The Nationals received some devastating news about their big offseason pickup, while the Diamondbacks lost a former blockbuster acquisition of their own for the year on Saturday.
The Washington Nationals have been off to one of the hottest starts in baseball. Their pitching staff is solid and their offense is explosive. It seemed like nothing could slow them down— that is, until center fielder Adam Eaton suffered a torn ACL while running to first base in Friday’s game on Friday against the New York Mets and had to pulled from the game. He had to be helped off the field without placing any weight on his leg. Eaton had been excellent for the Nationals up until that point, as he had been setting the table for the middle of the order by posting a .297/.393/.462 slash line. He will now miss the rest of the season, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It’s a huge disappointment for the Nats to be losing Eaton for the year, as they had given up a huge haul to pry him from the Chicago White Sox and had high hopes for him to be a top-notch leadoff hitter. The Nats will call up speedster Rafael Bautista to the major leagues. The minor leaguer had swiped 56 stolen bases for Double-A Harrisburg in 2016 and had been posting a respectable .291/.325/.354 slash line with Triple-A Syracuse. He doesn’t hit for much power but has shown a knack for getting on base and being a pest on the basepaths. It remains unclear if Bautista will be able to handle everyday duties in the outfield, but the Nats have very little choice now. It’s a big blow for them to lose Eaton for the rest of the season, but the team will still push on and play for another NL East Division title. The Nationals still have plenty of dynamic hitters in their lineup to contend for the rest of the season. Losing Eaton hurts, but it is not a backbreaker for the team.
- The Nats’ biggest weakness thus far in the early season has been their bullpen. They simply lack quality or experienced relievers to pitch late innings and despite an offseason of them trying to find external solutions, they’ve gone with what they’ve had and the results haven’t been pretty. The team is already showing interest in some relievers on the trade market, including the likes of flamethrower Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals. Herrera represents the last piece of the Royals’ fearsome bullpen that helped take the team all the way and win the 2015 World Series. He has been given the closer’s job for the 2017 season, but the Royals are off to an early rough start and if they don’t turn things around soon, they will have to become sellers at the deadline. Herrera will certainly be one of their top trade chips. Should the Nats be able to swing a deal, it will mark the second consecutive trade deadline in which they have traded for an established closer.
- The Los Angeles Angels have sent lefty Tyler Skaggs to the 10-day DL to recover from a right oblique injury per a team announcement. The lefty suffered the injury in Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers. There is no timetable for when he will be able to return.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed third baseman David Freese on the 10-day DL due to hamstring soreness, per a club announcement. It remains unclear how serious his injury is, and the Pirates are clearly hoping to get him back as soon as possible because if he’s out for an extended time, then they’ll be thin in the corner infielder department.
- Arizona Diamondbacks righty Shelby Miller has in fact decided to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the torn UCL in his right arm, per Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com. He had reportedly said previously that he wouldn’t take too long to make a decision on his torn UCL and he has made good on his promise. He’ll miss the entire 2017 season and most likely miss a good chunk of the 2018 season.
- The Giants have taken another injury hit to their lineup. The team has placed Gold Glove shortstop Brandon Crawford on the 10-day DL with a right groin strain, per a club announcement. The shortstop left Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers after injuring his groin running the bases as he pinch-hit for pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The severity of his injury is not known yet.
- The Colorado Rockies are reportedly set to activate Ian Desmond from the DL for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, per Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Desmond hasn’t played a game in 2017 since fracturing his left hand during spring training. He is expected to start in left field and take over for Gerardo Parra. Desmond was supposed to play first base, but Mark Reynolds is off to too good of a start to be taken out of the lineup, thus making way for Desmond to play in the outfield.