Rays second baseman Daniel Robertson is unlikely to finish out the 2018 season, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain reported Sunday. Robertson was assigned to the 10-day disabled list on Saturday with a left thumb sprain after sliding headfirst into second base during Friday’s 2-3 loss to the White Sox, and it looks like he’ll require surgery — and a six to eight-week healing period — to repair the injury before making it back to the field.
The 24-year-old infielder has put up career-best numbers this season; through Friday, he slashed .262/.382/.415 with nine home runs, a .797 OPs and 2.6 fWAR in 340 plate appearances. This appears to be the first significant setback of his career to date, and there’s little reason to believe he won’t be ready to go by the start of spring training in 2019. Making a comeback this season — especially with the Rays a full 21.5 games back in the AL East — seems highly unlikely, however. As club manager Kevin Cash told reporters, “We probably knew that surgery, or no surgery, he was going to miss most of the [remainder of the] season, if not all of it.”
For now, the Rays still have a couple of viable second basemen in Joey Wendle, who covered for Robertson during Saturday’s 2-1 loss, and recent call-up Brandon Lowe, who tore through Double- and Triple-A but has yet to make his major-league debut this season.
The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.
Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.
Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.
For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.
Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.
But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.