A disappointing day for the Royals got worse late Thursday night, as the team discovered that first baseman Eric Hosmer could miss 3-4 weeks with a stress fracture in his hand.
It’s an especially poorly-timed injury with the trade deadline having just passed. Worse, the Royals recently traded Danny Valencia to the Blue Jays for catcher Erik Kratz, denying them their best fallback option at first base. They’ll most likely turn to Raul Ibanez for now. They could later explore a deal for Boston’s Mike Carp or Seattle’s Corey Hart once waivers go through.
Hosmer has had a disappointing year, but he was the Royals’ best player of late, hitting .377/.436/.551 with two homers in 21 games this month. Ibanez is hitting .209/.244/.372 in 43 at-bats since joining the Royals and .167/.255/.287 in 209 at-bats this year.
It’s not a big deal, but the Blue Jays and Royals have pulled off a trade this evening which will send infielder Danny Valencia to Toronto and catcher Erik Kratz and right-hander Liam Hendriks to Kansas City.
Valencia, 29, is batting .282/.328/.382 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 119 plate appearances this season. While he does most of his damage against left-handed pitching, he could see semi-regular playing time at third base until Brett Lawrie is ready to return from a fractured right index finger.
Kratz has hit just .198/226/.346 in 84 plate appearances at the major league level this season, but he slugged 18 home runs over 118 games with the Phillies from 2012-2013. At the very least, he has a chance to be an upgrade over Brett Hayes as Salvador Perez’s backup. Hendriks, 25, owns an ugly 6.06 over 31 starts and two relief appearances in the majors. With a 2.33 ERA in Triple-A this year, he’ll serve as rotation depth with his new club.
According to John Lott of Canada’s National Post, the Blue Jays have placed closer Casey Janssen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 29, with a left abdominal strain. The Blue Jays recalled catcher Erik Kratz in a corresponding roster move.
Janssen was limited to three appearances this spring in the Grapefruit League because of soreness in his right shoulder. It’s not clear when he suffered the abdominal strain or how long it will sideline him for.
Sergio Santos will presumably handle the majority of early-season save opportunities for the Jays, who open Monday afternoon against the Rays.
UPDATE, 4:18 p.m. ET: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos just spoke to the media …
Philadelphia has a new backup catcher, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Phillies have signed 36-year-old Wil Nieves after trading Erik Kratz for Brad Lincoln yesterday.
Nieves spent this year with the Diamondbacks, backing up Miguel Montero and hitting .297 with one homer and a .690 OPS in 71 games for the second-highest OPS of his 10-season career.
Now he’ll play behind Carlos Ruiz, who re-signed with the Phillies on a three-year, $26 million deal at age 34.