When the Rockies declined their $4.25 million option on Rafael Betancourt and re-signed him to a minor-league deal the assumption was that he wouldn’t be a factor this season following Tommy John elbow surgery last August.
However, the 39-year-old reliever has made enough progress in his recovery that a September call-up is now a possibility.
Betancourt’s minor-league rehab assignment has been moved to Triple-A and Rockies manager Walt Weiss told Nick Groke of the Denver Post that “we’ll see if there’s an opportunity to get him in the mix down the stretch.”
Prior to blowing out his elbow Betancourt was consistently one of the elite relievers in baseball, posting a 3.19 ERA with 684 strikeouts in 646 career innings while frequently compiling some of the best strikeout-to-walk ratios around.
Though he has only accumulated just over two years of service time in the major leagues, Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas can become a free agent after the 2019 season due to language in his current two-year, $15.5 million contract. He is open to signing a contract extension with the Cardinals, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Mikolas said, “It’s something that the Cardinals and my agency have to work out – if the numbers work out and everything turns out to be it’s absolutely something that could happen.” His agent, from Octagon, has had discussions with the Cardinals about a framework for an extension.
Mikolas, 30, spent the 2015-17 seasons pitching for the Yomiuri Giants in the Japan Central League. He had great results, which he was able to leverage into a contract back in the U.S. Last season, his first in the majors since 2014, he finished sixth in NL Cy Young balloting and earned a spot on the NL All-Star roster. The right-hander went 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA and a 146/29 K/BB ratio in 200 2/3 innings.
This coming season, Mikolas will be part of a starting rotation that also includes Carlos Martínez, Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright.