. Both guys are just depth pieces.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • It was a busy week for the Jays headlined by the aforementioned Pearce deal. They got a guy who looks like he could be a very decent utility player in Santiago Espinal. Espinal is a contact oriented infielder with average power, above average speed and a very solid glove. He strikes me as a guy who could hit .270/.320/.445 in the majors as a semi-regular utility guy while posting solid doubles numbers, probably five home runs and 20 stolen bases a season. Darnell Sweeney replaced Pearce on the active roster bringing tools and versatility to the roster. He was later replaced by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
  • Ryan Tepera landed on the disabled list with some elbow inflammation. This could be a rather difficult situation, as Tepera was slated to be a high profile trade chip. He was replaced by Jake Petricka.
  • The Jays released reliever Al Alburquerque from Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Craig Breslow.
    • This is one of those situations that grinds my gears. Alburquerque has been nothing but a serviceable middle reliever throughout his entire major league career, yet he is perennially overlooked by major league franchises. I can tell you one thing, there is no way that he isn’t better than at least half of the relievers on the Rockies, Indians, Royals and Mets. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a career 3.16 ERA in the major leagues with a 3.37 FIP any day of the week.
  • In other minor news, career minor league outfielder Ian Parmley was released from New Hampshire to make room for minor league first baseman Nash Knight.
    • Neither guy is much more than an emergency call-up by my estimation.

Chicago White Sox

  • Not a ton going on in the south side of Chicago this week. Trayce Thompson cleared waivers and forced the Sox to cut ties with minor league veteran Juan Perez, who had been struggling in the minors this season.
  • Also released from Triple-A was Alex Presley who made room for Jordan Guerrero‘s promotion to Triple-A.
  • I don’t expect the Sox to be particularly active at the deadline, as they have not had too many guys who would draw a worthwhile return, and Jose Abreu is seen as a part of the future. While Yolmer Sanchez and Avisail Garcia could be dealt, Joakim Soria and Xaiver Cedeno are the only two I expect to be traded.

Cleveland Indians

  • The Indians didn’t do too much this week, but one thing that was notable was the release of lefty Shawn Morimando to accommodate Marc Rzepczynski‘s addition to the 40-man roster. Adam Plutko was optioned.
    • While Morimando has struggled this season, why would a team in need of pitching outright release a 25-year old lefty who can go multiple innings? I would have to imagine it was simply a procedural move, and that he will be re-signed to a minor league contract, but I think that there’s a decent back-end lefty there.

Detroit Tigers

  • The Dodgers have been looking into Michael Fulmer, but based on his down year, I wouldn’t expect a trade, unless the Dodgers really gutted their own farm system, which wouldn’t be wise.
  • Shane Green (shoulder) and Leonys Martin (hamstring) were placed on the disabled list and replaced by Mikie Mahtook and Daniel Stumpf. Grayson Greiner was optioned the same day to accommodate Jim Adduci‘s promotion to the majors.
    • This is a really tough blow, as Martin was expected to be one of the Tigers’ higher returns in a deadline haul. The hope is that he can make it back by the time the clock strikes four on July 31st.

Kansas City Royals

  • The Royals placed Justin Grimm back on the disabled list with shoulder impingement syndrome and replaced him with Jason Adam and reinstated Jorge Bonifacio from the restricted list spelling the end of the line for Ryan Goins, who became a free agent after clearing waivers.

Minnesota Twins

  • The biggest news this week is the fact that Byron Buxton was optioned to Triple-A after hitting .156/.183/.200. While it may be too soon to give up on the 24-year old, he has reminded me of Billy Hamilton since he posted a .718 OPS in Class A Advanced back in 2014. I think it’s time the Twins called up LaMonte Wade, who has absolutely nothing left to prove.
  • Felix Jorge was designated for assignment by the Twins this week to make room for Willians Astudillo.
    • I had, and still have a considerable amount of trouble wrapping my head around this one. Why would you designate a 24-year old starter with two minor league options remaining, very good control and some solid secondaries for assignment? I would be floored if he clears waivers, but I see Jorge as a very solid four.
    • Regarding his replacement, I love Astudillo’s bat, and versatility and I’m very happy that he has finally made it to the majors leagues, as it is very well deserved. I think that he has the potential to be a very solid utility guy who can hit .300/.330/.425 in the majors while catching, playing third base and the outfield.
  • The Twins made a ton of moves throughout the week. Ryan LaMarre got the boot as Jake Cave was finally called up and given semi-regular at bats and the final bullpen spot was a carousel, starting with Alan Busenitz, then Adalberto Mejia, Zack Littell and finally Gabriel Moya.

Houston Astros

  • Brian McCann will miss the next four to six weeks prompting the ‘Stros to recall Tim Federowicz from Triple-A.  I would be willing to wager the Astros pursuit of J.T. Realmuto will begin in earnest within the next few days.  While it is now about five months old, here is a link to the last time I visited the Realmuto to Houston case.
  • Carlos Correa was placed on the 10-day disabled list with some back soreness, but I wouldn’t imagine that it’s anything too serious.
  • Cionel Perez was called up but didn’t see any action, as he was sent back down once Yuli Gurriel was activated from the paternity list, and Joe Smith returned from the disabled list replacing A.J. Reed.

Los Angeles Angels

  • As always, the Angels roster was a revolving door this week, so here is a time line.
    • On the 27th, Akeel Morris was optioned to Triple-A, John Lamb was placed on the disabled list to undergo season ending Tommy John surgery, and Jake Jewell and Nolan Fontana were both recalled.
      • This is Lamb’s second time having the surgery, and this is the Angels’ fourth player to go down with this injury. It might be time to reevaluate the medical team, trainers and exactly what the pitching coaches are preaching.
    • Jewell went down the following day with a fibula injury and will be gone for the season. He was replaced by Taylor Cole. Fontana only lasted a day as well, as Eduardo Paredes was recalled to replace him.
    • Two days later, Kaleb Cowart was recalled to replace Michael Hermosillo and catcher Joe Hudson was acquired from the Reds in exchange for cash.

Oakland A’s

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

  • Ronald Guzman spent some time on the 7-day disabled list, and was replaced by Ryan Rua. Upon his return on Tuesday, Chris Martin was sent down to the minor leagues.

Atlanta Braves

  • There was a good amount of roster shuffling for the Braves, so I’m going to do the timeline.
    • Last Monday, Mike Foltynewicz was activated from the disabled list and Evan Phillips was sent to the minor leagues.
    • The following day, Matt Wisler replaced Lucas Sims and Phil Gosselin was sent outright to Triple-A.
    • Last Wednesday saw Wes Parsons earn a well deserved call-up, as he replaced Matt Wisler on the active roster. Mike Soroka was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.
    • The day after that was the most important day of the week for the braves, as Ronald Acuna returned from the disabled list, and Matt Wisler re-joined the active roster. Brandon McCarthy landed on the disabled list with some knee tendinitis and Wes Parsons was sent down.
    • The Braves didn’t make any transactions the next day, but on Saturday, Max Fried was recalled and Peter Bourjos was designated for assignment and elected free agency two days later.
    • Michael Reed joined the Braves for his first major league call-up on Monday, alongside Evan Phillips to replace Peter Moylan who landed on the disabled list with a forearm strain, and Matt Wisler who was sent down.
    • Finally, Arodys Vizcaino re-joined the Braves on Tuesday and replaced Michael Reed.

Miami Marlins

  • Sandy Alcantara made his major league debut this week and it went very well, as he allowed just one run over five. One startling peripheral, however was the fact that he walked five compared to just two strikeouts. He replaced Nick Wittgren on the active roster. Unfortunately, he landed on the disabled list with an infection.
  • The Marlins and Dodgers have apparently engaged in talks regarding the Marlins’ relievers including Kyle Barraclough and Adam Conley. The Fish have set an extremely high asking price, and based on team control, shouldn’t back down from it any time soon.
  • Pablo Lopez replaced Ben Meyer on the active roster over the weekend to give the Fish a fresh arm.
  • PLAYER TO WATCH ALERT: Reliever Kolton Mahoney was just promoted to Triple-A New Orleans. I began following Mahoney after he was released by the Yankees last May, despite strong numbers. He was quickly scooped up by the Marlins and unsurprisingly continued performing well. At the time of his release, Mahoney had a 1.85 ERA over 24.1 innings at Class A and had never exceeded an ERA of three, all while exhibiting strong control. Definitely a gem for the Fish.

New York Mets

  • The Mets landed in the basement of the National League after a very strong start, and have gotten some calls on Zack Wheeler.
  • Transaction-wise, it was a quiet week for the Mets, as Tyler Bashlor replaced Chris Flexen and Gerson Bautista replaced Luis Guillorme only to be replaced by Corey Oswalt two days later.
  • Sandy Alderson stepped down as the team’s general manager due to health reasons. We wish him all the best.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Last Monday was pretty important. Jesmuel Valentin returned from the paternity leave list, replacing Mitch Walding, and Edubray Ramos was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and was replaced with Hector Neris.
  • Neris’ stay didn’t last long, though, as he was replaced by Mark Leiter.
  • Vince Velazquez landed on the disabled list with a forearm contusion and was replaced by Pat Neshek, who was activated from the disabled list.
    • While it is just a contusion, a forearm injury for any pitcher, let alone one who has already undergone Tommy John surgery, is scary. Hopefully it’s nothing, but I maintain my stance that not using Velazquez as a reliever is a huge waste.
  • Jake Thompson replaced Zac Curtis in a bullpen shuffle.

Washington Nationals

Chicago Cubs

  • The Cubs had a ton of movement this week:
    • On Monday, Tyler Chatwood landed on the paternity leave list and was replaced by Duane Underwood and Shae Simmons was sent outright to Triple-A.
    • Kris Bryant and Justin Hancock both landed on the disabled list on Tuesday, and Duane Underwood was optioned to Triple-A. David Bote, Dillon Maples and Luke Farrell were recalled to replace them.
      • Obviously losing Bryant is a huge blow as the Cubs are in the thick of the race, but hopefully he’s back soon.
    • Brandon Morrow returned from the disabled list and replaced Cory Mazzoni on the active roster, and the Cubs lost Brian Duensing to some shoulder fatigue on Sunday, and replaced him with Dillon Maples.

Cincinnati Reds

  • The only important thing that happened with the Reds last week was the Lorenzo Cedrola deal.
    • I like Cedrola as a fourth outfielder. He has very good speed, and doesn’t strikeout very much. He’s a contact guy who is able to rack up doubles, and is already in Class A at just 20 years old. I see him as a second division regular to a very strong platoon player and could be ready to go by mid-2020.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Lorenzo Cain landed on the disabled list with a groin sprain and was replaced by Keon Broxton.
    • Broxton has been at Triple-A all season hitting a pedestrian .263/.336/.431, although it comes with 24 stolen bases and nine home runs. He will serve as a fourth outfielder.
  • Orlando Arcia found himself sent down to the minor leagues, replaced by Aaron Wilkerson, who was replaced by Nate Orf the following day. Arcia was once a top prospect, but has not been good offensively for the Brewers. He joins Domingo Santana in Triple-A Colorado Springs.
  • Mike Zagurski is back in the major leagues for the first time in five seasons. Now 35, Zagurski was once a top prospect for the Phillies, and has been all over including Japan. He was pitching very well in the PCL. He replaced Adrian Houser.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Tanner Anderson had his contract purchased to take Sean Rodriguez‘ spot who landed on the disabled list with a quad strain. Max Moroff was recalled a few days later when Chad Kuhl who landed on the disabled list with a forearm strain.
  • Joe Musgrove landed on the disabled list with a finger infection, and Tanner Anderson and Jose Osuna were both optioned to the minor leagues, while Dovydas Neverauskas and Nick Kingham were each recalled.
  • Francisco Cervelli was placed on the disabled list with a concussion.
  • Finally, 27-year old Enny Romero landed on waivers after missing some time on the disabled list. He could clear, as he has struggled this season, and is out of options. He does have a nice fastball.

St. Louis Cardinals

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

  • Jon Gray was optioned to the minor leagues on Saturday to make room for Raimel Tapia and to make matters worse for the rotation, Chad Bettis landed on the disabled list with a blister. He was replaced by Antonio Senzatela.
    • Gray has posted a 5.77 ERA this season for the Rockies over 92 innings. He’s simply just getting hit very hard, and a .391 BABip doesn’t help, nor does pitching in Colorado. He’ll be back soon.
  • Mike Dunn and Scott Oberg were both activated from the disabled list replacing Jeff Hoffman and Brooks Pounders in the bullpen.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Walker Buehler was activated from the disabled list for about 24 hours. Josh Fields was placed on the disabled list to make room initially, and J.T. Chargois was recalled after he was placed back on the disabled list.
  • The Dodgers have been talking to the Marlins about their relievers. While I doubt anything happens anytime soon, but it’s certainly a situation to monitor.

San Diego Padres

  • Carlos Asuaje was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to replace Matt Szczur, who had hit .187/.265/.267 for the Padres over 57 games. He should clear waivers.
  • Kirby Yates was placed on the paternity list and was replaced by Colten Brewer.
  • Tyler Webb was claimed off of waivers by the Cardinals.

San Francisco Giants

  • The Giants have Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija on rehab and both could rejoin the roster in short order. It was a quiet week in San Francisco.

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