John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman from Triple-A Louisville on September 1. Why not sooner? Well, here’s what manager Dusty Baker told Fay and the Enquirer on Wednesday:
“Who do you take off (the roster)?” Baker said. “It would be somebody else who
pitched well. Everyone in the bullpen is throwing excellent. … That’s
not a good message to our guys here when you perform well and get sent
out. They’re looking over their shoulder for fear of getting sent out. I
want them looking at the prize at the end, not looking behind them.”
Chapman, of course, was inked to a five-year, $30 million contract in January. He has spent most of 2010 as a starter, but the Reds shifted him to relief when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be needed in the rotation this season.
The move, so far, has worked brilliantly. The 22-year-old Chapman has fanned 41 batters and tallied a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings out of the bullpen. He should give a nice shot of energy to the Reds down the stretch.
The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.
Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.
Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.