Phillies activate Domonic Brown from DL, send him to Triple-A

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Rather than keep him on a minor-league rehab assignment for his fractured hamate bone, the Phillies activated Domonic Brown from the disabled list yesterday and then optioned him to Triple-A.

That means he’ll continue to play in the minors, but will do so as a Triple-A player rather than a rehabbing big leaguer.

While perhaps not the most important distinction, the Phillies could have allowed him to rehab for another couple weeks and choosing to simply assign him to Triple-A instead stops him from accumulating MLB service time and suggests they aren’t planning to call him up to the majors any time soon.

Or as general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:

I’m not going to bring Domonic Brown up just to bring Domonic Brown. We’re going to bring Domonic Brown up when he’s ready to play in the big leagues and he’s ready to contribute.

Brown is among the elite prospects in baseball and absolutely destroyed Double-A and Triple-A pitching last season at age 22, but he struggled in sporadic action with the Phillies down the stretch and right now Ben Francisco is doing a solid job as the everyday right fielder

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.