Joe Frisaro of MLB.com speculated earlier today that Josh Johnson “may be done for the season” due to injuries to his back and shoulder and the Marlins’ desire to protect their prized right-hander. That could still be true, but the Fish did get some good news this evening.
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), an MRI on Wednesday afternoon showed inflammation in Johnson’s right shoulder and a slight muscle strain in the middle of the right-hander’s back, but no structural damage.
It’s good news both in the long-term and possibly in the short-term as well.
The Marlins, because Johnson has no serious injuries, could decide to their ace back into the starting rotation for the final four weeks of the regular season. He has posted an incredible 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 9.11 K/9 in 28 starts this season and is still alive in the chase for the National League Cy Young. That is, if he continues to pitch and post award-worthy numbers.
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.