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 and a few players who are “knocking down the door” to the majors. 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.
6/16/19: SS Jose Iglesias placed on Paternity list
Iglesias is out of the lineup for the second consecutive day on Monday due to the birth of his daughter. The 29-year-old entered the month with a .308/.340/.443 slash line, but he has just six hits in his last 33 at-bats. A few days away could be just what he needs. Jose Peraza, who is being used in a super-utility role, has started both games at shortstop in Iglesias’ place.
6/15/19: C Grayson Greiner (strained lower back) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 14.
The 26-year-old has struggled at the plate in his first season as the Tigers’ starting catcher and things had only gotten worse this month. He did hit his fifth homer on June 2, but it’s his only hit in his last 28 at-bats with 14 strikeouts over that span. Bobby Wilson, who is on his second stint with the Tigers, will share catching duties with John Hicks.
Los Angeles Angels
6/17/19: OF Justin Upton activated from 60-Day IL.
Brian Goodwin, claimed off waivers from the Royals just before Opening Day, has done a fantastic job filling in for Upton. In 228 plate appearances, the 28-year-old is slashing .289/.348/.446 with six homers and 16 multi-hit games. He’ll have a tough time cracking the starting lineup with the Angels’ starting outfield on the field for the first time this season. Upton is playing left field and batting fourth on Monday.
New York Mets
6/16/19: 2B Robinson Cano activated from 10-Day IL.
While Cano re-aggravated his quad injury just two at-bats into his first game back from the injured list on June 5, the Mets were not overly concerned or cautious with the 36-year-old veteran. He was playing in rehab games less than a week later and back in the starting lineup on the day he was eligible to return, batting fifth for the first time since 2012. After he went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk on Sunday, Cano is back in the third spot on Monday.
With the impending return of sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, there was a good chance that Frazier would be the odd man out on the Yankees’ 25-man roster in the very near future. The addition of Encarnacion, who was acquired from the Mariners over the weekend, made that possibility a much quicker reality on Monday when the 24-year-old was sent to Triple-A despite posting an .843 OPS with 11 homers in 209 plate appearances.
The 36-year-old Encarnacion, who had an .888 OPS and 21 homers for the Mariners, will bat fifth in his Yankee debut against the Rays. He’s expected to be the team’s designated hitter on a regular basis, meaning that Stanton and Judge will be the corner outfielders when both are healthy.
The 36-year-old Pence, in the midst of one of his best season’s ever, will miss at least the next 10 days after suffering an injury while playing the outfield on Sunday. He’s made 20 starts in a corner outfield spot while serving as the designated hitter in 27 games. Calhoun, who was 10-for-23 before being sidelined by a quad injury on May 21, is playing left field and batting fifth on Monday.
Notable Moves Involving Part-Time Players
- Colorado Rockies: INF Brendan Rodgers optioned to Triple-A.
Expected Future Moves
6/17/19: Mike Clevinger activated from 60-Day IL.
Clevinger will be making his first start since April 7, when he struck out 10 Blue Jays over five shutout innings. He pitched seven shutout innings with 12 strikeouts in his previous start. Including 13 second half starts in 2018, the 28-year-old Clevinger has a 2.00 ERA, 31 walks, and 111 strikeouts over his last 90 innings while giving up only 55 hits over that span. Corey Kluber wasn’t the only “ace” that the Indians have been missing in 2019.
6/17/19: Jhoulys Chacin activated from 10-Day IL.
The division-leading Brewers continue to roll, even while Chacin, their most consistent starter in 2018, has been out of action. He’ll return to face his former team, the Padres, at Petco Park, where he posted a 1.79 ERA in 16 starts.
New York Mets
6/16/19: Noah Syndergaard (strained hamstring) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 16.
Diagnosed with a low-grade strain, Syndergaard could return as early as June 26 at Philadelphia. The 26-year-old has a disappointing 4.55 ERA and 11 home runs allowed in his 15 starts, but his peripherals are nearly identical to last season and he’s averaging 6 1/3 innings per game. Wilmer Font, who pitched three no-hit innings of scoreless relief on Sunday, is the leading candidate to fill Syndergaard’s rotation spot.
Expected Future Moves
- Atlanta Braves: Dallas Keuchel has pitched seven innings in both of his rehab starts, including a 104-pitch outing for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday. He’s in line to be recalled as early as Friday June 21 at Washington.
- Detroit Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann could return from the injured list this weekend to face the Indians in Cleveland. The Tigers currently have three starting pitchers on their 25-man roster and will need to fill the fourth spot by June 22. If Zimmermann makes a third rehab start, he wouldn’t be available again until June 23.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Trevor Williams will be activated from the 10-Day IL on Wednesday June 19. He’ll be making his first start since May 16.
- San Diego Padres: Logan Allen will have his contract purchased from the minors on Tuesday June 18. The 22-year-old lefty, named as the No. 93 prospect in baseball by FanGraphs coming into the season, will be making his major league debut versus the Brewers.
- St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright will be activated from the 10-Day IL on either Thursday June 20 or Friday June 21.
Boston Red Sox
6/17/19: RP Ryan Brasier reinstated from Bereavement list.
After posting a 1.32 ERA and six saves in April, Brasier allowed 10 earned runs over his next 15 innings and had two blown saves. Four other Red Sox pitchers picked up saves during that span, turning what looked like a co-closer situation between Brasier and Matt Barnes, into a committee that Brasier might not even be a part of at the moment.
Toronto Blue Jays
6/17/19: RP David Phelps activated from 60-Day IL.
If Phelps can return to his pre-injury form—he had a 2.72 ERA, 11.1 K/9, and 46 holds in 2016-17 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2018—prior to Ken Giles coming back, he could quickly move into the Blue Jays’ closer committee. The 32-year-old pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in four rehab appearances.
Expected Future Moves
- Tampa Bay Rays: Jose Alvarado is expected to return from the Restricted list this week, although no official date has been determined. The 24-year-old lefty, who is second on the Rays with six saves, has not pitched in a game since June 1. He will presumably return to his role as a co-closer with Diego Castillo.
Minor League Report
Major League Debuts (June 14-16)
- Huascar Ynoa, RP, Atlanta Braves: 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 2 K 6/16/19
- Rogelio Armenteros, RP, Houston Astros: 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, Sv 6/14/19
- Dario Agrazal, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: 4 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K 6/15/19
- Austin Nola, 1B, Seattle Mariners: 1-for-2, R 6/16/19
Knocking Down the Door
Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso)
Even if Austin Hedges‘ 2018 season was his absolute ceiling as a hitter (.231/.282/.429; 14 HR in 326 plate appearances), the Padres were likely very confident that they had their starting catcher for the next several seasons. Already considered one of, if not the, best defensive catchers in the game, Hedges’ offensive contributions could be minimal and he’d still carry a ton of value as a major league regular. With this being the case, Mejia appeared more likely to be a future trade chip than ever play a major role on the Padres.
Only a few months into the season, however, the script could be flipping. The 26-year-old Hedges has taken at least a few steps backwards at the plate. Mejia, after mostly sitting and watching from the Padres’ bench early in the season—he started only 14 of the team’s first 39 games—is back to playing regularly in Triple-A after a knee injury sidelined temporarily. As could be expected of the best hitting prospects in the game, the 23-year-old is putting up big numbers in the Pacific Coast League (23-for-63, 4 HR, 8 2B, 2 3B). If the Padres continue to sink in the Wild Card race, the Padres could begin to give Mejia a real opportunity to prove that he can be the long-term answer.
UPDATE: Mejia has been recalled from Triple-A, although he’s not in Monday’s starting lineup. It’s unclear how much he’ll cut into Hedges’ playing time.
Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
Jake Bauers might have bought himself some time by hitting for the cycle on Friday night, but he’ll have to do a lot more if he wants to continue receiving regular at-bats. Through 252 plate appearances, the 23-year-old is slashing .223/.306/.379 with eight homers and 66 strikeouts. Possibly in line to take his job is Bradley, a left-handed hitting first baseman who has raised his home run total to 22 with multi-homer games on Friday and Sunday. He’s hit 19 homers since May 4 and is now slashing .287/.348/.627 in 267 plate appearances.
While the 23-year-old has alarming strikeout totals (32.6%), the Indians could probably live with it if he can bring some left-handed pop to the middle of the lineup and help a team that is near the bottom of the league in extra-base hits.