We heard Monday that the Rays would need to be overwhelmed in order to move B.J. Upton, but according to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, they have had some recent conversations with the Nationals about their center fielder.
Washington has long been a suitor for Upton as it seeks to fill a big hole in center field. The Nationals have some interest in re-signing Rick Ankiel and moving Jayson Werth to center hasn’t been completely ruled out, but the team would love a long-term solution.
The problem there with Upton, besides his history of inconsistent offense, is that he’s now just one year away from free agency. He’s due a raise to $7 million or so in arbitration. Negotiating a long-term deal with Upton would likely be problematic, given his young, perceived upside and modest numbers. While he’s been a well above average regular despite hitting .237 and .243 the last two years, he’s never come close to matching the numbers he put up as a 22-year-old in 2007.
Since Upton is only under control for the one year, it’s doubtful the Nationals would be willing to give up closer Drew Storen for him, and the Nationals can’t offer the Rays any bats that would help them immediately. A match seems unlikely.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.