Adam Ottavino was promoted to the Rockies’ closer role in mid-April only to be shut down with elbow problems a week later and now the 29-year-old right-hander is expected to miss the rest of the season following Tommy John surgery.
Ottavino finishes the season with a 0.00 ERA and 13/2 K/BB ratio in 10 innings, which shows the type of standout reliever he’d become after years as a bullpen afterthought. Dating back to the start of 2013 he logged 154 innings with a 2.87 ERA and 161 strikeouts despite calling Coors Field home.
John Axford replaced Ottavino as the Rockies’ closer and once LaTroy Hawkins returns from a biceps injury it’s possible the 42-year-old could get another crack at ninth-inning duties after being replaced by Ottavino early.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.