Will the Padres trade first base prospect Anthony Rizzo?

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The Padres acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds today as part of their massive haul for Mat Latos, which has led many to wonder whether prospect first baseman Anthony Rizzo will become a trade chip.

With that in mind, Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio this afternoon that the plan right now is for Alonso to play first base at the major league level and Rizzo to continue his development in the minors.

Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade last December, made his major league debut this past season and batted just .141 with one home run and 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats. However, it’s way too soon to call the 22-year-old a bust, as many still like him for his patience and power potential. In fact, Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s top prospect earlier this week. Of course, it’s possible new GM Josh Byrnes views him differently than Jed Hoyer did.

The Padres have no sense of urgency to deal Rizzo right away, but most seem to think a trade is inevitable. This is just speculation for now, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote this afternoon that some wonder whether Rizzo would make sense in a package for Rays’ right-hander Wade Davis. The 26-year-old right-hander signed a four-year, $12.6 million extension earlier this year which includes a series of affordable club options from 2015-2017.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.