- The Dodgers are continuing to monitor the balky elbow of star shortstop Corey Seager, as skipper Dave Roberts told reporters including MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick (Twitter links). While it still seems some sort of offseason procedure may be required, the joint is in “playable” condition. Dealing with the pain and preventing any compensation-related problems are surely some of the factors at play here; an injection, though, isn’t considered an option, Roberts notes.
- Chase Utley still enjoys playing but is realistic about the fact that his career is approaching its end, the veteran tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Utley said he has been approaching his career on a year-to-year basis, and acknowledging that while he still has the desire to play, “I know the market nowadays isn’t that friendly to older players. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But I feel personally there’s still plenty of ways I can contribute.” Utley turns 39 in December, and he entered the day with a .234/.324/.406 slash line in 328 PA for the Dodgers, which includes an .806 OPS in 162 PA at Dodger Stadium. While his days as an everyday player are over, Utley has been regarded as a major behind-the-scenes contributor, with teammates and coaches praising his clubhouse leadership.
- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says righty Brandon McCarthy will rejoin the club next weekend, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick writes. McCarthy has been out since late July with a blister issue. There won’t be space for McCarthy in the Dodgers’ crowded rotation (although Roberts isn’t ruling out the possibility McCarthy could start at some point), but there will in its crowded clubhouse — McCarthy will likely become the 40th active player on the Dodgers’ roster, and will pitch in relief. McCarthy has struggled to stay healthy this season, but has generally been effective when available, posting a 3.84 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 86 2/3 innings spanning 16 starts.
- Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren could be a favorite to take over the Mets managerial job in the likely event that the Mets part ways with Terry Collins. Geren was previously the Mets’ bench coach and is a favorite of Mets GM Sandy Alderson.
We previously checked in on the vesting option scenarios playing out around the game. In the interim, though, we learned of a previously unreported clause and also gathered quite a bit more information about which options will and will not vest.
Here’s where things stand with just two weeks to go:
- Greg Holland: It didn’t take long for the Rockies closer to finish thirty games, which triggered a clause that turned his $10MM mutual option into a $15MM player option. All indications are that Holland will spurn that payday (and the qualifying offer that will surely follow in close succession) to test the open market, but it affords him injury protection the rest of the way. Holland has already earned $9MM in bonus money. With six more games finished over the final two weeks of the season, he’d tack on another $2MM.
- Gio Gonzalez: After topping 180 frames in his most recent start, Gonzalez is now under contract for 2018 at $12MM. While he has hit a bit of a wall of late, that still looks like quite an appealing price for a pitcher that has worked to a 2.68 ERA on the year.
- Ian Kinsler: It was learned recently that Kinsler’s 2018 option actually has a somewhat convoluted vesting provision. He’s guaranteed to earn $11MM upon reaching 600 plate appearances. And if he takes home another Gold Glove award, he’ll earn another $1MM in 2018. The option is going to be picked up regardless, but the 35-year-old can make things official if he strides to the plate 49 more times between now and the end of the season. He’ll likely get there if he plays more or less every day over the next two weeks.
Will Not Vest
- Ricky Nolasco: It’s still theoretically possible that Nolasco can reach the 202 1/3 innings he needs to transform a $13MM club option into a player option, but with over forty to go that’s just not happening as a practical matter. Instead, he’ll likely receive a $1MM buyout on the option.
- Matt Cain: Cain is even more certain to receive a buyout; he’ll get a cool $7.5MM when the Giants say no to the alternative of paying $14MM more to keep him for another season. The veteran has compiled 119 1/3 innings of 5.66 ERA ball to this point, far shy of the volume or quality needed for that option to come into play. (It would have vested at 200 frames.)
- Hisashi Iwakuma: Though he needed only 125 innings for his $15MM vesting provision to be triggered, Iwakuma has managed just 31 to date and is still on the DL. Instead, the M’s will likely pay him a $1MM buyout rather than picking up his option at $10MM.
- Andre Ethier: Though he made it back from the DL, it was far too late for Ethier to lay claim to a $17.5MM salary for 2017. Since it’s impossible for him to make it to 550 plate appearances, he’ll instead receive a $2.5MM buyout when the Dodgers all but certainly decline the club option.
- Matt Garza: Garza will be controllable via a $5MM club option. He was not able to reach 110 total starts from 2014-17, so his option did not vest at $13MM. But he also did not miss 130 or more days of action on the DL this year, so he avoided a provision that would’ve left the Brewers with a $1MM option for 2018.
- J.J. Hardy: Also now back from the DL, Hardy returned far too late to reach the 600 plate appearances he’d have needed for a $14MM club option to become guaranteed. Instead, he’s destined to receive a $2MM buyout from the O’s this fall.
- The Dodgers have shut down reliever Adam Liberatore and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez for the season, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweets. A left elbow strain limited Liberatore to just four innings this year and has kept him from taking a major league mound since May 30. Gutierrez, meanwhile, has been on the shelf since June 25 with arthritis in his spine. He was on the disabled list earlier in the year with a hamstring strain, making this another injury-marred campaign for someone who hasn’t played 100 games in a season since 2010. After reviving his career in Seattle from 2015-16, the Dodgers inked Gutierrez to a $2.6MM contract over the winter, but the 34-year-old hit just .232/.317/.389 in 63 PAs this season.
- Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias underwent shoulder surgery to repair his left anterior capsule earlier this season, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes in his weekly NL Notes roundup that the procedure actually went better than expected. Per Heyman, Dr. Neal ElAttrache anticipates a full recovery for the highly touted 21-year-old, although Urias still appears to be facing a significant layoff. Dodgers president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman said at the time of the surgery (in late June) that a rehab period of 12 months was expected for Urias.
The Dodgers have designated righty Fabio Castillo for assignment, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group tweets. A 40-man roster spot was needed for the team’s activation of top pitching prospect Walker Buehler.
Castillo, 28, earned his first trip to the majors this year, though he made only two appearances over the weekend. He has spent most of the season pitching in the upper minors, working to a 4.04 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over 91 1/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Dodgers have selected the contract of infielder Charlie Culberson, per a club announcement and as J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group first reported on Twitter. Veteran righty Brandon McCarthy was placed on the 60-day DL to create roster space, though he’s still progressing through a rehab assignment and could also rejoin the active roster later this month. Culberson, 28, hasn’t seen the majors yet this year but has appeared in 182 total MLB games over parts of four seasons, including a brief stint with the Dodgers last year. (Indeed, Culberson made the roster for the NLDS.) At Triple-A, he carries a .250/.299/.336 slash over 414 plate appearances. Los Angeles is in need of some shortstop depth while the team lets Corey Seager rest his balky elbow.