As chaotic as things are with the Rockies pitching staff right now, is this really the time to be adding a top prospect from Double-A? GM Dan O’Dowd obviously thinks so. The club called up Edwar Cabrera today and announced that he’d make his major league debut in starting Wednesday’s game.
He’ll be taking the spot of Alex White, who struggled in both of his outings after the Rockies went to a four-man rotation.
The 24-year-old Cabrera was a late bloomer for Colorado. He didn’t even make his full-season debut until last year, but when he did, he went 8-3 with a 3.34 ERA and a 217/47 K/BB ratio in 167 innings for two A-ball teams. This year, he was 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA and an 82/23 K/BB ratio in 98 innings for Tulsa.
There’s still some skepticism regarding the left-hander. Even though he led the entire minors in strikeouts last year, Baseball America ranked him as the Rockies’ No. 18 prospect entering 2012. While his other numbers this season were great, he had given up 15 homers for Tulsa, a total that suggests he might not be a great fit in Coors Field.
All signs point to Cabrera being used just like the rest of the Rockies’ starters: three days’ rest, 75-pitch limit. That’s the case even though he was used conventionally in the minors: all of his recent starts had come on four days’ rest and he had pitched a total of 22 innings in his last three starts.
Especially in the wake of pitching coach Bob Apodaca’s departure, this seems like the wrong time for the Rockies to be breaking in someone new. Still, I will be very interested to see how Cabrera performs. He has some truly remarkable numbers. In April, he pitched 33 innings and allowed six runs, all of them coming on solo homers. In all, 23 percent of the hits he’s allowed this year have been homers (15 HR, 65 H). No MLB pitcher has ever had such a high ratio in a 150-inning season. Three have in a 120-inning season, and two of those were Coors Field-aided (Scott Elarton in 2001 and Denny Stark in 2002).
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.