According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, the Blue Jays have placed right-hander Jesse Litsch on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement.
Litsch is 4-3 with a 4.66 ERA and 36/18 K/BB ratio over his first eight starts this season. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up six runs — five earned — on seven hits over five innings Wednesday against the Rays while walking three and striking out just one. Not only was it his shortest outing of the season, but his velocity was down a tick from his career average.
Litsch is expected to miss at least two starts, though the injury is not considered serious. Carlos Villanueva will take his place in the starting rotation Monday against the Yankees. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 1.48 ERA and 21/10 K/BB ratio over 24 1/3 innings of relief this season. He has made 27 starts during his major league career, all with the Brewers.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.