As always, we’ll start by taking a look at all the latest injuries around the league and whether a team will have to go outside the organization for a replacement.
Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
The initial expectation was that the 38-year-old would be fully recovered from ankle surgery and activated from the disabled list no later than May 1. But, as reported by ESPN's Andrew Marchand, it was discovered yesterday that Jeter has a small crack in the bone and would be out until sometime after the All-Star break.
General manager Brian Cashman says the club is happy with fill-ins Eduardo Nuñez and Jayson Nix, but neither is lighting the world on fire (combined .190 batting average). They might have to look outside the organization for some help. (I threw out some ideas on the subject.)
The Blue Jays could be in the same boat with Jose Reyes out up to three months with an ankle injury. They’re currently going with Maicer Izturis and Munenori Kawasaki as his replacements.
Matt Harrison, SP, Texas Rangers
The lefty will undergo surgery for a herniated disk in his back and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
Already without Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery), Martin Perez (fractured wrist) and Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery), the Rangers say they’ll stay in house; rookies Nicholas Tepesch and Justin Grimm are currently in the rotation. At least that’s the plan, for now.
But if things get ugly, the Rangers have one of the deepest farm systems in the game and are capable packaging prospects in order to deal for a starting pitcher. The question is whether any team considered to be a non-contender would make a trade in April or May.
On Friday, I discussed why it would make sense for contending teams to try and acquire players earlier in the season, as opposed to waiting until July.
Chase Headley Watch
No. 3 on my top 10 trade deadline candidates list, Headley returned from a thumb injury on Wednesday and is now 2-for-7 with a homer and three RBI through his first two games.
The 5-11 Padres could have nothing to play for by early July, if not sooner, so teams are sure to be asking about Headley’s availability. The Padres don’t have to trade him—he’ll be a free agent after 2014—but I’m certain they’ll at least be willing to listen.
Struggling Offseason Trade Acquisitions
A change of scenery can help in certain cases. So far in 2013, the following players acquired in offseason trades haven’t impressed their new fanbase:
Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF, Blue Jays: .192 BA (10-for-52), 6 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 17 K
Collin Cowgill, OF, Mets: .194 BA (7-for-36), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 8 K
Yunel Escobar, SS, Rays: .125 BA (7-for-56), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 12 K
Cliff Pennington, SS/2B, Diamondbacks: .211 BA (12-for-57), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 15 K
Ben Revere, OF, Phillies: .221 BA (16-for-68), 3B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 11 K, 5 SB
Chris Young, OF, A’s: .179 BA (10-for-56), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 7 BB, 15 K, 4 SB
Jason Vargas, LHP, Angels: 6.75 ERA, 14.2 IP, 27 H, 7 BB, 8 K
With plenty of closing situations up in the air at the moment, it wouldn’t be surprising if three minor league signings from this week all ended up with some save opportunities before the season ends.
The Brewers are currently on their backup closing option (Jim Henderson) as John Axford struggled coming out of the gate. To bolster their pen, they signed Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. The Cubs, who have some sort of closer committee going on with Carlos Marmol being demoted, signed Kevin Gregg, who saved 23 games for them in 2009. And the Marlins signed former Mariners closer David Aardsma.
Jose Valverde, who signed a minor league deal with the Tigers earlier in the month, pitched a scoreless inning for High-A Lakeland on Friday. He could be back in the majors in the next few weeks. Former Giants closer Brian Wilson, who is on the mend from Tommy John surgery, could also sign with a team in the near future. The Cardinals are among the teams who could be seeking help in the late innings.