Alex Gordon has been destroying Triple-A pitching since his demotion last month, hitting .359 with 10 homers and a 1.128 OPS in 38 games. He ranks second among Pacific Coast League hitters in batting average (.359), on-base percentage (.486), slugging percentage (.641), and OPS (1.128).
Meanwhile, the Royals are 27-37 and rank 12th in the league with a measly .668 OPS from their left fielders, with 34-year-old Scott Podsednik starting 59 of 64 games there. Normally that would equal an easy decision when it comes to calling Gordon back up and handing him the everyday job in left field, but since the Royals are the Royals they’ll instead leave him at Triple-A.
General manager Dayton Moore revealed over the weekend that the Royals have no plans to recall Gordon any time soon, and manager Ned Yost later echoed those comments:
I don’t want to bring Alex up here right now if he’s not going to play. And we’ve got enough outfielders with [Rick] Ankiel coming up, and that’s going to create another player to put in the mix. To me, he’s better off down there playing every day until something opens up.
Agreed, but here’s a craaaaaaaaazy idea: How about bringing Gordon up and playing him?
Podsednik is a 34-year-old corner outfielder with a .340 slugging percentage and Ankiel is a (currently injured) 30-year-old with a putrid .675 OPS in 141 games since the start of last season. Why in the world would a rebuilding team rather give regular playing time to either of them instead of a 26-year-old former No. 2 overall pick who has been crushing Triple-A pitching for the past six weeks?
So far this season 12 different Royals hitters have logged at least 50 plate appearances and Billy Butler is the only one younger than the 26-year-old Gordon. Meanwhile, Gordon and fellow 26-year-old Kila Ka’aihue rank second and third in the PCL in OPS. Perhaps Moore has abandoned all hope of putting together a winner in Kansas City and is instead focusing on building the Triple-A squad into a PCL contender?
What a mess.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.
Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.
The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.
Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.
As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.
Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.
If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.
Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.
But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.
Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.
There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.
Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.
Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.
We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.
Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.
The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.
Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.