Justin Upton has been mentioned in trade rumors for a long time now, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new one. And it’s pretty juicy.
Justin Upton for Chase Headley?
The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres have held on-and-off discussions about a trade involving those players since July, but the talks have failed to progress, according to major-league sources.
The Diamondbacks, however, continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, sources say, while also considering offers for another of their outfielders, Jason Kubel.
Rosenthal speculates that the Padres would likely need to add more to Headley, who is coming off a breakout season in which he finished fifth in the NL MVP balloting. The 28-year-old third baseman projects to make around $8 million via arbitration next season and is under team control through 2014. Meanwhile, Upton doesn’t turn 26 until next August and is under contract for $38.5 million over the next three years. Headley would give the Diamondbacks the third baseman they have been looking for while Jedd Gyorko could take over at third base for the Padres. Talks haven’t gone anywhere and trading within the division is unlikely, but it sure is an interesting scenario.
The Rangers have been connected to Upton all winter and Rosenthal hears that they have been “persistent” and “relentless” in their pursuit. Still, they would prefer to put together a deal with Mike Olt as the centerpiece as opposed to Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. Unsatisfied, the Diamondbacks believe they could find a better deal with a team like the Mariners, who are desperate to add a power hitter. While Upton has the Mariners on his four-team no-trade list, Rosenthal speculates that they could convince him to accept a deal if they extend his contract. The Braves have also made “strong overtures” for Upton, setting up the possibility of teaming him up with his brother, B.J. Upton, who signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the club earlier this offseason.
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.