Just in case you had an iota of doubt in your mind that the Vernon Wells deal was all about payroll relief, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Blue Jays would like to trade Juan Rivera.
Rivera is set to earn $5.25 million this season after which he will become a free agent. Rosenthal writes that the 32-year-old outfielder isn’t in the team’s long-term plans, so Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has made him available. Of course, Anthopoulos has already flipped Mike Napoli — the other part of the return for Wells — to the Rangers for right-handed reliever Frank Francisco.
As of now, Rivera and Travis Snider project to play the corner outfield positions for the Jays, with Rajai Davis in center field and Jose Bautista at third base. Rosenthal doesn’t expect Rivera to be traded before spring training, but if there is a quick resolution, he speculates that the club could sign Scott Podsednik to be their leadoff hitter.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.
Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.
In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.