For whatever reason manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan have been reluctant to actually name a replacement for Ryan Franklin, who was stripped of closing duties last week.
However, after giving Mitchell Boggs three straight save opportunities and watching him handle them successfully while looking very good in the process Duncan finally admitted that Boggs is the Cardinals’ new closer. Well, sort of.
Here’s what he told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
I’d say that’s an accurate description of the current situation. Does that mean we will exclusively use him in the ninth inning? Probably not. But he’s going to get an opportunity to see what he can do. I think you present an opportunity and let results take you where they take you.
Perhaps not actually saying “Boggs is the new closer” would make it easier to eventually hand the job back to Franklin, but short of that I’m not sure what the reluctance comes from. Whatever the case Boggs now has a 3.51 ERA in 92 career innings as a reliever, including a 1.46 ERA and 15/3 K/BB ratio in 12 innings so far this season, and his average fastball has clocked in at 94.2 miles per hour.
In related news, Franklin has taken to shaving off his monstrous goatee in an effort to change his luck. He ought to speak to Don Mattingly about the situation.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.