Right-hander James McDonald had a great case for being an All-Star in the summer of 2012. Not a whole lot has gone right since, though, and the Pirates designated him for assignment Saturday, according to the Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel, removing him from the 40-man roster.
McDonald had been on the shelf since early May due to shoulder soreness, though he’s recently progressed to the point at which he can pitch in games. He’s making $3.025 million this season, so it’d cost another team about $500,000 to take a flier on him for the rest of the year. Since he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, there’s enough upside to justify the risk. If he shows something this month, a team could keep him in arbitration for about that same $3 million salary next year. If he doesn’t, then he gets non-tendered and probably signs for $1 million-$2 million at the most this winter.
The 28-year-old McDonald is 32-30 with a 4.20 ERA lifetime in 82 starts and 49 relief appearances. He was 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA before going down this season.
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.
Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.
Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.
The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.