UPDATE: This one’s done, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times. Despite reports of a “twist,” the only hold-up now is a routine physical for all three involved players.
WEDNESDAY: From MLB.com’s Corey Brock comes word that the Padres have landed shortstop Jason Bartlett from the Rays in exchange for two relievers — Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell.
The Rays are prepared to go with the slick-fielding Reid Brignac at shortstop next season and dealt from their surplus of middle infielders in order to tidy up a bullpen that had been ravaged by free agent departures.
Bartlett, 31, posted a poor .254/.324/.350 batting line this past season and probably won’t make much of an improvement while playing half of his games at the massive PETCO Park. But he’s an upgrade over what the Padres trotted out in 2010 and he did register an 879 OPS in 2009 — just one year ago.
Ramos, 26, posted a 3.28 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 96 innings this year at Triple-A. He has some starting experience but will almost certainly be used as a reliever in Tampa. Russell, 27, registered a 1.21 WHIP over 12 relief appearances in 2010.
ESPN’s Keith Law has released his annual top-100 prospects list. According to Law, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the number one prospect in baseball.
After blazing through High-A and Double-A ball last season, Acuna was the youngest player in Triple-A in 2017. He was 19 years-old all season long and put up a fantastic line of .335/.384/.534 in 486 plate appearances at Double and Triple-A. He then went on to star in the Arizona Fall League, leading that circuit in homers. Law, who is not one to throw hyperbolic comps around, says, “if Acuna stays in center and maxes out his power, he’s going to be among the best players in baseball, with a Mike Trout-ish profile.”
Acuna, who is 20 now, is likely play the bulk of the season in Atlanta, even if he’s kept down at Triple-A for the first couple of weeks of the season to manipulate his service time, er, I mean to allow him to develop his skills more fully. Or something. Given the presence of reigning Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte, Acuna is not likely to man center for the Braves this year, but Law says he’d be a plus right field defender, which could make the Braves outfield Death to Flying Things in 2018. At least when Nick Markakis is not playing.
Number two on the list: Blue Jays third base prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As law notes, the name may be familiar but he’s not very much like his old man. Mostly because young Vlad can take a walk. Which is better, even if it’s nowhere near as fun as swinging at balls that bounce in the dirt first.
For the other 98, you’ll have to click through.