Danny Salazar was supposed to be one of the breakout stars of this season, but instead the 23-year-old Indians right-hander pitched himself back to Triple-A by going 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in eight starts and now he’s struggling in the minors too.
Salazar has started three games at Triple-A since being demoted on May 16 and he’s 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA, allowing 29 baserunners in 12.2 innings. By comparison, at Triple-A last season Salazar posted a 2.73 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 59.1 innings before being called up to Cleveland for his big-league debut.
Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Salazar has had problems with his mechanics since the demotion and in particular “had trouble keeping his lead arm at a consistent height.”
Salazar is a huge part of the Indians’ future and when they demoted him to Triple-A last month it was no doubt done with the idea of bringing him back to the majors pretty quickly, but now those plans are on hold.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.