Things have gone from bad to worse for Braves starter Mike Minor. The lefty was shut down with shoulder discomfort last September, but hoped to begin the 2015 season on schedule. However, he was scratched from his Grapefruit League debut in March and the setback landslide began. He was examined by Dr. James Andrews and was diagnosed with inflammation in his left rotator cuff and was shut down for two weeks.
Minor started the season on the 15-day disabled list. The Braves hoped to get him back in early May, but that won’t be the case. The Braves just moved him to the 60-day disabled list, which created room for infielder Pedro Ciriaco on the roster. Braves GM John Hart said, via Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“Right now there are still some issues there,” Hart said. “This (move) provides us some more flexibility. We don’t see him coming back anytime soon. Hopefully the next week or 10 days we will have our arms a little bit more around what needs to be done. We felt this was the right move for the organization (and) the right thing for Mike because he’s not close to being out there ready to go.”
“There has not been any measurable improvement that you want to see,” Hart said. “We’ve taken the MRIs. We are trying to stay as patient as we can and Mike is doing everything he can. At this point, things haven’t progressed. “
When he’s healthy, Minor can be effective. In 2013, he finished with a 3.21 ERA and a 181/46 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings for the Braves. But the Braves should consider themselves fortunate if they get him back before the All-Star break at this point.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.