St. Louis was initially targeting Sean Burnett as a left-handed bullpen addition, but after finding his price tag too high the Cardinals have moved on to Randy Choate.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that Choate and the Cardinals have agreed to a deal and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com says it’s for three years, which is very surprising for a 37-year-old.
Choate, unlike Burnett, is strictly a left-handed specialist rather than a left-handed setup man. In fact, in leading the league with 80 appearances this year he threw a grand total of just 36 innings.
He’s basically only good for a batter or two every other game and right-handed hitters tee off on him, but during the past three seasons Choate has limited left-handed hitters to a .173 batting average.
UPDATE: Choate is getting $7.5 million for three years, which is … well, more money and a longer commitment than anyone could have expected.
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.