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
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.