Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick is back from the disabled list after missing the past month with a hyperextended right knee and the A’s made room for him on the roster by placing first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks on the shelf with a strained calf.
Reddick struggled mightily before the injury, hitting .214 with four homers and a .618 OPS in 50 games, and he hasn’t been productive since a strong first season with the A’s in 2012. He did, however, convince them he was healthy enough to return by going 7-for-16 (.438) with three doubles on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Blanks was acquired from the Padres in a minor trade last month and played very well for the A’s in a part-time role, hitting .333 with two homers and a .935 OPS in 56 plate appearances.
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.