Now that Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia are both on the disabled list with shoulder injuries, the Cardinals are calling up one of their top prospects to help bolster their starting rotation.
As first reported by television announcer Dan McLaughlin, the Cardinals are promoting left-hander Marco Gonzales. He’ll make his major league debut Wednesday against the Rockies at Coors Field.
It’s been a rapid rise for Gonzales, who was selected No. 19 overall out of Gonzaga in last June’s First-Year Player Draft. The 22-year-old owns a 2.08 ERA and 101/26 K/BB ratio over his first 99 2/3 innings in pro ball. He began this season with High-A Palm Beach and has thrived since a promotion to Double-A Springfield last month.
Gonzales might not be up for long depending on how things play out in the coming weeks, including Joe Kelly’s recovery from a hamstring strain, but the Cardinals clearly aren’t afraid to be aggressive with their young arms. In case you haven’t noticed, health is an unexact science for pitchers, so a contending team might as well use the best talent available if they feel they are ready for the responsibility.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.