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.
7/24/19: OF David Peralta activated from 10-Day IL.
With the Diamondbacks facing off against lefty John Means on Wednesday, Peralta was out of the starting lineup in his first game back from the injured list. The 31-year-old has struggled against left-handers in 2019 (.596 OPS, 1 HR, 26 K in 98 plate appearances), making it likely he’ll continue to platoon with Tim Locastro and the newly-promoted Yasmany Tomas in the mix. Peralta is batting fourth and playing left field on Friday.
Boston Red Sox
7/23/19: 1B Mitch Moreland activated from 10-Day IL.
After going hitless in five at-bats over his first two games back on Tuesday and Wednesday, Moreland made an impact with a single, walk, and two-run double on Thursday. His return pushes rookie Michael Chavis to the bench, where he could see time at first base, second base, and third base.
Back in the lineup after an 11-day stint on the injured list, Contreras had a single in four plate appearances while catching nine innings of one-run ball from six different pitchers in a 4-1 victory over the Giants. As of now, the Cubs are rostering three catchers, including Martin Maldonado and Victor Caratini, which should allow them to utilize Contreras more often on days that he’s not in the starting lineup.
With Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber both scuffling as of late, Happ has another chance to work his way back into regular lineup. He’s playing left field and batting sixth on Friday against left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
7/26/19: SS Carlos Correa activated from 60-Day IL.
The Astros were 35-19 at the time of Correa’s injury. They’ve been 31-19 since, including seven wins in their last eight games. That speaks more to the Astros’ roster depth and versatility rather than Correa’s impact on the team. By moving some pieces around defensively, they were able to fit Yordan Alvarez’s bat in the lineup, which has more than filled the void left by their superstar shortstop.
With the Astros playing against the Cardinals in St. Louis this weekend, there’s a chance that Correa and Alvarez won’t be in the lineup together for the first time until Tuesday at Cleveland unless they give the 22-year-old rookie a start at first base or left field.
With Yasmani Grandal out of the picture after leaving as a free agent this past offseason, Austin Barnes finally had a chance to prove he could be a starting catcher in the majors. Not that he hadn’t contributed in a big way over the past two seasons. As Grandal struggled both offensively and defensively during the post-season, it was Barnes who was the team’s primary catcher during back-to-back playoff runs. The Dodgers were hoping, however, that his bat would be closer to what it was in 2017 (.895 OPS in 262 plate appearances) than what it was in 2018 (.619 OPS in 238 plate appearances.) It hasn’t happened, which is why he’s now headed to Oklahoma City.
Now, they’ll turn to Smith, who is putting up big numbers in Triple-A (.986 OPS, 20 HR) and has also impresses at the big league level with three homers in 29 plate appearances. The 24-year-old has a chance to lock down the starting job for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.
7/25/19: OF Byron Buxton activated from 7-Day IL.
Not only did Buxton miss time after suffering a concussion, his return was delayed after he had three wisdom teeth removed. Still, the 25-year-old rising star had a pair of doubles in his return to the lineup on Thursday during a 10-3 win over the White Sox. Buxton has 39 extra-base hits, including 26 doubles, in only 272 plate appearances while his strikeout rate is at a career-low 23.2 %, down over six percentage points from last season.
Sanchez was in an 0-for-19 slump at the time of his injury, so maybe a couple weeks off will be a good thing as the Yankees are likely to play deep into October. Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka have alternated starts at catcher since Sanchez’s injury.
Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybin, who was activated from the injured list on Friday, will fill in for Gardner while he’s out. Tauchman is 17-for-36 in July, including two homers, four doubles, and five walks, while Maybin has an .891 OPS in 133 plate appearances. Needless to say, the Yankees shouldn’t miss a beat.
7/23/19: 2B Dee Gordon (strained quad) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 23.
Gordon, coming off of a big weekend with three-hit games on Friday and Sunday, singled in his first at-bat on Monday before being injured diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt. Any hopes of trading the 31-year-old before the deadline have probably gone out the window. This also would’ve been an ideal time for the Mariners to get a long look at prospect Shed Long, but he’s currently on the MiLB injured list with a fractured finger. Ryan Court, Dylan Moore, and Austin Nola will likely share time at second base while Gordon is out of action.
Diaz’s third trip to the injured list in 2019 coincides with the return of last year’s starting third baseman, Duffy, who has been hampered by hamstring and back injuries. The 28-year-old, who had a double, single, and walk in his 2019 debut, had been preparing to take on a super-utility role to better fit on a talented roster. Now, he’ll spend most of his time at the hot corner, at least until Diaz is healthy.
7/25/19: OF Joey Gallo (hamate bone surgery) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 24.
7/25/19: OF Willie Calhoun recalled from Triple-A.
7/23/19: 1B Ronald Guzman optioned to Triple-A.
With Gallo expected to miss at least a month and Guzman back in Triple-A, a struggling Rangers offense could have a hard time bouncing back. Shin-Soo Choo, 37, and Hunter Pence, 36, are having terrific seasons, along with journeyman Danny Santana (.930 OPS, 14 HR, 12 SB), but there simply isn’t enough firepower throughout the lineup to spark a team that has lost 15 of 21 games. Calhoun, called up to replace Gallo, has the potential to make an impact, but there is not a lot of at-bats available for a corner outfielder/designated hitter.
Notable Moves Involving Part-Time Players
- Baltimore Orioles: INF/OF Jace Peterson has contract purchased from minors.
- Colorado Rockies: 1B Yonder Alonso has contract purchased from minors.
- Houston Astros: OF/2B Tony Kemp designated for assignment.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 1B/3B Tyler White acquired from Astros.
- Milwaukee Brewers: INF Travis Shaw recalled from Triple-A.
- New York Yankees: SS Troy Tulowitzki announced retirement.
- Oakland Athletics: C Nick Hundley activated from 10-IL and designated for assignment.
- Toronto Blue Jays: OF Dalton Pompey activated from 60-IL and designated for assignment.
Bundy had his worst start of the season (IP, 7 ER, 8 H) before being placed on the injured list and returned with one of his best on Tuesday (6 IP, 2 ER) in a win over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. The 26-year-old, who was named one of eight under-the-radar deadline targets by Dan Szymborski, could further enhance his trade value with another good start this weekend against the Angels.
7/25/19: Drew VerHagen has contract purchased from minors.
Since being drafted by the Tigers in 2012, VerHagen has been on and off the 40-man roster and shifted back and forth between starting and relieving. On Thursday, the 28-year-old made his first major league start of the season, allowing six earned runs in four innings. If he gets another, it’s only because the Tigers don’t have any other options worth exploring at this time.
The 21-year-old Suarez allowed two earned runs on Thursday, which is good news in that he’s he’s allowed three runs or less in seven of his eight major league starts. The bad news is that he didn’t make it through the fifth inning, which he’s only done three times. The Angels are being cautious with the rookie left-hander, although he’s only pitched 69 1/3 innings in 2019 compared to 117 innings last season.
Tropeano is getting a spot start on Friday because the originally scheduled start, Griffin Canning, was needed in relief during Thursday’s 16-inning loss to the Orioles.
For the seventh consecutive start, Richards could not complete six innings as he also allowed seven earned runs, his highest total of the season, on Monday. His ERA has increased by nearly a full run over his last five starts, which is why he’s being demoted to the bullpen in favor of Hernandez, who has a 4.05 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in his five big league starts this season.
7/25/19: Jhoulys Chacin (strained lat) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 25.
Chacin joins Brandon Woodruff on the injured list, which could open up another brief opportunity for Adrian Houser to start when the spot comes up again next week. After back-to-back strong seasons in 2017-18, the 31-year-old Chacin has taken a big step backwards this season with a 5.79 ERA in 19 starts.
New York Mets
7/26/19: Zack Wheeler activated from 10-Day IL.
Wheeler will face off against the Pirates on Friday evening in what could be his final start for the Mets. Barring a disastrous outing that could cause teams to question his health—he missed three weeks due to shoulder fatigue—the 29-year-old is expected to be one of the top trade chips available over the next few days.
Tampa Bay Rays
7/25/19: Blake Snell (arthroscopic elbow surgery) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to July 22.
The Rays are still in pretty good shape with a 58-47 record and 50% chance playoff odds, but the loss of Snell for at least the next four weeks will make it difficult. As things stand, they’re only 1/2 game out of a Wild Card spot and capable of trading from one of the deepest farm systems in baseball to improve their 25-man roster.
7/23/19: Pedro Payano recalled from Triple-A
Payano didn’t get the official start on Tuesday, but he followed the “opener” with five strong innings (ER, BB, 7 K) in a 7-2 win over the Mariners. The 24-year-old is in line to make his first major league start on Sunday versus the Athletics.
The surging Nationals got their ace back on Thursday, but Scherzer departed with the game tied at 3 after just five innings. The bullpen proceeded to implode in an 8-7 loss Now, the 34-year-old is dealing with a mild back strain and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to make his next start.
Expected Future Moves
7/24/19: Blake Parker designated for assignment.
Through his first 20 appearances in 2019, Parker had a 1.86 ERA with eight saves and four holds for the first place Twins. In his last 17 appearances, however, he allowed 13 earned runs in 17 innings and was no longer one of the team’s reliable options to bridge the gap to closer Taylor Rogers. There weren’t necessarily others who have outperformed him by a wide margin, but it’s clear that bullpen help is a priority at the trade deadline and the Twins expect to find an upgrade very soon.
Minor League Report
Major League Debuts (July 22-July 25)
- Cody Stashak, RP, Minnesota Twins: 2 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K 7/23/19
- Michel Baez, RP, San Diego Padres: 1 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 0 K 7/23/19
- Tim Lopes, 2B, Seattle Mariners: 0-for-0 7/24/19
- Conner Menez, SP, San Francisco Giants: 5 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K 7/21/19
Promotions (June 27-July 26): Top 130 Prospects
- 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 Double-A Amarillo 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
- Kyle Wright, RP, Atlanta Braves #39 MLB 7/18/19
- A.J. Puk, SP, Oakland Athletics #40 Triple-A Las Vegas 7/23/19
- 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
- Bryse Wilson, SP, Atlanta Braves #72 MLB 7/16/19
- Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers #80 MLB 7/26/19
- Andrew Knizner, C, St. Louis Cardinals #82 MLB 7/11/19
- Adrian Morejon, RP, San Diego Padres #86 MLB 7/21/19
- Trevor Larnach, OF, Minnesota Twins #99 Double-A Pensacola 7/16/19
- Yu Chang, INF, Cleveland Indians #103 MLB 6/28/19
- Michel Baez, RP, San Diego Padres #129 MLB 7/21/19