General manager Walt Jocketty indicated yesterday that the Reds are likely to decline their $4 million option on Orlando Cabrera for next season, but may be interested in re-signing the veteran shortstop for a lesser salary.
Cabrera hit just .263/.303/.354 for a .657 OPS that ranked fourth-worst among all NL hitters and at age 35 has lost most of his range defensively, so the Reds are right to think he’s not worth $4 million in 2011. On the other hand the buyout for his option is $1 million, so they seem unlikely to save a whole lot by declining the option and re-signing him.
Cincinnati would likely be better off simply cutting Cabrera loose, investing the $3 million saved elsewhere, and handing shortstop over to 27-year-old Paul Janish. He hit .260/.338/.385 in 228 plate appearances this season while often subbing for an injured Cabrera and is superior defensively, all for around $400,000.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.
Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.
When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.
The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.