The Pirates are shaking things up in the outfield this season, according to a team announcement that was made on Sunday. With the new alignment, Andrew McCutchen will vacate center field to take over in right, Gregory Polanco will switch from right to left field, and Starling Marte will move from left to center field.
Marte alluded to the change on Saturday, telling MLB Dominicana that he had officially made the switch to center field for the 2017 season. Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle issued the following quote in response:
McCutchen, 30, saw a sharp decline in his defensive skills during the 2016 season, delivering a career-worst -28 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a -18.7 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) that contrasted negatively with the -8 DRS and -6.1 UZR he posted in 2015.
Polanco and Marte, meanwhile, produced more palatable numbers in 2016 despite suffering through multiple stints on the disabled list. Polanco posted two DRS and a 6.2 UZR from right field, while Marte earned Gold Glove honors in left field after turning in 17 DRS and a 6.2 UZR to complement an impressive offensive performance.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network says that the Nationals could pursue Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray if Stephen Strasburg‘s forearm issue lingers. Strasburg left Sunday’s start early due to forearm tightness, saying he was unable to get loose. Sometimes that’s a sign of a major injury. Sometimes it’s just a thing that happens and then goes away.
The Nationals will have to make a determination as to how big a deal this all is pretty soon, though, as a lot of other teams, including the Yankees, Brewers and Astros have all been linked to Gray. It seems inevitable at this point that the A’s will move their ace before Monday’s trade deadline.
Gray is set to start tonight. It may very well be his last in an A’s uniform.