Monday, July 30, 2018

Notebook: MLB Trade deadline nears

By John Hull,

I regularly follow Major League Baseball's "At-Bat" app and I've been watching intently for any familiar names that may prop up on the app notifications, especially since the trading deadline is less than 24 hours away. Locals like the Astros' J.D. Davis, the Mariners' David Freitas and the Reds' David Hernandez are all possible trade material as each one of their clubs position themselves for the remaining 55 to 60 games this season.

Davis may be needed badly in the Houston lineup now that Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are both on the injured list. He's been starting the past few games at third base while Astro All-Star Alex Bregman has shifted over to shortstop in Correa's spot. Though he was leading most of Triple-A baseball in several offensive categories this year in Fresno, Davis has struggled a bit while in Houston. Going into tonight's game at Seattle he's batting .190 with a homer and five RBIs.

With a talent log-jam in Houston, Davis may be better off in the long run elsewhere, but he's been a good fill-in this year and proved the same at the end of last season when the Astros made their run to the World Series.

Hernandez on Sunday posted on Twitter he hoped teammate Matt Harvey would NOT be making his last start in a Reds uniform that afternoon. Though his team sits at the bottom of the National League Central Division, Cincinnati is really playing some good baseball right now and Hernandez is in the middle of a very good bullpen. 
The Reds' David Hernandez

And, he's having his best year statistically in the bigs. Hernandez is 4-0 in 34 games for Cincinnati with a 1.79 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 40.1 innings. His WHIP is a very impressive 0.99.

Seattle has recently been very active in the trade market acquiring RHP Sam Tuivailala from St. Louis and LHP Zach Duke from Minnesota to help make a run at the playoffs. They are doing quite well in second place in the American League West behind Houston, yet battling with the A's for that spot in their division. Freitas has been making the run between Seattle and Triple-A Tacoma all year. Since July 22 he's been with the Rainiers and has done quite well at the plate and behind the plate in 2018. He's batting .351 in Triple-A and just .192 in his 29 games with the Mariners.

Freitas is no newcomer to trades, having been shipped by the Nationals to the A's, and a couple years later, from the A's to the Orioles. He may be stick with the Mariners' organization because he may be insurance. Regular catcher Mike Zunino has been on the DL twice this season which caused the Mariners to ship in Freitas from Tacoma.

Another former Elk Grove H.S. player that is awaiting at the MLB doorstep in Rowdy Tellez. In 85 games this season with Buffalo, the Triple-A affiliate of Toronto, Tellez is batting .262 with 10 homers. Toronto has been shopping some of its players, since at 48-56 and well behind Boston and New York in the American League East, the Blue Jays may be looking for more prospects. That may give Tellez a chance to come up to the big club before the end of this season.

On Monday, Toronto sent RHP Roberto Osuna to Houston for pitchers Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez.

Madrigal yet to K?

Someone tweeted a couple days ago quite an amazing stat - that the Chicago White Sox' top draft choice in June, Elk Grove H.S.'s Nick Madrigal, has yet to strike out in his first 53 plate appearances as a pro.

My reply: "He may not strike out this year unless he runs across a near-sighted ump."

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