Pirates left-hander Nik Turley has been suspended for 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance called Ipamorelin, the league announced Saturday. Turley will begin his suspension at the start of the 2018 season.
The 28-year-old lefty is coming off of his first season in the majors, one in which he never quite managed to find his footing. He debuted with the Twins in the summer of 2017 and bounced back and forth between the majors and Triple-A, eventually finishing the year with an unsightly 11.21 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.6 SO/9 in 17 2/3 innings.
Last November, Turley was claimed off waivers by the Pirates, who were presumably hoping to see more of the 2.05 ERA he flashed in Double- and Triple-A than the double-digit numbers he posted in the big leagues. He was expected to give the club some added left-handed depth in the bullpen behind swingman Steven Brault, but will now have to sit out the first 11 weeks of the season before earning another look in the majors.
The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.
Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.
Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.