As further evidence that the Phillies have reached “Yankees of the National League” status and will now be linked to every big-name player being shopped, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that “they have been considered frontrunner to land a San Diego reliever.”
Heath Bell is the Padres’ closer and biggest name in the bullpen, but setup man Mike Adams might actually be San Diego’s best reliever. And while Bell is an impending free agent making a bunch of money Adams is relatively cheap and under team control for 2012. In other words, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would be smart to make a play for Adams before he pays a premium for Bell.
Olney notes that Chad Qualls is another Padres reliever who could be on the Phillies’ radar, although he’s more of a solid middle man than late-inning weapon like Adams or Bell. Ryan Madson returned from the disabled list today, allowing the Phillies to push fill-in closer Antonio Bastardo back into a setup role, but apparently with Brad Lidge still on the DL and Jose Contreras’ status uncertain Amaro is pushing for more bullpen help.
Earlier this week Padres GM Jed Hoyer replied “at this point right now I’m not certain” when asked whether Bell will be traded, but the All-Star closer still being in San Diego after July 31 is looking more and more unlikely.
The Cardinals announced a handful of roster moves ahead of Sunday night’s game against the Pirates. Outfielder Dexter Fowler and pitcher Kevin Siegrist were placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right heel spur and a cervical spine strain, respectively. Outfielder Chad Huffman was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. The club recalled outfielder Randal Grichuk and pitcher Mike Mayers and purchased the contract of first baseman Luke Voit from Memphis.
Fowler, 31, apparently suffered his heel injury during Saturday’s game against the Pirates. He had previously missed a few games due to a quadriceps injury. He’s currently hitting .245/.336/.481 with 13 home runs and 35 RBI in 277 plate appearances.
Grichuk, 25, struggled to a .222/.276/.377 triple-slash line over his first 46 games in the big leagues, so the Cardinals sent him down to Triple-A. In 14 games with Memphis, Grichuk hit three doubles and six home runs.
Voit, 25, has crushed Triple-A pitching so far this season, batting .322/.406/.561 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 293 PA. He may see the occasional start at first base, but he’ll be used mostly as a bench bat.
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna recently revealed that he has been dealing with an anxiety issue, Rob Longley of the Toronto Star reports. Osuna specified that the issue is completely off the field, not on the field.
Osuna had been feeling “a little bit anxious, a little bit weird” and said, “I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now.” Despite the anxiety, Osuna volunteered to pitch during Friday’s loss to the Royals, but the Blue Jays smartly chose not to put him into the game.
Osuna said, “I wish I knew how to get out of here and how to get out of this. We’re working on it. We’re trying to find ways to see what can make me feel better. But to be honest I just don’t know.”
It must have been tough for Osuna to make his issue public, as there is still a stigma around dealing with mental issues. Given the prominent position he holds in the Jays’ bullpen, fans become even less empathetic about taking time off to deal with it as well. Hopefully, Osuna is able to use the time off to get the help he needs. And hopefully his going public helps motivate other people dealing with mental issues to seek help for themselves.
The 22-year-old recently became the youngest player in major league history to reach 75 career saves. This season, Osuna is carrying a 2.48 ERA with 19 saves and a 37/3 K/BB ratio in 39 innings.
Update: Osuna pitched the ninth inning of an 8-2 ballgame on Sunday and got all three Royals out on strikeouts.