Second baseman Brad Emaus, who was just returned from the Mets to the Blue Jays under the terms of his Rule 5 status, was traded from Toronto to Colorado for right-hander Chris Malone on Friday.
The Rockies, presumably, will stick Emaus at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Had they wanted him for the major league team, they could have simply claimed him off waivers from the Mets before he was returned to Toronto.
Now that Emaus is no longer on a 40-man roster, he can freely be assigned to the minors. The 25-year-old hit .162/.262/.162 in 37 at-bats for the Mets after winning the team’s second-base job in spring training. He was designated for assignment earlier this week when the team decided to instead go with Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner there.
In return for Emaus, the Jays pick up the 27-year-old Malone, who had allowed two earned runs over 4 1/3 innings as a reliever for Double-A Tulsa this season. He had a 4.10 ERA and a 45/27 K/BB ratio in 59 1/3 innings for Tulsa last year, but he is a strong groundball pitcher and the Jays must see something they think he can do better.
Emaus is further insurance for the Rockies in the infield in case they eventually opt to trade Jose Lopez or even Ian Stewart. He’ll likely play mostly second base for Colorado Springs initially.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.