Right-handed reliever Blake Parker has been non-tendered by the Angels, per an official report on Friday. The team also cut ties with oft-injured veteran starter Matt Shoemaker, who made just seven appearances in the majors during the 2018 season.
It’s an unexpected move coming from the Angels, who enjoyed a solid performance from the 33-year-old closer this past year. Coming off of a career-best run in 2017, Parker delivered 14 saves in 41 save opportunities with a 3.26 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, and 9.5 SO/9 through 66 1/3 innings.
This offseason, he was projected to earn something in the ballpark of $3 million through arbitration, a modest bump from the $1.8 million he took home in 2018. Although he shaved a couple miles off of his fastball and failed to reach the 80-strikeout threshold of years past, the righty has been consistent and dominant enough that he should have no issue latching onto another major-league deal in the months to come.
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.