Gregory Polanco got off to a great start after the Pirates called him up in mid-June, but the 22-year-old top prospect has been slumping for the past two months and recently manager Clint Hurdle has decided to play Travis Snider over him in right field.
And now the Pirates have demoted Polanco back to Triple-A, where hit .347 in 62 games prior to being called up.
From a performance standpoint it’s tough to argue with the demotion, as Polanco has hit just .204 with three homers and a .564 OPS in his last 40 games. And if he wasn’t going to play regularly in the majors he might as well play regularly in the minors, but with the minor-league season winding down and September 1 roster expansion right around the corner it seems likely that Polanco will be back in Pittsburgh within a week or two anyway.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.