The Rays waited out Juan Carlos Oviedo’s rehab from Tommy John surgery in hopes that he would emerge as a valuable piece in their bullpen this season, but he was designated for assignment this afternoon in order to make way for Jeremy Hellickson’s return from the minors.
After missing all of 2013, Oviedo has posted a 3.69 ERA and 26/16 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings this season. The 32-year-old made himself expendable by allowing 10 runs over his last 15 appearances. He’s owed a little under $750,000 for the remainder of the season, so somebody could take a chance on him the rest of the way.
Hellickson was optioned to Double-A prior to the All-Star break in order to stay fresh, but he’ll return to start tonight against the Red Sox. Sidelined for most of the year following February elbow surgery, the 27-year-old allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings in his season debut against the Royals on July 8.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.