The 40-46 Padres, still surprisingly in the thick of things in the tight-knit NL West at 4.5 games behind, will get a boost in the lineup tonight as Everth Cabrera returns from the disabled list, per the team’s official Twitter. In a related move, 23-year-old right-hander Burch Smith, sitting on an 11.37 ERA in 12.2 innings, was optioned to Triple-A Tuscon.
Cabrera, putting up All-Star-caliber numbers, was sidelined since June 17 with a strained left hamstring. Until the injury, he had posted a .305/.382/.418 line with 31 stolen bases in 38 attempts. FanGraphs still has him as the most valuable shortstop in baseball at 3.6 Wins Above Replacement, a hair above Jean Segura at 3.5. In Cabrera’s absence, the Padres relied on Pedro Ciriaco at shortstop, but the former member of the Pirates and Red Sox organizations posted a paltry .634 OPS.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.