Things can be tough for journeyman role players in the big leagues, as Nick Green of the Marlins has learned and is about to learn again.
Just yesterday MLB.com ran a story with the headline: “Green more than veteran presence for Marlins.” An excerpt:
“I just want to play the game the right way–the way it’s supposed to be played,” Green said. “To bunt a guy over or do whatever it takes to get a guy in in certain situations. I feel like everybody is starting to loosen up and not put as much pressure on themselves in those situations.”
Green and Chris Valaika have split time at shortstop since Adeiny Hechavarria went on the disabled list with a bruised right elbow. Although Hechavarria could be reinstated in the next few days, chances are Green and Valaika will both remain with the big league club.
Well, a day later Adeiny Hechavarria is just about ready to come off the disabled list and now the Miami Herald has a story with the headline: “Veteran Green expected to be designated for assignment.” An excerpt:
If he clears waivers, he can either accept a reassignment to the minors with the Marlins or try to sign with another team through free agency. It sounded Wednesday like Green was leaning toward the latter.
“It’s disappointing,” Green said of potentially severing ties with the Marlins. “Everybody wants to be in the big leagues and you got to try to do the best you can when you get a chance. That’s all I could do.”
Twenty four hours can be a long time.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.