Garrett Richards, not Hisanori Takahashi, will take over for the struggling Joel Pineiro in the Angels’ rotation, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com.
Reports over the weekend suggested the Angels weren’t all that enthused about any of their potential replacements for Pineiro, pondering various call-ups in addition to moving Takahashi from the bullpen to the rotation, but instead they’ll go with the most talented and inexperienced option.
Selected with the 42nd overall pick in the 2009 draft, Richards will be making the jump from Double-A, where the 23-year-old right-hander had a 3.06 ERA and 100/40 K/BB ratio in 141 innings.
He projects as a future mid-rotation starter and has certainly impressed at Double-A, but his strikeout rate of 6.4 per nine innings showed less dominance than the shiny ERA and 12-2 record would suggest and his control has been merely decent.
Richards almost can’t help but be an improvement over Pineiro’s recent performance, but Pineiro had a 3.88 ERA in 37 starts for the Angels prior to imploding within the past few weeks and it’ll be tough for the rookie to match those numbers right away.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.