The Braves have promoted infielder Hector Olivera for his first major league stint, according to a team announcement. The move had been expected, as reporters have indicated over recent days that Olivera was being prepared for a September call-up. (Among them, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted yesterday that a move was still expected and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com added today on Twitter that it was forthcoming.) Nothing about the 30-year-old’s nascent professional career has been straightforward thus far. While it’s hard to know quite what to expect, it will certainly be interesting to see him in action at the big league level. Olivera is expected to see regular time at third base, as O’Brien tweets. Hotly pursued as a free agent out of Cuba, Olivera signed with the Dodgers over the winter for six years and $62.5MM after making a last-minute switch of agents. But he was ultimately traded to the Braves over the summer in an inordinately complicated three-team arrangement. With $28MM of that commitment accounted for in a signing bonus, he’ll only cost Atlanta about $30MM from 2016 to 2020
Over at Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan takes a look at the just-ended tenure of former Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. Seattle changed course in the middle of his tenure, says Sullivan, with the organization moving from a focus on finding value and prioritizing defense to a grab for power bats. The club also failed to develop its best-regarded talent to its full potential, Sullivan notes, even if it’s hard ultimately to pin down a cause for that failure. All said, whatever the reason, Zduriencik was never able to turn the club into a regular contender. Here are a few more notes from out west: Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar could join the big league club in September, GM Jon Daniels acknowledged yesterday, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. While the former top prospect still is not ready to play the field — he’s recovering from a series of significant shoulder problems — he could hit and run. Texas is considering an Arizona Fall League placement, if Profar seems ready to begin making full-speed throws. First baseman Justin Morneau could still suit up for the Rockies this year, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. Manager Walt Weiss said that the situation was different than most injuries, given Morneau’s somewhat tricky neck and concussion issues.
The Blue Jays have designated lefty Colt Hynes for assignment, the club announced. He loses his 40-man spot to help clear space for the team’s September call-ups, which include the previously non-rostered Jeff Francis. Hynes, 30, earned a brief call-up with Toronto for his second taste of big league action, but threw only three innings. He has enjoyed a solid season at Triple-A, though, throwing 44 2/3 innings of 3.22 ERA ball with 7.3 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9.
Clayton Blackburn picked a perfect night for his best start of the season. The Giants’ No. 21 prospect allowed only two hits and struck out nine while working a season-high 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday as Triple-A Sacramento edged Reno, 1-0.
The month of August wrapped up as the most prolific home run-hitting month for rookies in Major League history.
Jason Heyward smashed a two-run double off of the left-field wall to highlight a five-run seventh as the Cardinals beat the Nationals, 8-5, on Monday night at Busch Stadium.
Suddenly the Mets’ hottest pitcher, Bartolo Colon delivered eight shutout innings Monday in a 3-1 Mets win over the Phillies at Citi Field, running his streak of scoreless innings to 16 and — for good measure — rapping out his career-high seventh hit.
One of the game’s best defensive outfielders — and thus, a frequent subject of Statcast™ — was at it again on a highlight-filled Monday night. Rays outfielder Kevin Keirmaier’s latest gem came when he robbed a home run just shortly after the night’s first pitch.
The Giants have officially acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Red Sox, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter. Lefty Luis Ysla will return to Boston in the deal, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Twitter. The Red Sox will pay $650K of De Aza’s salary in the deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Having agreed to a $5MM salary to avoid arbitration in his final year of eligibility, De Aza is still owed just under $930K the rest of the way. But Boston reportedly only took on around $1MM in total commitments to De Aza when it added him on June 4.
Last summer’s biggest charitable trend struck Major League Baseball again this August, as the Ice Bucket Challenge made the rounds at big league ballparks.