Yankees' rotation options after shocking J.A. Happ diagnosis

Yankees' rotation options after shocking J.A. Happ diagnosis

Yankees GM Brian Cashman didn’t acquire Lance Lynn on Monday to be insurance against J.A. Happ being diagnosed with hand, foot and-mouth disease on Tuesday.

However, the 31-year-old Lynn was attractive to the Yankees because he offered rotation and bullpen protection. Now, with Happ being sent home on Tuesday with the contagious condition, the right-handed Lynn might be needed to start against the Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway Park. Luis Cessa, currently at Triple-A, is also an option.

Cashman didn’t rule out Happ making that start but wasn’t ready to say the lefty acquired from the Blue Jays on Thursday was going to be healthy enough to take the ball against a team he has done very well against.

“How about that. I got a call from [trainer] Steve Donohue toward the end of the [4 p.m. Tuesday trade] deadline and he said, ‘I am not sure what is going on here.’ J.A. Happ has some complaints he isn’t feeling right,” Cashman said before the Yankees hosted the downtrodden Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

“He noticed some blistering on his hand. He thought immediately that it was that. We sent him over to New York Presbyterian Hospital. He has been diagnosed with what appears to be, at this point, as a mild case of Coxsackie, which is hand-foot-and-[mouth] disease.’’

Luis CessaGetty Images

It’s the same viral infection Mets starter Noah Syndergaard was diagnosed with July 21, one day after facing the Yankees at the Stadium, which landed him on the disabled list. He is expected to be activated Wednesday.

Cashman wouldn’t promise Happ, who is 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) against the Red Sox, would take the mound Saturday. Against Boston this season, the 35-year-old lefty is 0-1 with a 0.84 ERA in two starts.

“He is still scheduled to start. That is not something as of right now [that] is in jeopardy as of yet,’’ Cashman said. “But we will limit Cessa, who is starting for [Triple-A] Scranton to one inning [Tuesday]. He is a viable option. Lance Lynn is flying into New York [on Tuesday night], and he will be available [Wednesday] out of the pen.’’

Who starts on Saturday against the Red Sox, who put ace Chris Sale on the DL on Tuesday with a shoulder problem, will depend on the news the Yankees receive on Happ’s condition on Wednesday.

“When we get a better feel for J.A. Happ and how he is feeling [Wednesday] and the virus: Is it dissipating or ramping up? It was diagnosed as a very mild case, and our internist felt that if everything is as it is right now, he could probably [pitch] on Saturday,’’ Cashman said. “First and foremost, we will do what’s best for J.A. Happ. If we have to make an adjustment, we have more personnel based on the deadline [trades]. It’s not why we did any of that stuff, but it’s easier than we would have.’’

Cashman didn’t know where Happ contracted the disease but immediately took steps to keep it from running through the clubhouse.

“I have been on the phone getting more education on that and what you do with it,’’ Cashman said. “Get everybody more involved with hand sanitizers for their protection, but essentially there is no treatment. Be patient and let the virus take its course.’’

Cashman said the “situation is fluid” and there are several possible scenarios, including the DL.

“Obviously, the choices turn to: he takes the start, he is not available to start and the disabled-list consideration comes into play, and that is what is best for him and therefore for us’’ Cashman said. “We will re-evaluate [Wednesday], and first and foremost, see how J.A. is feeling and we will adjust accordingly.’’

Detroit Tigers salvage trade deadline by getting prospect Willi Castro

Detroit Tigers salvage trade deadline by getting prospect Willi Castro

They salvaged it.

When they walked out of Comerica Park well past 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Tigers front office had in place what they had been seeking for the better part of the past month: A trade.

The medical records had been exchanged, and center fielder Leonys Martin was headed out the door the next day.

Throughout the summer, their players were not highly coveted. Sure, Michael Fulmer was, but then he got hurt. Maybe if he could play right field better, Nicholas Castellanos would have been. But their trading efforts focused mostly on three players — Martin, Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano — all of whom were signed for the very opportunity to move them for prospects at the trade deadline.

Liriano didn’t pitch well enough to get moved. Arbitration-eligible in the winter and with the Tigers needing plenty of pitching next year, Fiers wouldn’t be given away for free. Their American League Central division-rival Indians were the only team with a need at center. And the Tigers filled their need in the best way they could.

In exchange for Martin, the Tigers received 21-year-old shortstop Willi Castro, a switch-hitter who is considered a “legitimate prospect” by one rival talent evaluator. Castro, 21, is hitting .245 with five home runs and 39 RBIs for Double-A Akron this season. In five minor-league seasons, he is a .263 hitter with 26 home runs and is ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Indians’ system, according to Baseball America.

More: Detroit Tigers get Willi Castro in trade: What to know about prospect

“We feel that he has a chance to be a good, everyday shortstop,” general manager Al Avila said. “We feel that he’s going to hit, that he’s going to be a good infielder, so it adds to the mix of the good, young prospects that we have right now.”

The Tigers have coveted middle infield prospects since their rebuild began last season and in three trades, have acquired five of them.

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The evaluations around baseball have been positive regarding the trade. Among those collected by the Free Press: “They did well to get him for Martin. … It wasn’t just great, it might be a steal. … I like the guy’s potential with the bat. Switch-hitter, chance to be a solid hit and power guy.”

Essentially, the Tigers went 1-for-3 in moving the guys they had signed to do so. The team did not receive any inquires in recent days on Liriano — and shortstop Jose Iglesias, who is scheduled to hit free agency after the season — and though they were in discussion with two teams in the final hour before the deadline about Fiers, their price was not matched.

To add a positional prospect — which the team is in dire need of — is a win, especially for Martin, whose nagging hamstring issues seemed to serve as a road block for a trade. But the Indians needed a center fielder and the Tigers needed to walk away from this trade deadline with something.

Yes, this season’s trade market didn’t help. The Tigers knew it wouldn’t, not after finding so few suitors for J.D. Martinez last season. But had they not been able to move any of the players they signed to trade, it would have been reflective not only of the market but of they players they chose to sign.

There were other opportunities, certainly, but they would not settle for 75 cents on the dollar for Fulmer — nor should they — and his injury took them off the hook for the winter. Castellanos’ wasn’t a hot commodity, only an option for AL teams because of his play in right. Iglesias’ market dried up in earnest when the Phillies and Brewers opted for better offensive players and Shane Greene was one of many controllable relievers available — not a recipe for making a move.

More: Detroit Tigers shut down top prospect Franklin Perez for season

“The market was really flooded with a lot of good players, in particular,” Avila said. “And we have some good players, but if you look at the list of players that were available, that is a record number. I was trying to be optimistic but at the same time, I knew it was a rough year to be able to make multiple trades.”

The Tigers had an outside chance to make multiple moves — the Athletics and Brewers were interested in Fiers — but a last-minute deal never materialized. Avila described the interest as “mild, so it didn’t really get very far.”

Fiers is arbitration-eligible next season and will be of use to the Tigers, who will once again be challenged in starting pitching. His future could be re-evaluated in the winter, and then at the trade deadline next season.

And so the Tigers walked away with only Castro and only Castro, which is more than they would have expected a few days ago. He will move into the team’s top-tier of prospects, yet another one to dream on. Their trade deadline didn’t turn out to be a dream scenario, but it was productive enough to call it a win.

Contact Anthony Fenech: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.


MLB trade notebook: Pirates add Archer

MLB trade notebook: Pirates add Archer

Jul 27, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) throws a pitch in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired right-hander Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Pittsburgh sent outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named later to Tampa Bay.

Archer, 29, has three years and $24 million remaining on his contract after this season, with the final two years being club options worth $8.25 million apiece.

The two-time All-Star is 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 17 starts this season, which would mark his third straight season with an increase in ERA since posting a 3.23 figure in 2015. Despite a career record of 54-68, Archer has an ERA of 3.69 in 177 starts across seven seasons in the majors.

–The Baltimore Orioles traded second baseman Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers for infielder Jonathan Villar and minor leaguers Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona.

Schoop, 26, has been an Orioles mainstay over the past six seasons. After his first All-Star appearance in 2017, Schoop has slumped to a .244 batting average this year while still providing 17 homers and 40 RBIs in 85 games.

Villar, 27, is hitting .261 with six homers, 22 RBIs and 14 stolen bases this year. He has been on the disabled list since July 15 with a right thumb injury, but he just finished a rehab assignment and will join the Orioles.

–The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired slugging second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins for Logan Forsythe and minor-leaguers Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer.

Dozier, 31, is making $9 million in the final season of the four-year, $20 million extension he signed with the Twins in 2015. He told the Star Tribune in an interview back in March that he expected to become a free agent after the season.

Dozier was been bargain for the Twins over his seven seasons. An All-Star in 2015, he broke out to hit a career-best 42 home runs and 99 RBIs in 2016. He followed that up with a solid 2017 campaign, hitting .271 with 34 home runs and 93 RBIs and winning his first Gold Glove.

–The Philadelphia Phillies acquired veteran catcher Wilson Ramos in a trade with the Rays for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Ramos, who turns 31 next month, is currently on the disabled list recovering from a strained hamstring he suffered on July 14 shortly before the All-Star break. The injury prevented him from starting his first All-Star Game and appearing in his second in the past three seasons.

According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Ramos was slated to catch a live bullpen session over the weekend but that Tampa Bay’s staff believes Ramos remains a few weeks from a healthy return. He is hitting .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs in 78 games this season.

–The Chicago Cubs acquired reliever Brandon Kintzler from the Nationals just before the non-waiver deadline. Washington received right-handed pitching prospect Jhon Romero in the deal.

Kintzler becomes the latest pitcher to join the Cubs this month, along with recent acquisitions Jesse Chavez and Cole Hamel. With Brandon Morrow on the disabled list, Kintzler adds another arm to the bullpen. He will turn 34 on Wednesday.

Kintzler is a nine-year veteran with a career 15-16 record and 3.30 ERA. He’s mostly been used in middle relief, though he did have 28 saves for Minnesota in 2017.

–The Atlanta Braves acquired right-handers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day from Baltimore in exchange for four prospects and international bonus money.

The Orioles will receive right-hander Evan Phillips, corner infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland and lefty Bruce Zimmerman. Baltimore will also receive $2.5 million in international bonus funds.

Gausman, 27, is 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 21 starts this season. O’Day, 35, was moved to the 60-day disabled list at the end of June and is expected to miss the rest of the season due to left hamstring surgery.

–The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired a pair of relief pitchers, nabbing Brad Ziegler from the Miami Marlins and Jake Diekman from the Texas Rangers.

The Marlins received minor league reliever Tommy Eveld in return for Ziegler, a right-hander with a sidewinding throwing motion. The Rangers received minor league pitcher Wei-Chieh Huang in return for Diekman, a lefty.

Both Ziegler and Diekman are scheduled to hit free agency after this season.

–The Seattle Mariners acquired center fielder Cameron Maybin from the Miami Marlins. The Mariners sent minor league infielder Bryson Brigman and international slot money to Miami in return.

Maybin, 31, is batting .251 with three homers, 20 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 99 games this season, his second stint with the Marlins after playing for them from 2008-10.

He is set to hit free agency at season’s end after making $3.25 million in 2018.

–The Dodgers added right-handed reliever John Axford from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor league right-hander Corey Copping.

Axford, 35, is 4-1 this season with a 4.41 ERA in 45 appearances (one start) with Toronto. He has struck out 50 and walked 20 in 51 innings. The 10-year veteran owns a 3.78 ERA with 144 saves, including an NL-high 46 in 2011 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Dodgers will be Axford’s eighth big league team.

–The St. Louis Cardinals — still within striking distance of the postseason — were sellers rather than buyers hours before the non-waiver trade deadline, sending outfielder Tommy Pham to Tampa Bay.

In return, the Cardinals will receive minor leaguers Justin Williams, Genesis Cabrera and Roel Ramirez, as well as international slot money.

Pham, 30, had a breakout season in 2017, batting .306 with 23 home runs and 73 RBIs. This season, his average has dipped to .248. He has 14 home runs and 41 RBIs, and his slugging percentage (.399) is on pace for a career low.

–The Cleveland Indians acquired outfielder Leonys Martin from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for a pair of prospects.

Cleveland will send right-hander Kyle Dowdy and infielder Willi Castro to Detroit.

Martin, 30, is batting .251 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 78 games this season, his first with the Tigers after he signed as a free agent in December. He is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the season, after making $1.75 million in 2018.

–The St. Louis Cardinals sent minor league outfielder Oscar Mercado to the Cleveland Indians in return for minor league outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres. The closest to the majors of the trio is Mercado, 23, who hit .285 with eight homers, 42 RBIs and 31 stolen bases in 100 games for Triple-A Memphis this year.

–The Chicago White Sox acquired left-hander Hunter Schryver from the Rays in exchange for international signing bonus pool money. Schryver, 23, is 1-3 with a 2.40 over 31 appearances (one start) for two teams in Class-A this year.

–Field Level Media

Bickley: D-backs' Hazen has proven he's a game-changer for the franchise

Bickley: D-backs' Hazen has proven he's a game-changer for the franchise

Mike Hazen was introduced Monday as the Arizona Diamondbacks new executive vice president and general manager. (Photo by Alexis Ramanjulu/Cronkite News)

Mike Hazen makes good trades. He has an affinity for pickles. He’s a hard hang on game day, too involved and too intense to be good company.

He shares the latter trait with Randy Johnson, and that’s not all. The Diamondbacks’ general manager might be the most influential acquisition since the Hall of Fame pitcher put his trust in Jerry Colangelo.

Hazen’s flurry of maneuvers before the trade deadline raised the stakes in Arizona. They added $6 million in payroll, implying full consent and confidence from majority owner Ken Kendrick. He traded away seven prospects and a player to be named later, but preserved the farm system’s thin crop of elite talent. His actions speak to three words that every Valley fan should appreciate: Go for it.

Hazen has the Ivy League pedigree that defines a new era. He is a student of Big Data, part of Theo Epstein’s team of revolutionaries in Boston who forged their own declaration of independence. He knows how to buy low and spend wisely.

He also played the game, drafted in the 31st round before a shoulder injury effectively ended a landlocked career. He was described as a great leader by his former coach at Princeton, a guy who claims he’s never forgotten the pain of hearing he wasn’t good enough for Major League Baseball. In other words, he understands the math and the humanity of professional sports.

After Hazen was hired by the Diamondbacks, he and his wife went shopping for a new house in the Valley. He told ace reporter Todd Walsh how he always preferred “the renovation project, fix it up and make it your own type of thing.” To the contrary, his wife was more of “the move-in ready type.”

Hazen won that battle, and rightfully assumed the D-backs preferred the same approach. He saw a team that needed a new methodology, a rebuild from the ground floor, a path to long-term sustainability.

Instead, he ended up with a move-in ready kind of baseball team, a job that was dramatically different than what he envisioned. He’s shown great skill at hitting curveballs.

Hazen’s acquisition of J.D. Martinez in 2017 will forever rank as one of the best rental players in baseball history. His little moves all seem to fit. His biggest blemish –- a trade for pitcher Taijuan Walker and infielder Ketel Marte currently trending in favor of the Mariners –- is complicated by injury and still too early to judge. And his buttressing of the 2018 Diamondbacks surpasses all expectations, matching the cash-fueled Dodgers in aggression and competitive spirit.

Full conviction has its costs. The Diamondbacks too often field a lineup card determined by a computer. Their insistence on dressing three catchers seems foolhardy. The late-season change in hitting philosophy in 2017 seemed to take its toll on the offense in May, when too many good players seemed locked up at home plate, reeling between the ears.

But the collective impact from Hazen’s group is stunning. John Jay, Eduardo Escobar and Clay Buchholz are just the latest examples. The additions of Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman gives the team great situational flexibility in relief: a left-handed power arm that can strikeout left-handed sluggers; an unflappable groundball pitcher who conjures up double plays on command; and a handful of potential closers if Brad Boxberger falters down the stretch.

The D-backs are now well-equipped to win bullpen games in the postseason. And if Robbie Ray finds his stride in the next two months, giving the team three dominant starters in the rotation, they are good enough to win a wide-open pennant race in the National League.

If they beat the big-market Dodgers to a division title, it will be one of the most celebrated regular-season accomplishments in Valley history. It will bolster the Diamondbacks’ status at a crucial time in their evolution, commanding headlines and eyeballs, successfully countering the hype of football season and a NBA team flaunting the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Eventually, Hazen will get around to the job he expected to perform in Arizona. Let’s hope he’s as skillful with rebuilding projects as he has been at seizing the moment and winning on the fly, a general manager who is proving to be a game-changer at Chase Field.

Gausman helps Braves 'hit all the boxes' for NL East push

Gausman helps Braves 'hit all the boxes' for NL East push

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Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

ATLANTA (AP) — From the perspective of manager Brian Snitker, the addition of right-hander Kevin Gausman means the Atlanta Braves added help in all the right places for their push to win the NL East.

Snitker applauded four trades made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

”I feel really good,” Snitker said. ”We talked about what you would like to have, and I think he hit all the boxes. Bullpen depth, starting pitcher, maybe a bat off the bench. I think they did a great job.”

The Braves acquired Gausman and veteran reliever Darren O’Day from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for four prospects Tuesday. The Braves also added outfielder Adam Duvall, acquired from the Reds late Monday, and relievers Brad Brach and Jonny Venters in the last five days.

Atlanta didn’t part with any of its top prospects in the process, either.

The Orioles acquired Triple-A right-hander Evan Phillips, Class A infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion and two Double-A prospects – catcher Brett Cumberland and left-hander Bruce Zimmerman. Baltimore also received international signing bonus slot money.

”We’re always reluctant to move some of our higher ranked guys,” Anthopoulos said. ”… We like the guys we lost. There are certain guys that are more high-profile. We didn’t go into the trade deadline saying we refuse to move on our top prospects. Certain guys are harder to acquire than others. For the right deal for the right player, we’re open to it.”

The Braves entered Tuesday’s trade deadline a half-game behind first-place Philadelphia and five games ahead of third-place Washington in the NL East. The Phillies have also made a push, adding catcher Wilson Ramos and left-hander Aaron Loup on Tuesday after picking up infielder Asdrubal Cabrera last Friday. The Nationals traded away reliever Brandon Kintzler but otherwise stood pat at the deadline.

”We were just trying to make the team better,” Anthopoulos said. ”Obviously it’s going to be a tight race in the East. Philadelphia made some nice moves. The Nats, we know how talented they are. … It’s going to be tough. We want to win the division, as all the other teams do, but even the wild card is going to be challenging.”

Duvall joined the team Tuesday and has been designated for a platoon role, with most of his starts coming against left-handers. He’ll play left field, with rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. moving to center and Ender Inciarte moving to the bench against left-handers.

Duvall, hitting .205 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs, also gives the team a powerful pinch-hitter.

Duvall said the platoon role ”doesn’t really matter to me.”

”I’m excited to be here,” he said. ”However they use me, I’ll go in there and do my best and hopefully win some ballgames.”

O’Day had season-ending surgery on his left hamstring July 12 and was acquired to be part of Atlanta’s 2019 bullpen.

Gausman, 27, was 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 21 games started for Baltimore. He is under team control through 2020.

This is the second deal between the teams in three days. Atlanta acquired Brach from Baltimore for an international signing slot Sunday.

Gausman adds experience to a rotation that has lost rookie Mike Soroka and right-hander Brandon McCarthy to injuries.

Anthopoulos said he didn’t feel he had to add a starting pitcher because he likes the depth provided by prospects, including left-hander Kolby Allard, promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his debut Tuesday night against Miami.

”We were just looking at the right value and the right deal,” Anthopoulos said.

Allard is expected to be sent back to Gwinnett following Tuesday night’s game.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball