After trading for Ervin Santana and re-signing Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals are determined to add a frontline starting pitcher in order to give some legitimacy to their rotation. And they are willing to go to great lengths in order to accomplish their goal.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Royals have dangled top prospect outfielder Wil Myers in trade talks. In fact, pretty much anyone outside of Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar, who have team-friendly contracts, can be had for the right pitcher.
From veterans like designated hitter Billy Butler to left fielder Alex Gordon to youngsters like first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, the Royals aren’t limiting themselves in their search for a pitcher. Butler and Gordon come with track records of production – and contracts to match. Butler is owed $16 million over the next two years, with a $12.5 million club option in 2015. Gordon will make $31.5 million through ’15 and has a player option at $12.5 million for 2016.
Passan hears that the Royals have discussed deals with the Rays, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Athletics. While they “covet” Rays right-hander James Shields, they are hesitant to trade for him because he only has two years left on his contract and has logged the second-most regular season innings over the past two seasons.
Myers, who turns 22 next month, batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs, 109 RBI and a .987 OPS in 134 games this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. Baseball America named him as their minor league player of the year.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.