According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shin-Soo Choo is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment today with Class A Lake County.
Choo required surgery after being hit in the left thumb by a pitch on June 24. He began taking batting practice last week and was cleared to return after having his surgically-repaired thumb examined by Dr. Thomas Graham on Saturday and making it through BP with Lake County yesterday with no issues.
This has been a disappointing season for Choo in many respects. In addition to his DUI in the spring and recent thumb injury, the 29-year-old outfielder is batting just .244/.333/.353 with five homers, 28 RBI and a .687 OPS over 306 plate appearances.
It’s not known how many at-bats Choo will need in the minor leagues, but he has previously said that he would like to return during a series against the White Sox from August 16-18. While he should be back sometime within the next two weeks, that might not be quick enough to help the reeling Indians. After losing eight of their last 12, the Indians currently sit at 56-56, four games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.