MLB Trade Rumors  07/31/2020 16:45:29 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced Friday that right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle will undergo Tommy John surgery, Marly Rivera of ESPN reports.

This isn’t surprising news, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported just minutes ago that Kahnle was probably going in this direction. Still, the fact that it’s now official is unfortunate for him and the Yankees. Kahnle, 30, has been an important part of their bullpen since they acquired him from the White Sox in a 2017 blockbuster trade. Since rejoining the Yankees, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, Kahnle has logged a 4.01 ERA/3.23 FIP with 12.58 K/9, 3.69 BB/9 and a 44.8 percent groundball rate over 112 1/3 innings.

While Kahnle won’t be easily replaceable for the Yankees, the World Series contenders are well-equipped to soldier on without him. After all, the team also Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino and Chad Green as other prominent late-game arms. Kahnle’s season-ending injury takes a quality option away, though, and now it’s in question whether he will pitch for the Yankees again. Considering the timing of this surgery, Kahnle may not be ready to return until very late next season or at the beginning of 2022. In the meantime, the Yankees will have to decide whether to tender him a contract for his final arbitration-eligible season in 2021. He’s on a prorated $2.65MM salary this year, and that number should stay the same next season.

9:20pm: Kahnle will “likely” require Tommy John surgery, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.

5:03pm: The Yankees have announced a pair of roster moves in advance of tonight’s game. Righty Tommy Kahnle was moved to the 10-day injured list with what the team termed a “right ulnar collateral ligament injury.” He’ll be replaced by southpaw Jordan Montgomery.

That’s a worrisome addition to earlier news on Kahnle, who had previously been described as suffering from forearm tightness. The reliever was slated to undergo an MRI and visit team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad.

Soon to turn 31, Kahnle had seemed primed to occupy an important role in the Yanks’ pen in 2020. After a rough 2018 showing, he bounced back last season by throwing 61 1/3 innings of 3.67 ERA ball with 12.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.

Montgomery is moving in precisely the other direction. The 27-year-old has been limited to eight appearances over the past two seasons owing to Tommy John surgery. He’s now hoping to regain the promising trajectory he was on before the elbow woes arose.

Recently, we ran through the full slate of future financial commitments teams have made to MLB players. As I explained throughout that series of posts, there are several different ways to look at salaries. Since the purpose of this exercise is to see where teams stand as we enter a period of massive uncertainty in the player market, we utilized actual cash still due beyond the 2020 campaign. That includes signing bonuses, deferred money, and money owed to since-traded players.

Every individual team’s breakout can be found atthis link. Little has changed since, with one notable exception: the sizable Mookie Betts deal now resides on the Dodgers’ balance sheet. It’s reflected in the charts below.Now, we can put it all together to see how every team stacks up around the game. There’s over$7B in total future commitments tallied here. We’ll break it out in several ways (all charts in millions of dollars).

This chart shows total future MLB guaranteed contract commitments, in the aggregate.

2021 $4,146.86
2022 $3,459.90
2023 $3,069.35
2024 $2,730.37
2025 $2,464.12
2026+ $1,378.47
Total $7,134.08

And here we have each team’s total future commitments. These numbers would look different if we applied a discount rate, of course. Some teams with longer-fuse commitments (the Brewers and Dodgers, for example) would come out looking lighter. But there’s no single correct discount rate to apply, particularly in times as uncertain as these. So we’ll stick with a simple tally.

Rank Team Total
1 Angels $651.00
2 Yankees $612.00
3 Dodgers $533.36
4 Nationals $488.68
5 Phillies $488.50
6 Padres $396.00
7 Red Sox $355.85
8 Rockies $337.50
9 White Sox $317.75
10 Brewers $299.30
11 Reds $290.88
12 Astros $254.79
13 Cardinals $230.75
14 Cubs $228.50
15 Braves $204.53
16 Mets $201.00
17 Diamondbacks $166.43
18 Twins $154.02
19 Giants $129.15
20 Blue Jays $122.07
21 Mariners $115.45
22 Orioles $106.00
23 Tigers $102.00
24 Rangers $101.50
25 Rays $101.17
26 Indians $40.65
27 Royals $38.75
28 Athletics $37.00
29 Pirates $15.25
30 Marlins $14.25

The most interesting way to look at the numbers is to examine all the teams’ commitments in the same chart, by year. But that’s also tough to present in a legible manner. You’ll have to click on these to see all the details.

First, the top 15 teams by total commitments (link to expand):

And now the bottom 15 teams (link to expand):

Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson left their game against the Indians on Friday with right calf tightness, per Do-Hyoung Park of He’s day-to-day.

While we don’t know if this is a serious injury, it’s worth noting that right calf problems have troubled Donaldson in the past. They played a part in limiting the former AL MVP to just 52 games in 2018 between the Blue Jays and Indians. That was a contract year for Donaldson, who still scored a one-year, $23MM deal with the Braves in the ensuing offseason. He stayed healthy in Atlanta last season, batted .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs in 659 plate appearances, and then joined the Twins on a four-year, $92MM pact over the winter.

So far, the 34-year-old Donaldson has batted a paltry .182/.296/.318 with one homer in 27 PA as a Twin, though one can’t draw conclusions from such a small sample size. The Twins are certainly counting on Donaldson to be a major force in their lineup this season and during coming years. If he does miss time as a result of this injury, though, the Twins have other experienced third base options in Ehire Adrianza (who came in for Donaldson on Friday), Marwin Gonzalez, Luis Arraez and Miguel Sano on their 30-man roster.

Even though GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were incredibly successful atop the Astros, the club let them go last offseason in the wake of a sign-stealing scandal. Major League Baseball also came down hard on Luhnow and Hinch in suspending them for a year apiece, and it fined the Astros $5MM and took away their first- and second-round picks this summer and next.

Astros owner Jim Crane spoke about Luhnow, Hinch and stealing signs, among other topics, in a wide-ranging interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

In regards to Luhnow and Hinch, Crane said, You hate to see what happened to those guys because they didnt instigate this thing.” Nevertheless, Crane believed the Astros had no choice but to part with Luhnow and Hinch, who he hopes “get back in the business.”

The Astros negotiated a settlement on the remainder of Hinch’s contract, which ran through 2022, per Nightengale. They haven’t done so with Luhnow, whose deal went through 2023 and whom they fired for “just cause.” It’s possible the two sides will end up in court to settle the matter, according to Nightengale.

With the Luhnow/Hinch era in the rearview mirror, the club’s “sorry” about its misdeeds, said Crane, who guarantees “it will never happen again.” He also observed: I think (MLB)had a bigger problem than everybody realized. Two other teams (the Yankees and Red Sox)were doing things and got caught, but were the ones who took the bullet. Thats the way it works. Im not trying to blame anyone else. It was our problem. We dealt with it.”

The Yankees were fined for improper use of a dugout phone in 2017, but there’s no evidence that they ever engaged in stealing signs to the extent the Astros did. Meanwhile, the Red Sox lost a second-round pick this year and let go of manager and former Astros bench coach Alex Cora, whom the league suspended for a year, on account of their own sign-stealing violations from their World Series-winning 2018 campaign.

Before the Astros’ sign-stealing crimes became public information, they came under fire during the postseason last year when then-assistant GM Brandon Taubman taunted a group of women reporters, yelling, Thank God we got Osuna! Im so f glad we got Osuna! He was, of course, referring to closer Roberto Osuna, whom the Astros traded for in 2018 despite the fact that he was amid a 75-game domestic violence suspension at the time. The Astros then made the tone-deaf move of questioning the credibility of Sports Ilustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, who reported Taubman’s comments, only to fire Taubman shortly after that and apologize to Apstein.

Several months later, Crane is still not condemning Taubman. In his talk with Nightengale, Crane stated that Brandon Taubman didnt commit domestic violence. He just made a comment. Its nothing you can defend. He had a few cocktails. He was happy. There were people constantly coming at him over (Osuna), and he overreacted. Did he do the right thing? No. Everybody makes mistakes. But is he a good, genuine decent person and smart kid? Absolutely.”

Between the sign stealing and Taubman’s behavior, it would have been fair to question the Astros’ culture under their previous regime. Indeed, when commissioner Rob Manfred leveled punishment against the franchise, he concluded that the Astros had an insular culture issue. But Crane told Nightengale, We didnt have a culture problem. Theyre isolated incidents that are unrelated.”

Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman hasn’t debuted this year because of a tear in his left calf muscle, but the club’s No. 2 starter continues to make progress in his recovery. Stroman got through a four-inning simulated game unscathed on Friday, Tim Healey of Newsday relays.

Manager Luis Rojas said Stroman had “a very productive day,” though it remains unclear when the 29-year-old will be able to rejoin the Mets’ rotation.

Without Stroman, who’s facing a key year as a high-profile pending free agent, the Mets have turned to left-hander David Peterson to fill the void in their starting staff. That has gone well so far, as Peterson turned in 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a win over the Red Sox on Tuesday. As for the rest of New York’s rotation, back-to-back NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom has been his usual self thus far, and Steven Matz and Michael Wacha have prevented runs with aplomb through a combined three starts. However, Rick Porcello took a beating at the hands of the Braves in his first Mets start last Sunday. Porcello’s back on the mound in Atlanta on Friday.

Elsewhere on the Mets’ roster, the club has placed catcher Rene Rivera on the 10-day injured list with a hyperextended left (non-throwing) elbow and recalled righty Franklyn Kilome, per Healey. Rivera has joined Tomas Nido in starting one game behind the plate for the Mets this season, but the lion’s share of work has unsurprisingly gone to Wilson Ramos.

Rivera’s injury means the 25-year-old Kilome may get a chance to make his major league debut after working back from October 2018 Tommy John surgery. Kilome, whom the Mets acquired from the Phillies for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera just a few months before he underwent surgery, logged a 4.03 ERA/3.17 FIP with 9.95 K/9 against 2.37 BB/9 over 38 innings in his first action with the New York organization two years ago.

The Dodgers will activate star lefty Clayton Kershaw, manager Dave Roberts told reporters including’s Ken Gurnick (Twitter link). He’ll make his season debut on Sunday.

Kershaw had been sidelined to this point with back tightness. That’s not necessarily a major concern in and of itself, but the surefire future Hall of Famer has had particular troubles in that area over the years.

Thankfully, it seems this flare-up was a minor one. Kershaw, 32, has rather clearly declined in recent years. He was nevertheless capable of spinning 178 1/3 innings of 3.03 ERA ball in 2019.

4:29pm:Teams have been issued a memo with new regulations, Scott Miller of Bleacher Report reports (Twitterlinks), including the requirement of a compliance officer who will monitor on and off-field personnel decisions.

The league investigated the Marlins situation, Miller adds. It determined that the club was “very lapse” in avoiding settings with a greater risk of transmission.

MLB also announced its most recent testing results. Twenty players and nine staff members have tested positive in the past week. Twenty-one of those positive results came from one organization, which is obviously by this point known to be the Marlins.

4:05pm:It sounds as if there’s serious contemplation of a potential end to the just-launched 2020 MLB campaign. Per Jeff Passan of, commissioner Rob Manfred informed MLBPA chief Tony Clark that the league could halt the campaign if problematic recent developments aren’t turned around.

While this could and may yet become a contentious matter, it doesn’t sound as if the message was intended as a threat. Passan labels it, instead, as a “reality check” for the sport. Both owners and players would obviously suffer financially if the season is punted.

The concerns are by now well-known. More than half of the Marlins’ active roster has come down with COVID-19 and the team isn’t playing presently. The Phillies are also on ice since they recently played the Miami org. And now two members of the Cardinals have tested positive.

It sounds as if the commissioner’s office could contemplate a cancellation or pause as soon as Monday. The hope is that the Marlins-related outbreak will be contained and that the Cards won’t have further positive tests. The worst-case scenario would be for members of still other organizations to come down with infections.

It seems there’s also a broader concern with the way players are behaving on and off the field — with some government officials evidently conveying issues to the league. Rule-breaking behavior captured on cameras doesn’t make for a good look, though in many cases it’s not especially risky for transmission. But it sounds as if league officials have identified high-risk actions occurring elsewhere in the ballpark and away from the field of play.

There’s ample blame to go around for this situation. Player responsibility is an easy target, and may well be at play in some cases, but there’s far more to it than that. Travel poses obvious transmission opportunities, even for those that strictly adhere to protocols. And the Marlins-Phillies fiasco — in which informally ascertained player sentiment was inexplicably allowed to drive decisionmaking — shows that there have been leadership and planning failures from the highest levels of the league on down.

Of course, the largest factor in the difficulty of pulling off a season isn’t really in the control of Manfred, Clark, or any of those they’re paid to lead. With tens of thousands of Americans testing positive every day, and many more surely coming down with uncounted infections, it’s awfully difficult to keep the virus from infiltrating traveling baseball teams and/or the many people involved in staging games.

Orioles hurler Kohl Stewart has opted out of the 2020 season, the team announced. He will receive his salary and service time because he was in a heightened risk category.

As Stewart discussed in a statement, he has type 1 diabetes. He says he’s at least pausing his participation. O’s manager Brandon Hyde made clear that the team supports his decision.

This was surely a tough call for the 25-year-old. While he was once a #4 overall draft pick, Stewart washed out with the Twins and entered the season hoping for a fresh start after the O’s signed him to a minor-league deal over the offseason. He started the season on the active roster but had not yet appeared in game action.

Stewart has been added to MLBTR’s list of players that have opted out of the 2020 season.

JULY 31: The club has announced the signing. Rodney will go to the team’s alternative training site.

JULY 28:The Astros are nearing a deal with veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney, Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610 in Houston reports. The Octagon client is currently playing for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, and the Astros have been negotiating a buyout of that arrangement. The deal is till pending a physical for Rodney,’s Brian McTaggart tweets.

Rodney, now 43 years of age, would join his 12th MLB club if he ultimately gets into a big league game with the Astros. The longtime late-inning reliever split the 2019 season between the A’s and Nationals, struggling with the former but serving as a steadying presence in what had been a tumultuous bullpen with the latter. Rodney has a reputation for making any given appearance a rather adventurous outing, but his overall body of work with the World Champion Nationals was solid. In 33 1/3 frames, he logged a 4.05 ERA with 9.5 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9 and a 48.3 percent ground-ball rate. Rodney’s heater still averaged 94.2 mph with the Nats last year.

The Astros’ bullpen has some notable names at the back of the mix, including Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly, but the pitching staff on the whole lacks experience. That’s particularly true with Justin Verlander currently shelved. Other Astros arms on the sidelines include Brad Peacock (shoulder), Austin Pruitt (elbow), Rogelio Armenteros (elbow) and Jose Urquidy (no reason provided). Rodney would add some depth and experience to a pitching staff that right now is carrying an eye-opening seven rookies.

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