Slumping center fielder Dexter Fowler probably would have been sent down by the Rockies last week if not for a strained abdominal muscle that put him on the disabled list instead, but he doesn’t believe that quitting switch-hitting will give his flailing career a boost.
The 25-year-old Fowler, in his third full season with the Rockies, is a natural right-handed hitter. In his career, he’s hit .282/.369/.414 as a righty and .243/.339/.380 hitter as a lefty.
MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reported that Jim Tracy is on board with Fowler as a switch-hitter for now, but believes a change might be inevitable if Fowler’s numbers continue to go south. Fowler posted a .770 OPS as a rookie last year and a .757 mark last season, but he’s down to .688 at the moment.
Fowler has also been a disaster away from Coors Field in his career, with an OPS nearly 200 points lower on the road. He’s hit .225/.313/.333 in 172 career away games.
The Rockies opted to move Carlos Gonzalez back to center field when Fowler landed on the DL, and expectations are that Fowler is in for a lengthy rehab assignment before he makes it back to Denver. If Fowler doesn’t excel at Triple-A, he’ll probably be optioned to the minors for a spell.
The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.
Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.
Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.
The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.