With the top pick in the Rule 5 draft the Astros snagged right-hander Josh Fields from the Red Sox.
Fields was the Mariners’ first-round pick in 2008, going 20th overall out of the University of Georgia, but never reached the majors and is now 27 years old.
He’s always had very good strikeout numbers, but walked 5.9, 5.7, and 6.7 batters per nine innings in his first three pro seasons. That all changed this year, as Fields cut his walk rate to 2.8 per nine innings while posting a 2.01 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 58 innings between Double-A and Triple-A for the Red Sox.
Boston got Fields in the Erik Bedard trade and chose not to protect him, so the Astros will gladly add his mid-90s fastball to their bullpen mix and hope the improved control is for real.
The White Sox have traded multiple relievers recently. They just traded another, sending lefty Dan Jennings to the Rays for first baseman Casey Gillaspie.
Jennings has a 3.45 ERA and a 38/19 K/BB ratio in 44.1 innings. He’ll likely serve as a setup man with Tampa Bay. He’s more than a rental, as he’s under team control for two more years.
Gillaspie, 24, is hitting .227/.296/.357 with nine home runs in 395 plate appearances at Triple-A. He hit much better in 2016 at Triple-A, however, and made it on some top-100 prospects lists. What the White Sox’ plans for him are with Jose Abreu around, however, are unclear.
The Atlanta Braves have optioned shortstop Dansby Swanson to Triple-A Gwinnett.
It was a move that was a long time coming. It was probably overdue. Swanson had been relegated to a backup role since the All-Star break, and him neither (a) contributing to the club; or (b) getting regular work in order to develop as a player, was the least optimal of situations.
Swanson has had a down, momentarily up, and then down again season. He batted .156 in April and .216 in May. He rebounded in June, batting .306, but his July has been a nightmare in which he has gone 6-for-48 with only five walks. He has started just six of the Braves 13 games since the All-Star break, losing time to Johan Camargo.
Swanson, 23, jumped from Double-A to the big club in August of last year and hit .302 with an .803 OPS over 38 games. That earned him the shortstop job heading into 2017, but he’s obviously in need of either more seasoning or, at the very least, some time to clear his head, because he’s not getting the job done.