It was odd enough that the Royals chose washed-up veteran Yuniesky Betancourt over promising prospect Johnny Giavotella for the starting second base job this spring, but now Betancourt has been placed on the disabled list with an ankle injury and Giavotella didn’t even get the call to take his spot.
And it’s not because Giavotella has been struggling at Triple-A, as he’s hitting .301 with an .820 OPS in 25 games after hitting .338 with an .871 OPS in 110 games there last season. He’s also 24 years old, so it’s not as if the Royals want to avoid rushing him to the majors.
Instead they called up Irving Falu, a 28-year-old non-prospect in his fourth season at Triple-A who’s hit just .282 with a .697 OPS in 376 career games at the level. And apparently Chris Getz will take over as the primary second baseman despite being 28 years old with a .631 career OPS.
What good is the Royals’ impressive collection of prospects and young players if they’d rather give jobs to guys like Betancourt, Getz, and Falu?
The Brewers have signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year, $5.35 million contract. There are some performance incentives in the deal that could push it to $6.85 million. Feliz will likely open the 2017 season as the Brewers’ closer.
The 28-year-old righty is coming off of an impressive season with the Pirates. His hits allowed per nine innings were WAY down and his WHIP dipped sharply as well, despite the fact that he walked a few more dudes. That was offset by a big spike in his strikeout rate: from 7.3/9IP in 2015 to 10.2 last year. A blemish: he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness, though no structural problem was ever uncovered, he’ll likely be good to go next month.
The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.
For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.
Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.
A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.