The Diamondbacks are about to get… older.
According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Arizona is close to agreement on a one-year contract with infielder Geoff Blum.
The veteran Blum posted a poor .267/.321/.356 batting line, two home runs and 22 RBI in 202 at-bats for the Astros this year and they rewarded that effort by declining his $1.65 million mutual option at the end of the regular season.
He played first base, second base, third base and shortstop, but he lacks the range to truly be considered versatile.
The good news for D’Backs fans is that Blum will come cheap — cheaper than the $1.65 million that he would have made in Houston — and likely represents a slight offensive upgrade over the utility infielders that populated Arizona’s 25-man roster throughout 2010.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers expressed a desire earlier this month to bring in a few veteran bats. He moved quickly to satisfy that goal.
UPDATE: Gilbert now says that the deal is for two years and could be announced as soon as Friday. Without knowing the financial details, it’s safe to say that new D’Backs GM Kevin Towers is not off to a good start.
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.