When Cardinals closer Jason Motte went down late last month after a poor spring, the team termed his injury a “mild strain” in his right elbow. Following a followup MRI on Tuesday, things sound much more ominous:
With young gun Trevor Rosenthal and interim closer Mitchell Boggs in the fold and plenty of bullpen depth, the Cardinals are pretty well set up to handle Motte’s absence. Not to say that he won’t be missed. The 30-year-old Motte has posted ERAs under 3.00 three straight seasons, and he finished with 42 saves in 49 chances last year. Plus, the news comes right on the heels of Boggs giving up seven runs in what had been a tie game with the Reds on Monday.
The Astros have acquired shortstop Aledmys Díaz from the Blue Jays in exchange for minor league right-hander Trent Thornton, the teams announced Saturday.
Díaz, 28, was originally acquired by the Blue Jays last winter in a swap for minor leaguer J.B. Woodman. He spent the entirety of his 2018 campaign in Toronto, where he slashed .263/.303/.453 with a .756 OPS and career-best 18 home runs through 452 plate appearances. While Díaz spent the bulk of his year filling in for an injured Troy Tulowitzki at short, he has experience at second and third base and may prove useful to the Astros as an extra outfield option, too.
Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Díaz will serve as protection if the Astros lose shortstop/utility player Marwin González to free agency this winter. González did not receive a qualifying offer from the club this month and has reportedly drawn interest from 29 of 30 clubs in the league.
Thornton, 25, was selected by the Astros during the fifth round of the 2015 draft. The right-hander was promoted to Triple-A Fresno in 2017 and has been up-and-down since then, though 2018 saw some modest improvements across the board as he turned in a 9-8 record through 22 starts with a 4.42 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 through 124 1/3 innings. He was one of several minor league players the Astros would have needed to protect in advance of the Rule 5 Draft on Tuesday.