Pedro Alvarez has recovered from the quad injury that placed him on the disabled list back on May 21, but rather than bring him back as their third baseman, the Pirates chose to option him to Triple-A on Saturday.
Alvarez, the second overall pick in the 2008 draft, hit just .208/.283/.304 with two homers and 10 RBI in 125 at-bats before getting hurt. He had hit .235/.386/.382 with one homer in 12 games on his rehab assignment.
“Pedro remains a big part of our future,” GM Neal Huntington said in an email, “But we believe making this move is the best way to get him back on track offensively and defensively so he can help us win games at the major league level.”
In the meantime, the Pirates are left with Josh Harrison getting most of the starts at third base. Chase d’Arnaud is needed at shortstop with Ronny Cedeno out, and Brandon Wood will serve as a backup at both positions.
All in all, Pirates third basemen have hit .230/.287/.331 with six homers and 35 RBI this season. Alvarez’s OPS at third is .596, Harrison’s is .672 and Wood’s is .592.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.