Rockies set to call up Carlos Gonzalez

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Earlier this week Matt Holliday talked about whether or not the A’s will end up trading him during the next two months, but in the meantime the Rockies are calling up the centerpiece of the deal that sent Holliday to Oakland.

Carlos Gonzalez is expected to join the Rockies in time for tonight’s
game after the 23-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder batted
.339/.418/.630 with 10 homers, 29 total extra-base hits, and 59 RBIs in
48 games at Triple-A.

Those numbers are inflated quite a bit by the extremely
hitter-friendly environment at Colorado Springs, but .339/.418/.630 is
still damn good and he hit .316/.398/.541 on the road along with
.362/.439/.723 at home. Originally signed by Arizona as a 17-year-old
out of Venezuela in 2002, Gonzalez has already been the main prospect
on the move in trades for Dan Haren and Matt Holliday, which says
plenty about both his long-term upside and current flaws.

He’s hit .291 in 632 games as a minor leaguer and looks capable of
smacking 30 homers annually with Coors Field on his side, but aside
from his time at Triple-A he’s rarely walked and struck out quite a
bit, posting an ugly 446/156 K/BB ratio between rookie-ball, Single-A,
and Double-A. He also struggled mightily with the A’s last season,
hitting .242/.273/.361 with a hideous 81/13 K/BB ratio in 85 games.

On the other hand, Gonzalez has a very solid 73/44 K/BB ratio in 460
plate appearances at Triple-A, along with hitting .312/.385/.526. He’s
never going to draw a ton of walks, but if his control of the strike
zone at Triple-A is for real Gonzalez certainly looks capable of
developing above-average plate discipline and at the very least is
safely beyond the swing-at-everything career path that has doomed so
many promising prospects.

Dexter Fowler’s presence means that Gonzalez won’t be manning center
field in Colorado, but he rated well there last year according to
Ultimate Zone Rating and should be a strong defensive corner
outfielder. In terms of raw talent he’s among the most promising young
outfielders in baseball and if his newfound plate discipline is here to
stay Gonzalez’s second stint in the majors may last for a couple
decades.

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.