Uh oh. Word comes from the Tampa Tribune’s Tony Fabrizio that the Rays have sent both Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann back to St. Petersburg to be examined Monday by team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton.
“Both of them have been experiencing the same kind of posterior shoulder
soreness,” manager Joe Maddon told the Tribune. “Again we don’t think either rone
is a long term situation of any kind but we want to make sure before we
put them out there.”
Niemann had a start skipped this weekend, so it’s no surprise, but Davis’ issues are new. The rookie topped out at 158.2 innings last season for Triple-A Durham and has already reached 121.1 total frames this year in the big leagues. Perhaps he’s hitting a wall.
The Rays held Jeremy Hellickson back from his scheduled Sunday start at Triple-A and could call him up next week if either Davis or Niemann is forced to the disabled list. Hellickson threw seven innings of two-run ball in his major league debut against the Twins last week and would be a fine fill-in. But it’s not exactly an ideal time for a Wild Card-leading team to begin losing starters.
A number of teams are making calls about Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson these days, as is the general nature of the offseason. Per Jason Kinander of FanSided, there have been some preliminary trade discussions between the Dodgers and the White Sox, though a formal deal doesn’t appear imminent and any potential competition from other clubs is still unknown.
Pederson, 26, has enjoyed quite a run with the Dodgers over the last five years. A perennial 25-home run hitter (when healthy), he slashed .248/.321/.522 with 56 RBI, an .843 OPS, and 2.7 fWAR through 443 plate appearances during the 2018 regular season. Following the Dodgers’ unsuccessful postseason campaign, Pederson agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract in advance of the arbitration deadline, and is currently slated to remain under team control through the 2020 season.
Despite his relative affordability and clear value to the club, shedding Pederson from their roster would allow the Dodgers to pursue the kind of right-handed hitters they need to balance out their 2019 lineup. It’s not certain what the White Sox are prepared to give up, but Kinander mentions right-hander Carson Fulmer, lefty reliever Aaron Bummer, and recent draft pick/third baseman Bryce Bush as a few possibilities.