If you asked most baseball experts, they’d tell you that Angels prospect Tyler Chatwood is not ready for the big leagues. He made just one appearance above the Double-A level last season and turned 21 years old in December. There’s still an awful lot of polishing on the docket for the youngster.
But he didn’t play that part on Saturday evening against the White Sox. In fact, he looked like an experienced veteran.
Chatwood allowed only one run and five hits over seven innings in below-freezing temperatures at Chicago’s U.S Cellular Field, shutting down a powerful White Sox lineup by mixing a high-90s fastball and mid-70s curve. He walked only two and struck out three, needing only 92 total pitches to earn his first career major league victory in Anaheim’s 7-2 win.
The Angels are only relying on Chatwood here in mid-April because both Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro have landed on the disabled list. The young right-hander isn’t going to be guaranteed a rotation spot for the rest of the season, or even the rest of this month, but he can sure make things interesting if he continues to have success against quality major league lineups.
If Chatwood is doing the job and Kazmir continues to look lost when he returns, the Halos will have a big decision to make. And upside usually rules when it comes to such things.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.