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MLB News and Notes: June 21, 2019

Edwin Encarnacion Traded To Yankees

In one of the first major moves of the summer, the New York Yankees added to their power supply by trading for first baseman and designated hitter, Edwin Encarnacion. On the season, Encarnacion is hitting .238/.355/.535 with 23 home runs, 53 runs batted in and 53 runs scored. For a team that already has the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, and others, it is an abundance of riches for one of the best offenses in baseball. Granted, they have struggled to keep all of their big bats in the lineup, but when right, this offense is loaded top to bottom and is one of the most feared power teams in the league, particularly playing in their ballpark.

Expect the Yankees to continue to peruse the trade market looking for help in their starting rotation, the one element that some say is a little bit weaker. With the addition of Encarnacion and the return of some of their premier outfielders, they have a major trade chip in Clint Frazier now available to dangle. On the season, Frazier is hitting .283/.330/.513 with 11 home runs, 34 runs batted in and 25 runs scored, but was sent down to the minors as there was a roster crunch with the return of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton from the injured list.

Dallas Keuchel Makes First MLB Start

After a few weeks in the minors, Dallas Keuchel made his Atlanta Braves debut on Friday against the Washington Nationals. In 5 innings, Keuchel allowed 8 hits and 4 runs (3 earned), while striking out 3. He also went 0 for 1 with a walk at the plate (something he has not had to do consistently since his rookie season). Still, it was not an awful showing for a pitcher that is still trying to knock the rust off after such an extensive offseason, one that went almost halfway into the season. He also beat Craig Kimbrel, who also did not sign until after the draft, to the majors as Kimbrel is still getting ready in the minors for the Chicago Cubs.

Collective Bargaining Talks Starting Early

In what should be seen as a good sign, Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association have agreed to go back to the bargaining table despite the current agreement existing through the 2021 season. Still, between issues like teams tanking and cutting payroll, trying to hold players down in the minors to manipulate service time, pace of play concerns and other issues, tensions have boiled to a really high level over the last few years. Even though some of the bigger issues may take some time to hammer out, it certainly is nice to see the two sides willing to talk so as to avoid a work stoppage come 2021, something that the sport desperately wants and needs to avoid for the sake of their fans.

Rays Could Look To Split Time In Canada

On Thursday, it was announced that Major League Baseball is allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to look at the opportunity to split time between the cities of Tampa Bay and Montreal. While the mayor and city do not seem to be on board with this, it does seem like a way for the Rays to look at alternatives as their attendance is consistently low and there is a struggle to get the support to build a new stadium. If this were to transpire, it would be interesting to see how the Player’s Association would react to it as some former players took to social media to express concerns over issues like travel, family life, dual residences, and other worries. Regardless, it is interesting that it seems Major League Baseball understands the problems facing Tampa Bay, so much so that they are considering bringing baseball to a city that lost its franchise about fifteen years ago.

Cody Allen Released, Drawing Interest

Cody Allen has been released by the Los Angeles Angels after pitching to the tune of a 0-2 record, 6.26 ERA and 1.91 WHIP over the span of 23 innings. In that time he had 29 strikeouts versus 20 walks and 4 saves for the Angels. Allen had signed a one-year deal over the winter for the Angels, but the righty struggled out of the gate for the Angels. Still, despite his struggles, reports indicate that several teams are looking at him as a quality bullpen arm is still certainly in high demand. It would not be surprising to see him sign sooner than later with another club.

Frankie Montas Suspended

On Friday, Major League Baseball announced that Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher Frankie Montas has been suspended 80 games for the use of performance enhancing drugs. More specifically, he was suspended for using Ostarine, which is on the MLB’s banned substance list. The Oakland A’s, who sit just a game out of a wild-card spot, will miss Montas in the rotation. Thus far this season, Montas is 9-2 in 15 games with a 2.70 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. In 90 innings, he has allowed 80 hits, 27 earned runs, 7 home runs and has struck out 97 versus 21 walks. As much as the suspension will hurt the A’s, Montas will also be ineligible for postseason play if the A’s were to make it there.

Also getting suspended on Friday, albeit for only 4 games, was Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera was ejected from a game on Thursday and after being ejected, threw equipment on to the field, one of which hit umpire Bill Miller. Cabrera does plan to appeal the suspension, but after the Umpire’s Association strongly “tweeted” against the suspension handed down to Manny Machado for his tirade earlier in the week, you can certainly bet they will have their eye on the outcome of this appeal as well.

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