Seattle has been shopping closer David Aardsma since the middle of last season and recent reports suggested they were looking for “an impact bat” in exchange for the 29-year-old right-hander, but today’s announcement that he needs surgery to repair a torn hip labrum ruins those plans.
Aardsma is scheduled to go under the knife Monday and could be recovered by the end of spring training, but the surgery rules out a trade before then and most teams will likely want to see him in action for a while prior to reconsidering a deal.
It’ll be interesting to see if the injury impacts Aardsma’s arbitration case, as he earned $2.75 million in 2010 would have been in line for a raise to at least $4 million after saving 31 games with a 3.44 ERA. The surgery may increase the chances that the two sides will settle before a hearing.
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.