Below you’ll find a roundup of notable moves from the past few days, as well as future expected moves and a Minor League Report, which includes a list of recent major league debuts, top prospect promotions, and a few players who are “knocking down the door” to the majors (Mondays only). For this column, any lineup regulars, starting pitchers, or late-inning relievers are considered “notable,” meaning that middle relievers, long relievers, and bench players are excluded. You can always find a full list of updated transactions here.
7/16/19: C Willson Contreras (strained foot) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 14.
Victor Caratini and the newly-acquired Martin Maldonado are filling in for Contreras, who resumed baseball activities today and could be ready as soon as he’s eligible next week. Caratini, who is likely headed for Triple-A upon Contreras’ return, is o for his last 9 with four strikeouts. Maldonado went 0-for-4 in his Cubs debut on Tuesday.
Since returning from an ankle sprain that cost him nearly a month earlier in the season, Jimenez has began to make steady progress as a major league hitter. The 22-year-old has an .883 OPS and 14 homers over his last 175 plate appearances. Engel’s return is an indication that it’s still too early for the team’s next great outfield prospect, Luis Robert, who has just seven Triple-A games under his belt.
7/19/19: OF JaCoby Jones activated from 10-Day IL.
Back in the lineup after a two-week absence due to back spasms, the 27-year-old Jones will try to pick up right where he left off. In his previous 141 plate appearances prior to the injury, he was slashing .305/.364/.563 with 19 extra-base hits, including six homers, and had worked his way into the leadoff spot. He did strike out 42 times over that span, but the Tigers can live with that if he can continue to put up above-average power numbers.
Tough luck for Mondesi, who missed time with a strained groin last month and could miss significant time with his latest injury. He still leads the majors in stolen bases with 31, but Mallex Smith (26) could surpass him if Mondesi misses more than a few weeks. Arteaga should get the majority of starts at shortstop, although the Royals have enough versatility throughout their lineup that several players could benefit from Mondesi’s absence.
Los Angeles Dodgers
7/15/19: INF/OF Chris Taylor (fractured forearm) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 15.
Since breaking out of an early-season slump, Taylor has been one of the Dodgers’ most valuable players with a .903 OPS and 27 extra-base hits over his last 214 plate appearances while making starts at second base, shortstop, center field, and left field. With Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock back in the lineup and a comfortable lead in the NL West, however, the Dodgers should be fine without the 28-year-old super-utility man for the time being.
The Twins were almost back to full health, but now it’s Buxton who’ll be out of action for at least a few more days. They’ll need all the help they can get with the surging Indians only four games back. Cron has a pair of doubles and a homer, while Rosario has two singles and a homer since returning.
The All-Star break is a good time for older players to refresh and hope to come back strong in the second half. I’m guessing that the 32-year-old Bruce, who is having a terrific season, was not quite ready for a break. He had three hits, including his 23rd and 24th homers, in the final game of the first half. Since returning to action, he had been 0-for-14 with five strikeouts. Now, he’s on the injured list with a strained oblique.
San Francisco Giants
7/15/19: 3B Evan Longoria (plantar fascitis) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 15.
Longoria appeared to be turning a corner over his last 10 games with 13 hits in 34 at-bats, including six homers and 13 runs batted in. It’s likely that he returns sometime after the trade deadline to a team that could potentially look very different unless they can convince general manager Farhan Zaidi that he should hold on to his most valuable trade chips. In the meantime, Pablo Sandoval will fill in at the hot corner .
St. Louis Cardinals
7/16/19: 3B Matt Carpenter (foot contusion) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 16.
In four games since his return from an injured list stint due to a strained lower back, Carpenter was 3-for-15 with eight strikeouts and a foot contusion that forced him right back out of action. Tommy Edman has held his own as Carpenter’s primary fill-in with a .777 OPS and four homers, including a go-ahead grand slam in yesterday’s win over the Reds.
The 36-year-old Pence resumes what has been one of his most productive seasons in the majors. He’s still on pace for 25 homers and 24 doubles, but it’ll be difficult to come close to matching his first half slash line of .287/.345/.589. The five-time All-Star, who is 1-for-8 in two games since returning, could be an interesting trade chip if the Rangers decide to sell prior to the July 31 deadline. They’re currently 4.5 games back of a Wild Card spot.
Notable Moves Involving Part-Time Players
- Arizona Diamondbacks: INF Wilmer Flores activated from 10-Day IL.
- Atlanta Braves: OF Ender Inciarte activated from 10-Day IL.
- Chicago Cubs: C Martin Maldonado acquired from Royals.
- Cincinnati Reds: C Curt Casali (sprained knee) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 16.
- Cleveland Indians: 1B Bobby Bradley optioned to Triple-A.
- Chicago White Sox: C Welington Castillo activated from 10-Day IL.
- Los Angeles Angels: OF Brian Goodwin activated from 10-Day IL.
- Miami Marlins: INF Martin Prado activated fro 10-Day IL; OF JT Riddle (strained forearm) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 18.
7/19/19: Taylor Clarke activated from 10-Day IL.
Clarke will get another chance to lock down the last rotation spot, which the Diamondbacks have not had to fill since his injury, despite an ugly 8.44 ERA over his last seven starts. Unless he can turn things around in today’s start at home against the Brewers, look for the Diamondbacks to go in another direction when his turn in the rotation comes up again next Wednesday.
Neither Wilson or Wright fared well in their latest starts, which is at least partly why they’re now back in the minors. Kevin Gausman is expected to return on Sunday and, in all likelihood, Fried will be ready when the Braves need a fifth starter again in late July.
7/16/19: Alec Mills recalled from Triple-A.
With a strong 2019 debut under his belt (6 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, BB, 6 K) and Cole Hamels not quite ready to return from the injured list, the 27-year-old Mills appears slated for another start next week in San Francisco.
7/16/19: Zach Plesac recalled from Triple-A.
In his first start of the second half, Plesac did not allow a hit over three scoreless innings. It was a good sign after he struggled in his two starts prior to the break (6.1 IP, 9 ER, 9 H, 6 BB). The 24-year-old rookie, who has pitched 111 2/3 innings between the majors and Triple-A in 2019, is scheduled to make his next start on Sunday versus the Royals.
Armenteros wasn’t the official starter in Tuesday’s game, but he did pitch four innings in relief (1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 3 K) after “opener” Hector Rondon allowed six earned runs in the first inning. The 25-year-old is scheduled to make his first major league start, however, on Sunday against the Rangers.
Kansas City Royals
7/16/19: Mike Montgomery acquired from Cubs.
More than eleven years after the Royals selected him with the 36th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Montgomery will finally be making his debut with the team. Coincidentally, Montgomery will be facing off against the Indians at Progressive Field, where he recorded the final out of the 2016 World Series.
Barria’s last three major league appearances have each been weeks apart, but he’s made the most of them (15 IP, 3 ER, 4 BB, 20 K) and his demotions were certainly unrelated to performance. Today’s start at Seattle comes 16 days after his last appearance with the Angels, who could opt to keep the 23-year-old right-hander around if he pitches well again. After a day off on Monday, they’ll play nine straight games.
UPDATE: The Angels made room for Barria by designating Matt Harvey for assignment. The 30-year-old, who signed a 1-year, $11MM contract before the season, posted a 7.09 ERA in 12 starts.
New York Mets
7/15/19: Zack Wheeler (shoulder fatigue) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 12.
Even if Wheeler is expected to return in time to help a contending team down the stretch, his trade value has certainly taken a hit with less than two weeks until the deadline. The 29-year-old, who has a 4.69 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, and 9.8 K/9 in 19 starts, should still be one of the top free agents this offseason. He’ll likely receive a qualifying offer from the Mets if they don’t trade him.
7/19/19: Drew Smyly agreed to MLB contract.
After a disastrous stint with the Rangers, Smyly signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in hopes it would lead to another big league opportunity. It worked. After three starts for Triple-A San Antonio (12.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 3 BB, 18 K), the 30-year-old lefty opted out of his deal. If he passes his physical, he’ll officially ink a major league contract today and make his Phillies debut on Sunday. Nick Pivetta will move to the bullpen, where he should have a decent chance to move into a high-leverage role.
Tampa Bay Rays
7/19/19: Brendan McKay recalled from Triple-A.
McKay can return to the big leagues only six days after being optioned because he was technically the “26th man” for last Saturday’s double-header. The 23-year-old, who will face off against the White Sox on Friday, has pitched shutout ball in two of his three big league starts and has walked just one batter in 16 innings.
Neither Pannone or Waguespack could get out of the fifth inning of their respective starts, allowing four earned runs apiece. The 25-year-old Waguespack, however,will remain on the roster and likely in the rotation. He had allowed just one earned run through four innings against the Red Sox before struggling in his last inning of work. It was his first major league start.
Even when Max Scherzer is healthy enough to return from the injured list, the Nationals still have one rotation spot up for grabs to close out the season. Voth made a strong case on Tuesday, allowing one run over six innings, but Fedde matched him on Wednesday, also allowing just a run over six innings. With Scherzer expected to miss at least one more turn, they’ll get another chance to position themselves for the job. Voth is scheduled to pitch on Sunday at Atlanta. Fedde is in line for a home start on Monday against the Rockies.
Expected Future Moves
- Atlanta Braves: Kevin Gausman will likely be activated from 10-Day IL on Sunday July 21.
- Milwaukee Brewers: Gio Gonzalez will be activated from 10-Day IL on Saturday July 20.
- New York Mets: Walker Lockett will be recalled from Triple-A on Saturday July 20.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki will be activated from 10-Day IL on Sunday July 21 or Monday July 22.
Boston Red Sox
7/16/19: Ryan Brasier optioned to Triple-A.
It was just over a year ago that Brasier, a 30-year-old journeyman, made his Red Sox debut. By the end of the season, he was one of the top bullpen contributors on a championship team. After saving six games and posting a 1.32 ERA in his first 14 appearances of 2019, Brasier was proving that he wasn’t just a flash in the pan. But this is baseball and it’s always possible to speak too soon, especially when referring to a relief pitcher. The right-hander allowed at least one run in 11 of his next 30 appearances, posting a 5.74 ERA, and earning a demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket.
7/17/19: Raisel Iglesias placed on Paternity list.
Iglesias pitched in three consecutive games before getting a few days off for the birth of his child. If a save opportunity presents itself before Iglesias returns—there was not one on Wednesday or Thursday—Michael Lorenzen is the leading candidate. He has five saves on the season.
Expected Future Moves
- Boston Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi will be activated from the 10-Day IL on Saturday July 20 after making one rehab appearance (IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 3 K). He will be the Red Sox closer.
Minor League Report
Major League Debuts (July 1-July 18)
- Tom Eshelman, SP, Baltimore Orioles: 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, BB, 0 K 7/1/19
- Trevor Kelley, RP, Boston Red Sox: IP, 3 ER, 2 H, BB, K . 7/2/19
- Robel Garcia, PH, Chicago Cubs: 0-for-1 7/3/19
- Dylan Cease, SP, Chicago White Sox: 5 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K, W 7/3/19
- Tyler Alexander, SP, Detroit Tigers: 5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K 7/3/19
- Jose Urquidy, SP, Houston Astros: 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, BB, 4 K 7/2/19
- Bubba Starling, CF, Kansas City Royals: 0-for-3, R, BB, K 7/12/19
- Matt Thaiss, 3B, Los Angeles Angels: 1-for-3, 2B, K . 7/3/19
- Mauricio Dubon, PH, Milwaukee Brewers: 0-for-1 7/7/19
- Andres Munoz, RP, San Diego Padres: IP, 0 R, BB, K 7/12/19
- Ian Gibaut, RP, Tampa Bay Rays: 2 IP, 2 ER, H, 2 BB, 2 K 7/12/19
- Pedro Payano, RP, Texas Rangers: IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 0 K 7/6/19
Promotions (June 19-July 19): Top 130 Prospects
- Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays #2 High-A Charlotte 6/25/19
- Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers #13 MLB 6/27/19
- Brendan McKay, SP/DH, Tampa Bay Rays #14 MLB 6/29/19
- Dustin May, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers #21 Triple-A Oklahoma City 6/27/19
- MacKenzie Gore, SP, San Diego Padres #22 MLB 7/13/19
- Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers #23 Triple-A Oklahoma City 6/27/19
- Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays #26 Double-A Montgomery 6/27/19
- Chris Paddack, SP, San Diego Padres #34 MLB 6/22/19
- Kyle Wright, RP, Atlanta Braves #39 MLB 6/24/19
- A.J. Puk, SP, Oakland Athletics #40 Double-A Midland 6/28/19
- Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox #43 Triple-A Charlotte 7/8/19
- Jesus Sanchez, OF, Tampa Bay Ray #54 Triple-A Durham 7/11/19
- Dylan Cease, SP, Chicago White Sox #58 MLB 7/3/19
- Nolan Jones, 3B, Cleveland Indians #65 Double-A Akron 7/8/19
- Alec Bohm, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies #66 Double-A Reading 6/21/19
- Bryse Wilson, SP, Atlanta Braves #72 MLB 6/27/19
- Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers #80 MLB 6/23/19
- Andrew Knizner, C, St. Louis Cardinals #82 MLB 7/11/19
- Nolan Gorman, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals #85 High-A Palm Beach 6/20/19
- Leody Taveras, CF, Texas Rangers #94 Double-A Frisco 6/20/19
- Trevor Larnach, OF, Minnesota Twins #99 Double-A Pensacola 7/16/19
- Yu Chang, INF, Cleveland Indians #103 MLB 6/28/19