When you’ve lost eight straight and two of your young starters are sucking eggs, you gotta do something. Today the Braves did, sending Kris Medlen down to triple-A Gwinnett and calling up outfielder Jose Constanza.
Now, Medlen is not one of the ones who has been sucking eggs. Indeed, he’s been just fine in a relief role. His demotion is to stretch him out so that he may convert to starting duties, which he’s never done full-time, though he has seen some swingman duties. The egg-sucker-in-chief is Mike Minor. Randall Delgado hasn’t been tearing it up either. Julio Teheran is another starter possibility apart from Medlen.
As for Constanza, oy, here we go again. Last year a couple of fluky weeks by him led manager Fredi Gonzalez to bench Jason Heyward for long stretches. Heyward has hit only .205 for the month of May, so I would not be at all shocked if we see a ton of Constanza time going forward.
The Reds announced on Wednesday evening that the club acquired starter Tanner Roark from the Nationals in exchange for pitcher Tanner Rainey.
Roark, 32, is entering his third of three years of arbitration eligibility, so this is essentially a rental for the Reds. This past season, Roark posted a 4.34 ERA with 146 strikeouts and 50 walks over 180 1/3 innings. He had a career year in 2016, finishing with a 2.83 ERA, but hasn’t been able to replicate it in the two years since.
Rainey, 25, accrued just seven innings in the majors last season, yielding 19 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and 12 walks with seven strikeouts. He spent most of his year with Triple-A Louisville where his numbers were much better: he had a 2.65 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 35 walks in 51 innings of relief.
The Reds have been in the mix in a lot of rumors during the winter meetings, so it’s not a surprise to see them make a splash. The club is trying to improve on last year’s dismal 67-95 finish.