Some unfortunate news this morning out of Atlanta.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman suffered a strained right oblique during Saturday’s comeback victory over the Cubs and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. There is no timetable for his return, but oblique strains typically require a recovery of 3-4 weeks.
Freeman, 23, hit an RBI single on Saturday night and is currently batting .412/.474/.647 through his first 19 plate appearances of the season. The Braves have a 4-1 record, tied for first in the National League East.
Blake DeWitt was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding 25-man roster move.
UPDATE, 10:33 PM: Freeman told Bowman that he actually suffered the oblique strain last Sunday. He’s been able to play through it and is upset that the Braves have suddenly opted to put him on the DL.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.