Most of the civilized baseball world is traveling home from Anaheim today, so there aren’t a ton of leaks and whispers out there. As a result, those truly determined to get a news nugget are beating the bushes hard. Take this latest one from Rosenthal and Morosi:
Derrek Lee has remained noncommittal on the issue of his no-trade clause. But some friends of the Cubs first baseman said this week that they believe he would accept a deal to the right team.
“Some friends.” I like to try to picture how these conversations go down. I get this image of Morosi hanging back at a bar where Lee and some people are having a beer. Lee goes home, Morosi walks over, and the conversation begins something like “So, you’re friends of Derrek Lee, right? Well, I can be a friend to you . . .”
Or maybe not. The point here is that Rosenthal and Morosi are probably right in their analysis of Lee being a good fit with the Angels, if for no other reason than he’s a free agent next year and the Angels have said they’re looking for a rental. I think Lance Berkman may be a better fit because he’s a better hitter, but last we heard he still wanted anyone willing to trade for him to pick up his 2011 option, and that’s simply not happening.
Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.
Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.
The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.
The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.
This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.
It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.