Dan Hayes of the North County Times has confirmed the speculation about Anthony Rizzo’s impending arrival, citing a team source who says the stud first base prospect will be in the Padres’ lineup for tomorrow’s game against the Nationals.
Rizzo was already in San Diego to have his injured thumb examined, but the Padres have been coy about whether he’d stick around and moving Brad Hawpe from first base to right field was some pretty obvious writing on the wall.
Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade this offseason, forced the earlier-than-expected call-up by hitting .365 with 16 homers, 20 doubles, and a ridiculous 1.159 OPS in 52 games at Triple-A as a 21-year-old.
That production is well beyond anything he’s done in the past, as Rizzo entered the season with an .850 career OPS, but Baseball America ranked him as a top-75 prospect even before this year’s explosion and he’s definitely the Padres’ long-term replacement for Gonzalez at first base and in the middle of the lineup.
Between his arrival and Nick Hundley’s return from the disabled list San Diego’s pitiful lineup is getting a whole lot stronger after scoring an MLB-worst 3.4 runs per game through 62 games.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.