As expected, Dominic Brown will undergo surgery tomorrow on the broken hamate bone in his right hand and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Hamate injuries can be tough to recover from, particularly for power hitters, as it often takes a while before their full strength returns.
It’s an unfortunate setback for one of the game’s best hitting prospects, as Brown was deserving of a chance to claim the starting job in right field after hitting .327 with 20 homers, 17 steals, and a .980 OPS in 93 games between Double-A and Triple-A prior to being called up mostly to sit on the Phillies’ bench down the stretch.
In the short term, however, Ben Francisco is capable of doing a decent job as the primary right fielder. He’s off to a good start this spring and has hit .263 with a .775 OPS in 1,221 career plate appearances, which is very close to average production from a corner outfielder. He may be hard-pressed to match those career totals if he’s no longer being spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but expecting much more than that type of production from Brown as a 23-year-old rookie would be wishful thinking anyway.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”