Matt Holliday has played 1,635 games in his career. 1,593 of them have come in the outfield, 22 of them at DH and the rest in various pinch-hitting or pinch-running capacities. Never has he played an inning at first base.
But . . .
Matt Adams’ season ended with a quad tear. Mark Reynolds is getting the playing time at first. He’s also not doing the one thing Mark Reynolds tends to do well, and that’s slug.
Could this be a move to maximize the playing time of Holliday, Jon Jay, Jason Heyward, Peter Bourjos, and Randal Grichuk while keeping Holliday in the lineup as well? Or is he just, you know, stretching his legs? Over at Viva El Birdos recently, Ben Humphrey assessed whether or not it was worth risking shifting Holliday and his presumably bad defense over to first for this kind of tradeoff.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.