Gregory Polanco is the Pirates’ top prospect. Last night he made his big league debut. It was OK — he got himself a hit and scored a run — but overall was fairly “meh.” He popped out to shortstop in his first at-bat and lined an 0-1 fastball into left-center field for his first major league hit in the third. He finished 1 for 5. He also had a dubious defensive play, allowing Anthony Rizzo’s long drive to right-center field deflect off the heel of his glove. It was ruled a double and a run scored, but it could’ve been called an error.
Polanco, a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, was hitting .347/.405/.540 with seven home runs, 49 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and 47 runs scored over his first 62 games for Triple-A Indianapolis at the time of his promotion. He came to most people’s attention last month when he turned down a seven-year contract offer that would have expedited his promotion, Jon Singleton-style.
But now he’s in the bigs. And, thankfully, one game in the bigs does not a career make. This guys is gonna be good.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).