Rays To Acquire Lucas Duda

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Rays have reportedly struck a deal to acquire veteran first baseman Lucas Duda. In return, the Mets will add right-handed relief pitching prospect  Drew Smith. Duda, 31, has posted compelling offensive numbers this year after an injury-riddled 2016 season. Through 291 plate appearances, he has slashed .246/.347/.532 and delivered 17 home runs, largely matching the output he provided in his excellent 2014 and 2015 campaigns. Though the Rays have their own breakout offensive performer at first in Logan Morrison, the team has room for another big left-handed bat.

Rays Acquire Lucas Duda

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Rays have officially struck a deal to acquire veteran first baseman Lucas Duda. In return, the Mets have added right-handed relief pitching prospect Drew Smith. [RELATED: Updated Rays & Mets Depth Charts] Duda is playing on a $7.25MM salary this year, just over $2.6MM of which remains and all of which will be absorbed by his new team, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). To create 40-man roster space, the Rays have designated outfielder Shane Peterson for assignment, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported (via Twitter).

Diamondbacks Acquire John Ryan Murphy

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The D-backs announced that they’ve acquired minor league catcher John Ryan Murphy from the Twins in exchange for minor league left-hander Gabriel Moya. In a corresponding move, Yasmany Tomas has been transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on Arizona’s 40-man roster.

Rays Acquire Dan Jennings From White Sox

Rays Acquire Dan Jennings From White Sox

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Rays have begun to bolster their bullpen, announcing on Thursday that they’ve acquired lefty reliever Dan Jennings from the White Sox in exchange for first base prospect Casey Gillaspie. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays designated right-hander Diego Moreno for assignment. Tampa Bay has been known to be interested in picking up a left-handed reliever, and they’ve reportedly checked in on the likes of San Diego’s Brad Hand and Detroit’s Justin Wilson in recent weeks. Both relievers are reportedly attached to exorbitant asking prices, however, which likely prompted the Rays to shift to another southpaw that they can control beyond the current campaign. Notably, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that the Rays are still looking at bigger names on the relief market, so there could yet be further additions to the Tampa Bay bullpen. Jennings, 30, has been a solid bullpen piece for the Sox since being acquired prior to the 2015 season in a shrewd trade by Chicago GM Rick Hahn.

A’s Designate John Axford For Assignment

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Athletics announced that veteran right-hander John Axford has been designated for assignment as part of a series of roster moves. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway’s contract has been selected from Triple-A, and he’ll take Axford’s spot on the 40-man roster. Lavarnway will step into the 25-man roster spot of  fellow catcher Josh Phegley, who is headed to the 10-day DL with a strained left oblique muscle. Right-hander Ryan Dull, meanwhile, has been activated from the 10-day disabled list. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser suggested last night that Axford could be designated for assignment to upon Dull’s return. The 34-year-old Axford posted solid results in the first season of a two-year, $10MM contract with the A’s in 2016, but his longstanding struggles with control have resurfaced in a significant manner in 2017. Axford has issued 17 walks in 21 innings this season, and he’s paired those control troubles with his highest home-run rate since 2013. He’s still averaged a strikeout per inning with a 50 percent ground-ball rate and an average fastball velocity of 95 mph, but his overall ERA rests at 6.43. ERA alternatives such as FIP (5.73), xFIP (5.31) and SIERA (5.17) don’t paint a much rosier picture for Axford’s work in 2017.

Braves To Option Dansby Swanson

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Braves are sending shortstop Dansby Swanson down to Triple-A Gwinnett to receive everyday at-bats as they look to break him out of a lengthy slump, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. [Related: Updated Atlanta Braves depth chart] The No. 1 overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2015 draft, Swanson was traded to the Braves alongside Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair in the widely panned Shelby Miller trade. After just 529 minor league plate appearances, he burst onto the scene with a .302/.361/.442 batting line through 145 plate appearances late in the 2016 season. Swanson got off to a terrible start to the season but righted the ship from early May through July 1, hitting .282/.352/.420 with a dozen doubles and four homers through 196 plate appearances. Unfortunately, he’d fallen into a brutal 2-for-40 slump and begun to lose some playing time to the hotter-hitting Johan Camargo. By all accounts, Swanson is still largely viewed as the shortstop of the future in Atlanta despite what can be described, at best, as an up and down 2017 campaign.

Rockies Acquire Pat Neshek

Rockies Acquire Pat Neshek

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Rockies announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Pat Neshek from the Phillies in exchange for minor league infielder Jose Gomez and minor league right-handers J.D. Hammer and Alejandro Requena. Lefty Tyler Anderson has been moved to the 60-day DL to clear a roster spot. [Related: Updated Colorado Rockies depth chart and Philadelphia Phillies depth chart] Neshek, 37 in September, has proven to be a strong offseason pickup for the Phillies, who effectively acquired the side-armer and his $6.5MM contract in a salary dump. Through 40 1/3 innings out of the Philadelphia bullpen, Neshek has averaged 10.0 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 with a 37 percent ground-ball rate en route to a pristine 1.12 ERA. Neshek’s 13.6 percent swinging-strike rate is the best mark he’s posted since his rookie year with the Twins way back in 2006, and the paltry 24.5 percent hard-contact rate he’s allowed ranks as the 24th-best out of 163 qualified relievers. In Neshek, the Rockies are adding a rental arm — Neshek is a free agent at season’s end — to a relief corps that has looked to show signs of fatigue in recent weeks. Colorado had a top-heavy bullpen that posted middle-of-the-pack results in April and May but has fallen off considerably since the calendar flipped to June. Over the past 30 days, Rockies relievers have posted a 4.74 ERA and a 4.92 FIP, each of which rank among the worst collective marks in baseball. Adam Ottavino and Jordan Lyles, in particular, have struggled as of late, but adding Neshek to the mix will give first-year manager Bud Black another quality arm to pair with the likes of Greg Holland and Jake McGee, taking some pressure off other arms further down the pecking order.

Nationals To Promote Erick Fedde, Place Stephen Strasburg On DL

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

9:36pm: Manager Dusty Baker confirmed after the game that Fedde is coming up and that Strasburg will be placed on the 10-day disabled list (Twitter link via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). The skipper was “adamant” that Strasburg will only miss one start, Janes adds. 8:05pm: The Nationals are calling up top pitching prospect Erick Fedde, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The former first-round pick, who ranked 70th on Baseball America’s midseason list of the game’s top 100 prospects, will likely start in place of Stephen Strasburg, Sherman adds. Fedde, 24, was Washington’s first-round selection in the 2014 draft. The Nats made him the No. 18 overall pick that season despite the fact that he had Tommy John surgery not long before the draft. He’s spent most of his career in the minors as a starter but was briefly moved to a relief role in part to limit his innings but also given the potential for a midseason promotion to help a struggling Nationals relief corps. The Nationals recently moved Fedde back to a rotation role, and while he was torched for six runs without recording an out in his initial return to the rotation, he’s allowed just three runs on 10 hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in his past 11 2/3 frames

Nationals To Promote Erick Fedde

Nationals To Promote Erick Fedde

Jul 27, 2017 | No Comments

The Nationals are calling up top pitching prospect Erick Fedde, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The former first-round pick, who ranked 70th on Baseball America’s midseason list of the game’s top 100 prospects, will likely start in place of Stephen Strasburg, Sherman adds. Fedde, 24, was Washington’s first-round selection in the 2014 draft. The Nats made him the No. 18 overall pick that season despite the fact that he had Tommy John surgery not long before the draft. He’s spent most of his career in the minors as a starter but was briefly moved to a relief role in part to limit his innings but also given the potential for a midseason promotion to help a struggling Nationals relief corps. The Nationals recently moved Fedde back to a rotation role, and while he was torched for six runs without recording an out in his initial return to the rotation, he’s allowed just three runs on 10 hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in his past 11 2/3 frames. Overall, he’s worked to a 3.72 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 with well above-average ground-ball tendencies in 77 1/3 innings between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this season. Fedde dropped out of the top 100 on MLB.com’s midseason rankings, but Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo still rank him third among Washington farmhands

Cubs Designate Brett Anderson

Jul 26, 2017 | No Comments

The Cubs have designated lefty Brett Anderson for assignment after activating him from the 60-day DL, per a club announcement (via Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, on Twitter). Over the winter, the Cubs added the 29-year-old on a $3.5MM deal, wagering that he might return to something like the form he showed in 2015, when he gave the Dodgers 180 1/3 innings of 3.69 ERA pitching. Though Anderson had missed much of the 2016 campaign after back surgery, he was able to return to the mound late in the year. But Anderson has again been limited by back issues, and the Cubs have received little for their investment. He has thrown only 22 frames on the year, coughing up twenty earned runs on 34 hits while managing only a 16:12 K/BB ratio. Anderson hadn’t generated much more promising results through his rehab stint at Double-A, though he was at least able to make it through 27 1/3 innings. While he might’ve commanded another shot at the majors with other organizations, the Cubs swung a major deal to get Jose Quintana while Anderson was down. With the rotation full and Mike Montgomery functioning as a long man in the pen, there just wasn’t much room for Anderson at this point.