ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the Blue Jays have heavily scouted Martin Prado, Aaron Hill, and Chase Headley. The Jays could use an upgrade at second base as they’ve been relying on the light-hitting Munenori Kawasaki. They could also use an upgrade at third base, having recently lost Brett Lawrie to a broken finger. At the very least, they could use a right-handed hitter to platoon with Juan Francisco.
All three hitters, however, are having poor seasons. Prado and Hill have a .673 and .653 OPS for the Diamondbacks, respectively. Headley has a .605 OPS for the Padres. Headley is earning just over $10.5 million and can venture into free agency after the season. Prado is owed $11 million for this season as well as in each of the next two seasons. Hill is earning $11 million this season and $12 million in 2015-16.
The Jays enter Friday’s action at 47-40 in a virtual tie with the Orioles for first place in the AL East. They lead the third-place Yankees by 3.5 games.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.