UPDATE: Maybe not. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears the Rays are unlikely to make another deal today. Don’t worry, this madness will be over in an hour or so.
2:24 PM: The Rays already picked up Chad Qualls from the Diamondbacks today, but with Grant Balfour expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a strained intercostal/rib muscle, they are still sniffing around for bullpen help.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Rays have interest in Scott Downs of the Blue Jays and Brandon League of the Mariners.
League has a 3.40 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 47 appearances with the Mariners this season. The 27-year-old right-hander is under team control until 2013, so there isn’t much urgency for Trader Jack to swap him. He’d be costly.
Downs has a 2.34 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 47 appearances with the Jays this season. He projects to be a Type A free agent, so the Blue Jays probably be just fine with keeping him and taking the draft picks if they don’t receive a substantial offer.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.