According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Angels are willing to part with Peter Bourjos in order to upgrade their bullpen and could consider dealing Kendrys Morales as well.
Bourjos, perhaps baseball’s premier defensive center fielder, has been made expendable in Anaheim by the emergence of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. Still, there are a lot of teams that would love to have him. A lifetime .252/.302/.413 hitter, he’ll make close to the minimum again next year and he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.
The market for Morales would be more limited, since he’s probably still not ready to be an everyday first baseman after tearing up his ankle a couple of years ago. Also, he’s been pretty average offensively this year with a .284/.330/.428 line and nine homers in 264 at-bats.
The Angels are hoping to shore up both their rotation and pen, and they’re in the market for big names like Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. The Phillies and Brewers both likely would have some interest in Bourjos. The Nationals would surely love to have him, but with Drew Storen still trying to work his way back from elbow surgery, it’d be difficult for them to part with the relief help (likely Tyler Clippard) the Angels would want in return.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.