Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, recovering from a torn ligament in his right thumb, will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday. He is aiming to be activated “June 20th-ish,” which would be several weeks ahead of schedule, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Kiermaier, 28, was hitting a meager .163/.250/.233 in 48 plate appearances leading up to the injury. Mallex Smith has drawn the majority of starts in center field while Kiermaier has been absent.
Rob Refsnyder and Carlos Gomez have struggled offensively in the outfield corners. Smith has hit well, so he may push the other two out of playing time when Kiermaier reclaims his spot in center.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.
Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.
This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.
With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.