In case you were still wondering, the Royals are keeping the band together.
A team that looked like unlikely contenders and probable sellers about six weeks ago made a “buy” move Monday, acquiring Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter from the Padres in exchange for left-handers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood and second base prospect Esteury Ruiz.
Cahill is sure to provide a boost to a rotation that’s struggled for consistency. The 29-year-old experienced a resurgence this season in San Diego, putting up a 3.69 ERA and 72/24 K/BB ratio over 61 innings. The right-hander’s curveball has been a nasty pitch for him, and he continues to be a groundball-heavy guy. Cahill will have to face a designated hitter instead of a pitcher now, but he’ll benefit from increased run support and should maintain mixed league value even if he struggles with control from time to time.
Maurer’s fantasy value obviously takes a big hit here, as he’ll go from closing with the Padres to setting up with the Royals. He can be dropped in non-holds leagues. As far as who will replace Maurer in the ninth inning in San Diego, manager Andy Green said that Brad Hand, Phil Maton and Kirby Yates will be in the mix. Hand figures to get the first crack at the closer job, but he’s a pretty good bet to be traded in the next week. Maton (3.63 ERA, 18/2 K/BB ratio over 17 1/3 innings) and Yates (2.23 ERA, 49/9 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings) have both been superb this season and are worth scooping up.
Additionally, Green noted that Carter Capps is also "definitely in the conversation." Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Capps struggled initially but has righted the ship of late at Triple-A El Paso, allowing just one run with a 14/4 K/BB ratio over 16 innings since the beginning of June. Worth noting, though, is that Capps hasn’t quite regained his pre-surgery velocity yet.
The Padres got a couple interesting pieces in the trade, although it’s unlikely any of them will contribute in 2017 unless Wood finds some Petco Park magic. Strahm held a disappointing 5.45 ERA over 24 appearances -- three starts -- before having season-ending knee surgery earlier this month. However, he boasts a 10.6 K/9 rate for his career in the majors and put up sparkling numbers in the minors. The 25-year-old lefty has super early sleeper appeal as a potential member of the Padres’ 2018 rotation. It also sounds like San Diego got a very intriguing long-term prospect in the 18-year-old Ruiz.
After starting the season 26-34, the Royals have gone 25-13 since following their sixth straight victory Monday. They sit just 1.5 games behind the Indians in the American League Central and currently hold the second AL Wild Card spot.
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Garcia Finally Headed to Minny
A deal that looked like it was going to go down last week finally was completed on Monday.
The Twins joined their AL Central mate Royals in adding a starting pitcher, acquiring Jaime Garcia from the Braves along with Anthony Recker and cash considerations in exchange for pitching prospect Huascar Ynoa.
A trade that would’ve sent Garcia to the Twins for Nick Burdi was tentatively agreed to last week, but it was scuttled due to physical concerns with Burdi, who had Tommy John surgery in May. Garcia wound up making another start for the Braves, holding the Dodgers to three runs over seven innings and even hitting a grand slam last Friday. The Braves opened up trade talks with other clubs after the initial deal with the Twins fell through, but the two sides ultimately worked a new trade out.
Garcia has posted a 4.30 ERA and 85/41 K/BB ratio over 113 innings this season. The numbers are pretty underwhelming, but the nine-year veteran boasts a career 3.65 ERA and has consistently posted a high groundball rate. Garcia has averaged 6 1/3 innings per start this season, which is a big deal for Twins a rotation that entered Monday with a 4.92 ERA and has routinely had starters struggling to go deep into games. The lefty should help Minnesota but isn’t more than a streaming option in mixed leagues.
Kyle Gibson was optioned to the minors after Monday’s loss to the Dodgers to clear a spot in the rotation for Garcia. The right-hander holds an ugly 6.08 ERA over 18 starts this season. That means Bartolo Colon will stick around for now.
Taking Garcia’s spot in the Braves’ rotation will be Aaron Blair for now, as he’ll take the ball Wednesday in Arizona. However, the feeling seems to be that Lucas Sims will get a shot soon. The former first-round pick has really improved his control this season, posting a 3.75 ERA and 124/33 K/BB ratio over 110 1/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Giancarlo Stanton is good at this hitting home runs thing.
Stanton smacked a two-run homer and a solo shot in Monday’s victory over the Rangers. It was the slugger’s fourth multi-homer game since July 5. Yes, you read that correctly. Four two-homer games over the last 20 days.
Stanton has a total of 11 longballs across 15 contests over that stretch. The 11 dingers in July are the most he’s had in a month since he popped 12 in June of 2015 (he also hit 12 in May of 2012), and he still has another week left to see if he can top that total.
With 32 home runs on the season, Stanton is now tied with Aaron Judge for the major league lead and is only five shy of tying his career high. As impressive as that home run total is, maybe the most important number Stanton has posted this season is 96, as in 96 games played. That’s a huge deal for a guy who has topped 123 games played in a season just twice in his career and who averaged fewer than 100 games played the last two seasons.
Is there a chance Stanton will aim for that new season high in homers with another team? If you’re buying what Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said over the weekend, it doesn’t sound like it, as the club is saying they won’t consider dealing their controllable pieces until a new owner is in place. Getting Stanton out of Miami and hopefully to a better hitter’s park would be ideal, but it always seemed like a deal that would go down in the offseason, anyway, if something did happen. Stanton, of course, has a full no-trade clause.
American League Quick Hits: Dallas Keuchel (neck) is expected to rejoin the Astros' rotation on Friday or Saturday in Detroit … George Springer (quad) is expected to avoid the disabled list after exiting Monday’s game. The Astros have recalled top prospect Derek Fisher to supplement their outfield depth … Carlos Santana homered twice Monday in the Indians' victory over the visiting Reds … James Paxton struck out 10 over seven shutout frames on Monday versus the Red Sox … Kevin Gausman struck out eight batters over six shutout innings Monday in the Orioles' victory at Tampa Bay … Alex Bregman finished 3-for-5 with a homer and three runs scored Monday against the Phillies … Jorge Bonifacio finished 3-for-5 with a homer as the Royals defeated the Tigers on Monday … Jose Altuve went 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored Monday in a win over the Phillies … The Angels placed Alex Meyer on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation … Adrian Beltre went 4-for-4 in the Rangers' loss to the Marlins on Monday … Joel Sherman of the New York Post has reported that there's been "little indication" to this point that the Rangers will trade Yu Darvish … Adam Jones went 3-for-5 with a solo homer, a double, and two runs scored as the Orioles beat the Rays on Monday … Matt Chapman homered for the third straight game Monday in the Athletics' loss to the Blue Jays … Anthony Swarzak earned his first career save in Monday’s win over the Cubs, and White Sox manager Rick Renteria seemed to indicate after the game that Swarzak is the current favorite for saves. Swarzak, however, remains a candidate to be traded before the deadline … Wilson Ramos needed six staples to close a laceration on his head after he was hit by a shattered bat Monday, but he hopes to return to action as soon as Wednesday … Robinson Chirinos (ankle) could be available to play as soon as Wednesday … Eddie Rosario went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI Monday against the Dodgers …
National League Quick Hits: FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has reported that Clayton Kershaw (back) is tentatively expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. The Dodgers are confident that the back issue the ace is dealing with is not as serious as the one that cost him a couple months of action last season … A.J. Pollock went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI in Monday’s victory over the Braves … Justin Bour is headed to the 10-day disabled list after straining his right oblique Monday … FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Brewers are "fading" in the trade pursuit of Sonny Gray … Hunter Renfroe slugged a pair of solo homers in Monday’s loss to the Mets … Randal Grichuk homered for the fourth straight game Monday as the Cardinals beat the Rockies … Zack Wheeler landed on the DL with a stress reaction in his pitching arm. Chris Flexen will be promoted to start in his place, making his major league debut Thursday in San Diego … Adam Conley fired seven scoreless innings Monday in the Marlins' defeat of the Rangers … Mike Leake pitched seven shutout innings Monday in the Cardinals' defeat of the Rockies … Johnny Cueto (blisters) could throw a bullpen session Tuesday, while Mark Melancon (elbow) could face hitters as soon as this weekend … Jacob deGrom whiffed eight while yielding just two runs over eight frames Monday in San Diego … Austin Hedges (concussion) will not be activated when first eligible but should return sometime later this week … The Dodgers placed Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list with a blister on his right hand … Matt Carpenter (quad) didn’t play Monday after leaving Sunday’s game but is expected back in the Cardinals' lineup Tuesday … J.D. Martinez (hand) returned to the Diamondbacks’ lineup Monday and slugged a three-run homer … Stephen Piscotty (groin) did some running pre-game on Monday but won’t return from the DL when first eligible Tuesday … Aaron Altherr (hamstring) expects to return from the disabled list by the end of the week … Cody Bellinger belted a go-ahead three-run homer in Monday’s win over the Twins … Andrew McCutchen went deep and drove in four runs Monday in San Francisco ...