Brandon Webb might be making progress.
According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, the impending free agent hit 84 MPH with his fastball in a second instructional league appearance Saturday. He hit just 81 MPH in his first appearance earlier this week and showed an ineffective curveball.
Webb hasn’t thrown a pitch in a major league game since the first week of the 2009 season but is hoping to find a one-year deal this winter that will help him revitalize his career.
The Nationals are keeping an eye on him, as are a few other teams. But he threw his sinking fastball on 71% of his deliveries back in 2008 and needs at least some velocity for it to be an effective pitch.
In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.
This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.
Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.