2:32 p.m. EDT update: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal hears that the Angels are likely to keep Kendrick since they haven’t been offered the kind of starting pitcher they want.
Residing in last place with a 49-57 record in the AL East, the Blue Jays aren’t looking for any rentals at the trade deadline. However, they do have their eyes on the Angels’ Howie Kendrick, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.cn.
Kendrick could fill the hole at second base that’s been a problem for Toronto this year. The Blue Jays recently tried Brett Lawrie there, only to quickly move him back to third. The 30-year-old Kendrick has hit .301/.344/.446 with 11 homers and 45 RBI in 395 at-bats for the Angels. He’s under control through 2015 and is owed about $22 million over the next 2 1/3 seasons, but he became a bit more expendable last night with the pickup of Grant Green in the Alberto Callaspo deal with Oakland.
In return for Kendrick, the Angels would certainly prefer young, cost-controlled starting pitching. The Jays don’t have a lot to offer, though, not with Brandon Morrow hurt yet again. Chad Jenkins, their most major league-ready pitcher in Triple-A, is also on the DL. They do have intriguing arms further away, but those might not be so tempting to an Angels team that will aim to contend in 2014. Infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio would make sense as a lesser part in a deal, but not as the prime piece.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.