Marck Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that The Tampa Bay Rays are calling up top prospect Blake Snell to start Saturday against the Yankees.
Snell, a lefty, posted a 1.41 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 134 innings last season between A-ball, Double-A AA, and Triple-A and was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year for 2015. In three starts at Triple-A this year he’s struck out 21 batters in fourteen and a third innings. He’s 23 and was the Rays’ first round pick in 2011.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Michael Bourn to a minor league contract. The Braves had released him a week ago.
Bourn, 33, hit .238/.310/.282 with 17 stolen bases in 482 plate appearances between the Indians and Braves last season and then couldn’t make a bad Braves club out of camp. He’ll likely be in the minors until an injury or two happens, or until he shows that he’s really prepared to bounce back in a major way.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that Dallas Braden has been named Curt Schilling’s replacement on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball broadcasts.
Braden, famous for tossing a perfect game in 2010, retied from baseball in early 2014, calling his arm a “shredded mess.” He only pitched 18 more innings after the 2010 season, saying “I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum.” Since then he has had various media jobs, most recently as a studio talking head on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.”
All in all it’s a pretty logical move. Braden’s profile has been rising on ESPN telecasts. I can’t say I’ve caught enough of his stuff on the air to know if he’s any good, but he’s always been outspoken and a little off-the-wall. The sort of player who eschewed cliches. That’s probably a good trait to have in this line of work.
While it might be nice for sports broadcasts to get away from hiring ex-players all of the time, if they’re going to do so they should at least try to get a mix of competent analysis and entertainment value. That’s a hard balance, of course — Schilling’s original hire was likely based on him being an outspoken, unpredictable guy and we see how that turned out — but it’s worth trying again. ESPN will now try it with Braden.