The Blue Jays and veteran catcher Erik Kratz have agreed to a minor league pact, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. He’ll join Triple-A Buffalo and provide the organization with some depth behind the plate. Kratz was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh last week and elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate. Kratz, 36, has spent time with the Astros and Pirates at the big league level this season but struggled to a .094/.105/.153 batting line in 87 plate appearances. He entered the season with 23 home runs and a .218/.270/.397 batting line as a Major Leaguer though, demonstrating solid pop for a catcher even if his average and OBP skills are typically lacking. He’s also halted an above-average 34 percent of stolen base attempts against him over the life of his career and drawn consistently strong marks in the pitch-framing department from Baseball Prospectus. This will be the second stint with the Blue Jays for the Jackson Management Group client, who appeared in 34 games with Toronto back in 2014. Kratz will join Tony Sanchez and A.J.
The 41,166 fans at Wrigley Field weren’t the only ones eager to see the radar-gun readings from Aroldis Chapman in his Cubs debut. The Cubs’ players and manager Joe Maddon were peeking, too. Chapman didn’t disappoint, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to preserve the Cubs’ 8-1 Interleague win over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The Rangers addressed their pitching staff earlier today when they acquired pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez from the Braves for second base prospect Travis Demeritte. The price was seemingly high—Demeritte was a starter in this year’s All-Star Futures Game—for two pitchers who had very little value when picked up by the Braves in late May. Harrell was signed to a Minor League contract four days after he was released by the Tigers. Alvarez was claimed off waivers from the Mets. But with pitching being the Rangers’ top priority, general manager Jon Daniels was able to acquire two pitchers who could help in 2016 and are not yet eligible for arbitration. In a conference call earlier today, Jon Daniels explained his thinking behind the deal. Described by Daniels as “a sinker-baller who’s going well right now,” the 31-year-old Harrell will be reunited with current Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail, whom he knows from his days with the Astros.
Meditation is a constant presence in Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney’s life, and he’ll lean on it now as he begins the arduous process of a recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Check out MLBPipeline.com’s updated Top 100 list for the 2016 season, including breakdowns by team and position.
Astros 2015 top Draft pick Alex Bregman is the new No. 1 prospect in baseball after landing atop MLB Pipeline’s midseason re-rank of the Top 100 Prospects list, which is dominated by middle infielders at the very peak.
Many potential deals are in the works as the non-waiver Trade Deadline — Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. ET — approaches. Here is a look at the latest news, reports and rumors.
The Marlins and Major League Baseball unveiled the logo for the 2017 All-Star Game, which will be held at Marlins Park, in an on-field ceremony on Wednesday.
The Rangers have added some depth to their rotation and bullpen, announcing the acquisition of right-handed starter Lucas Harrell and left-hander reliever Dario Alvarez from the Braves in exchange for minor league second baseman Travis Demeritte. Texas has designated infielder Matt Duffy for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster. Both Harrell and Alvarez will join the big league club right away, per the Rangers’ announcement. [Related: Updated Texas Rangers Depth Chart] Harrell, 31, signed a minor league contract with the Tigers this offseason and opened the year pitching with Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. After hitting the open market in late May, Harrell inked another minors pact, this time with the Braves, and worked his way up into Atlanta’s big league rotation, where he’s posted a 3.38 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 44.2 percent ground-ball rate in 29 1/3 innings spanning five starts