The last week in MLB was about a team in the National League declining to deal one of their best players last season, a starting pitcher in the American League will be sidelined for the entire 2019 season, and a catcher decides to retire.
Washington Nationals Ownership Declined Deal to Trade Outfielder Bryce Harper
The Washington Nationals had a deal in place to send outfielder Bryce Harper to the Houston Astros on July 30, but the Nationals ownership declined the deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 10, 2018
The Astros would have sent right-handed pitcher J.B. Bukauskas and two other minor league players to the Nationals. Catcher Garrett Stubbs could have been included in the deal as well.
Bukauskas was the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft but was injured for the first three months of last season due to a slipped disc in his thoracic spine.
He was solid after returning, by producing a 2.14 ERA in 59 innings.
Stubbs was an eighth-round pick in 2015, who accumulated a .310 batting average and .836 OPS in 84 games at Triple-A last year.
The interesting part regarding this nixed deal by the Nationals is they will only receive a compensatory pick after the fourth round of next year’s MLB draft once Harper declines the $17.9 million qualifying offer.
The Astros deal would have been very beneficial for the Nationals in the long-term.
At the time the deal was agreed upon on July 30, the Nats were 53-52, 5 ½ back in the National League East.
They had underperformed at that juncture of the season and expecting them to turn things around wasn’t going to happen.
The Nationals did make an offer to Harper on the last day of the regular season, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Nationals’ offer to Bryce Harper was roughly $300 million for 10 years — so an AAV of $30 million — according to multiple people familiar with it. No opt outs.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) November 7, 2018
Harper did reject the contract offer as he’s looking for a bigger deal.
The interesting part about the deal is there was no inclusion of an opt-out clause or a no-trade clause. It was a nice offer, but Harper is expected to sign with another team.
The Nationals ownership should have agreed to the deal with the Astros, and then take their chances with re-signing Harper in free agency.
Houston Astros Starting Pitcher Lance McCullers Out 2019 Season Due to Tommy John Surgery
The Houston Astros will be short one starting pitcher going into next season as Lance McCullers will be sidelined for the 2019 campaign, as he underwent Tommy John surgery last week, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Tough news on #Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. who underwent Tommy John surgery today, and will be out until 2020.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 6, 2018
The right-hander was solid last year for the Astros, by compiling a 3.86 ERA in 128 1/3 innings (22 starts) with 142 strikeouts, 50 walks issued, 12 home runs surrendered and a 3.50 FIP.
McCullers was out for much of the second half of last season due to a forearm strain and returned to pitch five innings in the postseason.
McCullers’ agent, Scott Boras, revealed earlier this week the pitcher knew he needed surgery in August but decided to delay the operation and pitch through the injury to help the Astros in the postseason.
Boras informed Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle that Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery on McCullers, told the pitcher he could only throw “an inning.”
“You’re not going to want to throw the second inning because it’s going to hurt that bad,” ElAttrache said to the pitcher, per Boras.
The Astros starting rotation depth has taken a hit with both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton entering free agency and the injury to McCullers.
The club has been in contact with the Seattle Mariners regarding a trade for left-handed pitcher James Paxton, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
#Astros on list of teams talking to #Mariners about a trade for LHP James Paxton, sources say. Market described as “active,” including HOU, NYY and a wide variety of other clubs. Paxton in his career against HOU: 2.89 ERA in 71 2/3 innings, .605 opponents’ OPS.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 11, 2018
Minnesota Twins Catcher Joe Mauer Announces Retirement
Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has announced his retirement from baseball.
Joe epitomizes class and integrity. He’s done everything right – and treated everybody right – since the day his career began. Thank you #7 https://t.co/2W9LHEzp1f
— Rocco Baldelli (@roccodbaldelli) November 11, 2018
Mauer was expected to be a free agent this offseason after finishing the last year of an eight-year, $184 million contract he signed with the Twins in 2010.
He was an everyday catcher until 2013 when concussions forced him to transition to first base.
Mauer spent his entire 15-year career with the Twins after the team drafted him first overall in 2001.
He won the 2009 American League MVP while accumulating a .306 career average with 2,123 hits, 143 home runs, 428 doubles, and 923 RBIs in 1,858 games.
He also appeared in six All-Star games, won five Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves and is the only catcher in MLB history with three batting titles, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Joe Mauer has decided to retire after 15 seasons.
He is the ONLY catcher in MLB history with 3 batting titles. pic.twitter.com/cT0sRrut6S
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 9, 2018
Mauer has a compelling Hall of Fame case as he was a great hitter and solid behind the plate.
The concussions suffered late in his career prevented Mauer from being a catcher in the last several seasons with the Twins, but he still deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown several years down the road.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 10, 2018