Yesterday afternoon reports had the Indians trying to sign either Mark Reynolds or Kevin Youkilis to be their new first baseman. Last night Reynolds accepted their one-year, $6 million offer, which is quite a bit less than Cleveland is said to have offered Youkilis and seemingly makes it much more likely that Youkilis will wind up in New York.
Jeff Bradley of the Newark Star Ledger writes that the Yankees have probably “inched closer” to signing Youkilis as a fill-in for Alex Rodriguez at third base. Previous reports had the Yankees offering him a one-year, $12 million deal and Youkilis’ agent said he was “strongly considering” the offer.
A few other teams have also been linked to Youkilis, so he certainly has some options beyond the Yankees, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that it’s possible the Indians may still be interested in him even after signing Reynolds.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.