Indians manager Terry Francona is enjoying having 42-year-old Jason Giambi in camp. In fact, so much so that Giambi will very likely make the Indians’ roster when camp breaks at the end of the month. The Plain Dealer’s Bud Shaw has the details:
He sounds almost that cheery every time Giambi’s name is mentioned. The way Francona talks about him, Giambi would have to accidentally get run over by a Vespa peloton not to make the Indians’ roster out of spring training.
“He has a presence about him,” Francona said when asked about Giambi’s at-bats in camp. “He doesn’t swing at bad pitches ever. He’ll take a walk. He still has his bat speed. I’ve been very impressed.
Francona noted that Giambi won’t face left-handed pitching during the season, even though Giambi posted an .848 OPS against them in 30 plate appearances with the Colorado Rockies last season. Giambi has yet to record a hit in 11 spring training at-bats but has drawn three walks.
Before the Rockies hired Walt Weiss to be their new manager, there were rumors that Giambi would retire as a player to run the show in Colorado. For now, the lefty is happy to continue his playing career in Cleveland.
Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.
Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.
Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.
The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.
Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.
The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.
We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved: A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).