With Jim Thome joining the club, the Indians have shaken up their roster some in advance of Friday’s game against the Royals. Left fielder Michael Brantley (wrist) and starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (elbow) have both gone on the DL, and left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone has been called up to make his major league debut.
Hagadone, a 2006 supplemental first-round pick of the Red Sox, was seen by many as just as important of a piece as Justin Masterson in the July 31, 2009 deal that sent Victor Martinez from Cleveland to Boston. However, his command deserted him in 2010, and the Indians opted to shift him to the pen at the end of the year. He’s been a fine reliever this season, amassing a 2.65 ERA and a 74/21 K/BB ratio in 68 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
Still, Hagadone’s stay could be a short one, as the Indians will need to replace Tomlin in the rotation next week. Jeanmar Gomez and Mitch Talbot will be candidates to claim the spot. Talbot, who cleared waivers and was outright to Triple-A earlier this month, pitched seven scoreless innings in his last start for Columbus.
Brantley’s absence leaves the Indians with just 3 1/2 outfielders in Shin-Soo Choo, Kosuke Fukudome, Ezequiel Carrera and Shelley Duncan. One wonders if they’ll consider giving Matt LaPorta the occasional start in left against a lefty. In Fukudome, Carrera and Jim Thome, they have three players who don’t typically face many southpaws.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.