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.
A minor trade in among all these high-profile deals, via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:
Lincoln was out of minor league options and the Blue Jays are loaded with relievers. The 28-year-old right-hander registered a 3.98 ERA and 1.58 WHIP across 31 2/3 innings this past season for Toronto.
Kratz will battle Josh Thole for the backup job behind new Blue Jays starting catcher Dioner Navarro. Rasmussen is a 24-year-old left-hander with a rough 6.46 ERA in 54 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level.
Starter Stephen Strasburg shut the Phillies out over nine innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out ten with 99 pitches as the Nationals wrapped up a series sweep at home with a 6-0 victory. Today’s performance marked the tenth time in his young career that Strasburg went into double-digits in strikeouts. The shutout is the first of his career and we expect there will be many, many more.
Outfielder Jayson Werth continued his torrid hitting, going 3-for-4 after entering the ballgame hitting .542 since the start of August. Werth was on third base in the fifth inning when Wilson Ramos hit a ground ball to second baseman Chase Utley. Utley made an errant throw home, allowing Werth to score on what appeared to be a close play, but catcher Erik Kratz couldn’t hold onto the ball. Werth was a little shaken up on the play, and was removed from the game in the seventh inning, replaced by Roger Bernadina.
The win is the Nats’ third in a row. They will play three games against the Giants at home before departing for a ten-game road trip against the Braves, Cubs, and Royals.