Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he is pleased with Aroldis Chapman’s transition to the bullpen.
“Excellent,” GM Walt Jocketty said when asked how Chapman was doing
as a reliever. “His last time out [on Saturday], he pitched one inning
and faced two left-handed hitters and struck them out. He got the
right-hander out. In that one performance, he was dominating.”
Chapman has allowed one run over three innings in two relief appearances with Triple-A Louisville, striking out five and walking one. The Cuban fireballer was scheduled to work two innings behind the rehabbing Edinson Volquez on Tuesday night.
As for when we’ll see Chapman debut in the big leagues, there’s at least a chance it could be before the end of July.
“It’ll be some time after the All-Star break before we make a decision,”
Chapman’s control, as evidenced by his walk rate of 5.4 BB/9 in the minors, is still a work in progress, but seeing his 100+ mph fastball is sure to be a real treat from the outset. Let’s just hope the Reds don’t keep him in the bullpen for long.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.