Storylines: The hot stove is heating up
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Friday, July 11.
- The Cardinals claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Indians, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Kottaras was recently designated for assignment by Cleveland.
- The Indians are hopeful that Justin Masterson's two weeks on the disabled list will not only give him a chance to heal, but to help him get his mechanics back in line, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway feels that Masterson's knee has affected the way he's been able to land during his delivery, which would explain the sharp decrease in velocity Masterson has seen this year.
- Prior to Friday's game against the White Sox, Cleveland promoted the reliever from Triple-A Columbus and optioned left-handed starter T.J. House to the same affiliate. Adams learned he was heading to The Show on Thursday night and immediately called his girlfriend to share the good news.
- During batting practice on Friday, some of Cleveland's players were wearing bright orange shirts that said "JK Construction" on the front. On the back was the slogan: "I break it. You fix it." The shirts were poking fun at second baseman Jason Kipnis, who is no fan of an offensive slump. Entering Friday, though, Kipnis had hit .323 with six extra-base hits and 12 runs scored over his past 15 games.
- On Friday, the Indians signed catcher Gian Paul Gonzalez -- out of Discipulos De Cristo High School in Puerto Rico -- after taking him in the 20th round (608th overall) in the First-Year Player Draft last month. Cleveland has signed 30 of its 42 Draft selections.
News and Notes:
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe provided a few notes on the Red Sox that could impact the team's trade deadline plans. The club prefers to keep Koji Uehara for the 2015 campaign, he said, though of course the closer is slated to hit the open market. Meanwhile, the team would prefer to keep Xander Bogaerts at third for the present, but could nevertheless be open to dealing Stephen Drew if he can show some kind of turnaround at the plate.
- The Rangers are receiving trade interest in a number of their bullpen arms, according to multiple reports. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported that the team is listening on right-hander Jason Frasor and lefty Neal Cotts, and both have generated some interest. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Angels, Blue Jays and Tigers have been in contact with the Rangers about closer Joakim Soria. Texas wants a "substantial package" to move Soria, T.R. Sullivan and Grace Raynor of MLB.com reported. The asking price is believed to be two or three prospects.
- With the Pirates bullpen showing some signs of wear, the club will be on the lookout for relief help in addition to starters, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. One possibility, Biertempfel said, is Huston Street of the Padres. Though he figures to require a substantial return, Street would potentially slot in as the club's closer with Mark Melancon returning to an 8th-inning role. Pittsburgh has also recently scouted the Red Sox, who have several arms that could appeal.
- In search of a much-needed right-handed bat for their lineup, the Mariners have been scouting Marlon Byrd recently, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Byrd, however, revealed to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he has a small, four-team no-trade clause which includes the Mariners, Royals, Blue Jays and Rays.
- The Royals are "looking hard" at options to bolster their pen, Cafardo further reported. Though the Kansas City pen ranks third in the game in accumulated fWAR, much of that has come from top options Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera. And the relief corps rates just 19th in cumulative ERA (3.68). Among the Royals' remaining active relievers, Aaron Crow and Francisley Bueno have outperformed their peripherals, Louis Coleman has struggled by any measure, and Scott Downs was knocked around Thursday after three quality outings to start his tenure with his second club of the season.
- The Diamondbacks have been receiving interest in left-hander Wade Miley, but are telling interested parties that he is unavailable, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Some had speculated that Miley could fetch a nice return as an under-the-radar trade candidate, but given his long-term control (through 2017), it appears that Arizona will likely resist the temptation.
- The Brewers will once again recall top prospect Jimmy Nelson, this time to take the rotation spot of the struggling Marco Estrada, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
- The Mets have not fielded much interest lately in second baseman Daniel Murphy, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. A club official also told Puma that trade talks have generally been rather quiet.
- The Nationals are crossing their fingers after All-Star starter Jordan Zimmermann left yesterday's start with a right arm issue. Initial indications were positive, as the club said that Zimmermann was experiencing a biceps cramp and that hopes are it is not a serious issue, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington reported.
- The Yankees acquired veteran lefty Jeff Francis from the A's, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Francis was designated for assignment last week.
- The Blue Jays announced that after a meeting with Dr. Robert Anderson, Adam Lind's timetable to return isn't as discouraging as initially thought. Lind could be back in games within two or three weeks, according to the new diagnosis. He will wear a walking boot for the next five to seven days.
- The Rays will listen on catcher Jose Molina, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported. Olney wondered whether the Cardinals would consider looking into the older brother of the injured Yadier Molina. It is worth bearing in mind, of course, the elder Molina is under contract for next season at $2.75 million.
The next four series are against the Tigers, Twins, Royals and Mariners to finish out July. I think the Detroit series will determine which way the Tribe goes. They win that series, that's a good way to start the second half, but if he hey come out flat against the Motor City Kitties they'll have a hard road to win the division. At this point, I think it will be easier to go for the division instead of hope to get one of the WC spots.