Trevor Hoffman gets bases-loaded strikeout for 598th save

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John Axford has done a tremendous job since taking over for Trevor Hoffman as the Brewers’ closer in mid-May, going 7-1 while converting 18-of-20 saves with a 2.76 ERA and 50/20 K/BB ratio in 42.2 innings.
This afternoon, however, the 27-year-old rookie ran into trouble trying to close out a 3-0 lead over the Cardinals. So with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Brewers clinging to a 3-2 lead manager Ken Macha summoned Hoffman from the bullpen … and the all-time saves leader struck out Brendan Ryan on three pitches for his 598th career save.
Hoffman is highly unlikely to reclaim ninth-inning duties down the stretch, but since losing the gig to Axford he has a 3.46 ERA and .235 opponents’ batting average in 26 innings. He’s pitching well enough to at least make retiring or not his choice and my guess is that Macha will give Hoffman a shot to get the two more saves necessary to reach 600.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.