Injury Notes: Mariners, Twins, Reds, Dodgers

Mariners outfielder/infielder Dylan Moore is done for the season as a result of a concussion, the team announced. Moore suffered the injury when he took a pitch off the helmet on Monday, ending what was a terrific campaign for the 28-year-old. Moore batted .255/.358/.496 with eight home runs and 12 stolen bases over 159 plate appearances in 2020.

  • Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi will “probably” be on their wild-card series roster, per manager Jake Odorizzi (via Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com). Odorizzi has been on the IL since Sept. 19 with a blister on his right middle finger. This is the third IL stint of the year for Odorizzi, who previously dealt with back and chest issues. As a result, the Twins – who gave him a $17.8MM qualifying offer last winter – have only gotten 13 2/3 innings of 6.59 ERA pitching from Odorizzi this season. Nevertheless, they’re on their way to a second straight playoff berth.
  • Reds left-hander Wade Miley, on the IL with a shoulder strain since Aug. 28, is “pretty close to 100 percent,” according to manager David Bell (via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The playoff-contending Reds are likely to use Miley out of the bullpen if he is able to return this year, Nightengale relays. Signed to a two-year, $15MM contract last winter, Miley has made four starts and thrown 12 1/3 innings of 6.57 ERA ball in a Cincinnati uniform. Fortunately for the team, its rotation has still been among the league’s best because of the work of Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle.
  • The Dodgers scratched third baseman Justin Turner from their game against the Athletics on Tuesday because of left hamstring discomfort, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com tweets. The Dodgers said the move was precautionary, but it’s worth noting that Turner missed a couple weeks earlier this month with a left hamstring strain. So, this latest issue could be a concern for the Dodgers as they approach the playoffs.

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Cardinals Outright Rob Kaminsky

Left-hander Rob Kaminsky, whom the Cardinals designated for assignment Sept. 16, has cleared waivers and will remain with the organization, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Kaminsky was a first-round pick (No. 28) for the Cardinals in 2013, but he is already in his second stint with the franchise. The Cardinals traded Kaminsky to the Indians in 2015 for slugger Brandon Moss, but the Redbirds brought the hurler back before 2020 on a minor league contract.

The 26-year-old Kaminsky made the first five MLB appearances of his career earlier this season and gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings. Kaminsky logged a 60 percent groundball rate over that small sample of work, and he has always posted high GB rates in the minors. Despite that, Kaminsky struggled to a 5.11 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in a 24 2/3-inning Triple-A debut with the Indians last season.

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Andrelton Simmons Opts Out Of Remainder Of Season

6:01pm: The Angels have placed Simmons on the restricted list and selected infielder Elliot Soto in a corresponding move. Soto, whom the Angels signed to a minor league contract last offseason, is a former Cubs, Marlins and Rockies farmhand who has batted .272/.346/.389 in 1,323 Triple-A plate appearances.

5:29pm: Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons announced Tuesday that he has opted out of the remainder of the season.

“At this moment, I feel this is the best decision for me and for my family,” Simmons said in part to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Simmons’ decision comes amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns that have caused others to opt out, though the 31-year-old has played the majority of the 2020 campaign. He spent time on the injured list with a sprained left ankle but has otherwise appeared in 30 games and slashed a respectable .297/.346/.356 in 127 plate appearances. That represents a nice bounce-back effort by Simmons, who was unable to complement his superlative defense with a decent offensive showing during an injury-limited 2019.

Of course, considering he’s a pending free agent, Simmons’ time with the out-of-contention Angels may be over. He originally joined the Angels in a trade with the Braves prior to the 2016 season, and while Simmons has been quite successful since then (15.5 fWAR in 2,281 plate appearances), the Angels haven’t gone to the playoffs since they acquired him.

Going forward, the Angels could try to re-sign Simmons or even issue him a qualifying offer before potentially losing him in free agency during the upcoming offseason. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him reach the open market unfettered. Simmons is on track to join Marcus Semien and Didi Gregorius as the best shortstops available in free agency.

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Athletics Outright Daniel Mengden

The Athletics have outrighted hurler Daniel Mengden after he cleared waivers, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com was among those to report.

The A’s previously designated the right-handed Mengden for assignment Sept. 20, which came a little over a month after his most recent appearance on Aug. 18. Mengden threw 12 1/3 innings of five-run ball earlier this year, but he spent time on the COVID-19 injured list before the A’s designated him.

Now 27, Mengden debuted in 2016 and emerged as a respectable piece of the A’s staff the next season. In fact, from 2017-18, Mengden combined for a 3.80 ERA/4.57 FIP with 5.73 K/9 and 1.99 BB/9 over 158 2/3 innings and 29 appearances (24 starts). Mengden’s output has dropped since that two-year stretch, though, largely because of a major increase in walk rate. He has issued 4.25 free passes per nine, logged 6.5 K/9 and posted a 4.63 ERA/4.85 FIP over 72 innings since 2019.

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Yankees Select Tyler Lyons

The Yankees have selected left-hander Tyler Lyons, placed right-hander Ben Heller on the 60-day injured list with a biceps nerve issue and optioned righty Michael King, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com tweets.

Lyons has been a member of the New York organization since August 2019, but he only threw 8 2/3 innings as a Yankee a year ago and hasn’t pitched for them this season. That said, the 32-year-old – a former Cardinal and Pirate – has been a fairly successful reliever in the majors, where he has logged a 4.20 ERA/4.04 FIP with 9.26 K/9 and 2.85 BB/9 in 281 innings. He could now factor into a Yankees bullpen that has a pair of higher-profile southpaws in Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton.

Heller, meanwhile, has been a Yankee since they acquired him from the Indians as part of a trade for southpaw Andrew Miller in 2016. Heller hasn’t seen much action in the majors since then (31 1/3 innings), but he did throw six frames of two-run ball this year before his season came to an end.

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Multiple Reports Link Angels To Dave Dombrowski

Angels general manager Billy Eppler is in the final season of his contract, and with the Angels assured of a fifth straight losing season, multiple reports have linked the team to veteran executive Dave Dombrowski as a potential replacement. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal calls the Halos the “most likely” team to make a switch at GM, adding that Dombrowski is the most frequently mentioned replacement option. Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes that the “widely held belief” is that the Angels are in for yet another front-office regime change and that the “industry consensus” is that owner Arte Moreno will pursue Dombrowski.

It’s been five years since Eppler took over for Jerry Dipoto, who resigned from his post in the wake of a highly publicized rift with then-manager Mike Scioscia. Los Angeles has yet to return to the postseason or even put together a winning record in that time. Instead of postseason wins built around the game’s best player, Mike Trout, much of the focus has been on the Angels’ perennial struggles to keep an underachieving pitching staff healthy enough to take the mound.

Since Eppler took the helm, the Angels rank 23rd among MLB teams in rotation ERA (4.74), 27th in FIP (4.84) and 29th in overall innings pitched. Angels starters have tallied just 3490 1/3 innings over those five seasons — a mark trailed only by a Rays club that has used openers more aggressively than any team in the Majors. The trade to acquire Dylan Bundy looks superlative at the moment, but most of the other attempts to patch the rotation have fizzled. Free agents Julio Teheran, Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum didn’t bear fruit. Landing Shohei Ohtani was a clear feather in Eppler’s cap, but Ohtani has been far more impactful at the plate than on the mound thanks to numerous injuries.

From acquiring Andrelton Simmons in his first winter on the job to Bundy this past offseason, Eppler has made his share of strong moves while controlling the Halos’ baseball ops outfit. However, the team is still in need of upgrades both in the rotation and bullpen. The salaries of Trout, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton weigh down next year’s payroll already, though the Pujols deal will finally be off the books post-2021. Supplementing the many holes on the roster could prove difficult with $118MM already on the books and a sizable arbitration class. Whether Eppler will make those additions seems cloudy at best.

Hiring Dombrowski or any other experienced front office exec would be something of a departure from the norm, Shaikin points out. The Angels’ past three GMs have all been rookies — Eppler, Dipoto and Tony Reagins — and each had something less than 100 percent autonomy over baseball operations decisions. It is well documented that Moreno spearheaded the team’s acquisitions of Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Vernon Wells, and Shaikin adds that it was Moreno who made the decision to dump Brad Ausmus (Eppler’s chosen skipper) after just one season in order to pursue Joe Maddon.

Dombrowski, of course, knows plenty about putting together win-now rosters with an “at all costs” mentality, as evidenced by a lengthy run of contending Tigers clubs and his quick World Series win with the Red Sox. In both instances, Dombrowski had an owner who was willing to spend money and sacrifice young talent for short-term gains on the trade market. That seems likely to be the position in which the Angels find themselves this winter, as pressure to win will build considerably following a six-year playoff drought.

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Reds Activate Sonny Gray, Designate Nate Jones

The Reds have activated righty Sonny Gray from the 10-day injured list, the team announced.  Gray is scheduled to start tonight’s game against the Brewers.  To create roster space, right-hander Nate Jones has been designated for assignment.

A back strain sent Gray to the injured list on September 13 (retroactive placement to September 11), though fortunately for Gray and the Reds, the injury looks to have been a relatively minor one.  Gray is now also lined up to start Sunday in what would be Cincinnati’s final game of the regular season, though that game is likely to be an all-hands-on-deck type of situation if the Reds need to win to clinch a playoff spot.

Heading into today’s action, the 28-27 Reds hold the seventh seed as a wild card in the NL postseason field, but the Brewers and Giants aren’t far behind at 26-27, with the eighth-seed Phillies sandwiched in between with an even 28-28 record.  Cincinnati is also chasing the 26-25 Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, which guaranteed an automatic playoff berth.

Ironically, the Reds have gone 9-2 since Gray was retroactively placed on the IL, though there is no doubt he represents a major addition for Cincy down the stretch.  Gray has a 3.94 ERA, 11.8 K/9, and 2.86 K/BB rate over 45 2/3 innings this season, with ERA indicators (2.92 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, 3.80 SIERA) generally showing that Gray’s 3.94 number is a bit inflated.

Jones struck out 23 batters and recorded a strong 3.83 K/BB rate over his 18 2/3 relief innings this season, but an ugly 2.4 HR/9 was largely responsible for Jones’ 6.27 ERA.  On the plus side, the oft-injured Jones did stay healthy this year after missing much of 2019 due to forearm surgery, though he was obviously hoping for better performance for his hometown team.  Jones signed a minor league deal with the Reds last winter.

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