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Chicago Cubs: Release RHP Tyler Chatwood
This is a bold suggestion for a player who is in the first year of a three-year, $38 million deal, but releasing Tyler Chatwood is the best move for the Cubs to make.
The 28-year-old has walked a staggering 88 batters in 96.2 innings, running up a 5.21 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in the process while recording a quality start in just three of his 19 starts before finally being relegated to the bullpen.
At this point, he can’t be trusted with anything more than mop-up duty, and the Cubs can’t afford to waste a spot on him for the next month while they wait for rosters to expand.
It goes beyond just this season, though. They can’t count on him to fill a rotation spot next year when they’re trying to contend for a title, so what’s the sense in keeping him around and eating up a spot on the 40-man roster? Chalk it up as a loss, cut ties now, add a useful arm to the bullpen and move on.
Milwaukee Brewers: Trade for C A.J. Ellis
The catcher position has produced a .221/.283/.337 line for the Brewers this season with Manny Pina, Erik Kratz and Jacob Nottingham splitting time.
That trio has been excellent defensively, but the Brewers could look to bring some balance to the position by adding someone who is more of an offensive threat.
A.J. Ellis has been a light-hitting, part-time player for much of his career, but he’s posted an excellent .292/.403/.375 line over 147 plate appearances with the San Diego Padres.
The Padres already let Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles walk for nothing more than a waiver claim, and if Ellis can also be had for nothing more than what’s left of his $1.25 million salary, it would be a worthwhile pickup for the Brew Crew.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Promote RHP Clay Holmes for a bullpen role
Here’s what I wrote earlier this week while highlighting Clay Holmes as a potential call-up option for the Pirates:
The Pirates added a major weapon to the bullpen when they acquired Keone Kela from the Rangers at the trade deadline, but there’s still room to improve a unit that ranks 19th in the majors with a 4.21 ERA.
While Clay Holmes has been used almost exclusively as a starter since he was selected in the ninth round of the 2011 draft, he has the stuff to be an asset out of the bullpen, even if it’s just a temporary move.
To that point, MLB.com wrote: “There has been talk about moving Holmes to the bullpen, where that sinker-cutter combination could be extremely effective. For now, he’ll likely keep starting as rotation depth so he can fill any kind of role once the need arises in Pittsburgh.”
The immediate need is in the bullpen, and he’s ready to help.
With Adeiny Hechavarria added to the middle infield mix and Chris Archer bolstering the rotation, slotting Holmes in the bullpen looks like the most impactful in-house move the team can make.
St. Louis Cardinals: Move RHP Daniel Poncedeleon back into the rotation
Daniel Poncedeleon tossed seven no-hit innings in his MLB debut on July 23.
For whatever reason, he hasn’t made another start since. Instead, he’s been limited to a pair of multi-inning relief appearances.
Meanwhile, Austin Gomber lasted just four innings in his most recent start, and he’s been excellent out of the bullpen for much of the season, so flip-flopping those two and returning Poncedeleon to the rotation would seem to make sense for a Cardinals team that is trying to stay in the hunt.
After all, what more does a guy have to do to earn a second start?