It was only a matter of when and where for Brandon League, and he was finally sent off Monday night, going to the Dodgers for outfielder Leon Landry and right-hander Logan Bawcom.
League saved 37 games in 42 chances for the Mariners last season, but he lost his closer gig in May and was never given a chance to win it back. Despite his early struggles, he had his ERA down to 2.91 as of Friday. From there, with the trade rumors swirling, he gave up four runs in his final two appearances for the Mariners, taking him up to 3.63.
Able to get both grounders and strikeouts in bunches, League has always seemed like something of an underachiever, even though he appears on his way to a third straight strong season. The Dodgers will use him in the seventh and eighth innings in front of closer Kenley Jansen.
In return, the Mariners pick up a couple of semi-promising youngsters. Landry, 22, was hitting .328/.358/.559 with eight homers and 20 steals for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The base on balls isn’t a part of his game, but also doesn’t strike out very much (52/14 K/BB in 345 AB) and he’s an excellent athlete. Double-A next year will determine whether he should be looked at as a future regular.
Bawcom, 23, had a 2.03 ERA and a 60/22 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings out of the pen between Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga this year. He’s a fastball-slider pitcher with a chance of being useful in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.
It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.
Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.