The 2020 MLB season is only a week old, but the compact schedule doesn't allow for teams to wait if they feel a roster reshuffle on the fly is necessary.
Playoff expansion presents another variable in the equation. A 16-team postseason could entice general managers to be aggressive in search of upgrades, or they could take the opposite approach and stand pat since the barrier for entry is now far lower.
Not surprisingly, the MLB rumor mill pretty calm at the moment.
Nomar Mazara Working Toward Return
Nomar Mazara has yet to make his Chicago White Sox debut but appears to be nearing his first appearance for the team.
Chicago placed Mazara on the injured list in July without specifying his injury. Hoge reported the 25-year-old "is suspected to have tested positive for COVID-19" and added "it's still unclear how much time it will take to get him back."
Mazara made 116 appearances for the Texas Rangers in 2019, finishing with 19 home runs, 66 RBI and a .268/.318/.469 slash line. The Dominican Republic native was traded in December.
The impact of his absence had been compounded by that of Eloy Jimenez, who exited the lineup after colliding with the outfield wall during a 14-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. Jimenez returned in Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Cleveland Indians, going 0-for-3.
Mike Foltynewicz a Possible Trade Target?
The Atlanta Braves only needed to see 3.1 innings of work from Mike Foltynewicz in 2020 before designating the veteran right-hander for assignment.
The Athletic's David O'Brien wrote that fans probably haven't seen the last of Foltynewicz this year, writing that "it seems likely that one of several pitching-starved teams will make a trade offer."
The timing of Atlanta's move is surprising, but the warning signs were there before the 28-year-old took the mound Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Foltynewicz finished 2019 with a 4.97 FIP, his highest since 2015, per Baseball Reference. More concerning, his fastball velocity had fallen nearly two mph from 2018 (96.80) to 2019 (94.97), according to Brooks Baseball. In what is a small sample, that number was 90.93 mph on Monday.
"In a 60-game season during which the importance of each game is magnified, the Braves just weren't willing to wait for Foltynewicz to try to get straightened out and regain his fastball velocity," O'Brien wrote.
That justification makes plenty of sense. Having said that, Foltynewicz was an All-Star and finished eighth in the National League Cy Young voting in 2018. Exploring whether his first start was an aberration is worth the gamble for another team.
Marlins Signing Logan Forsythe
According to ESPN, another Miami Marlins player tested positive for COVID-19, bringing their total number of positive tests to 17 among active players.
MLB suspended the Marlins' season through Sunday because of the outbreak, but the team is in need of outside additions for when it returns to the diamond. Marlins beat writer Craig Mish reported the team is signing veteran infielder Logan Forsythe.
The Philadelphia Phillies released Forsythe this month.
The 33-year-old struggled at the plate in 2019. He finished with a .227/.325/.353 slash line in 101 games with the Texas Rangers. His defensive versatility will be of use to the Marlins given their current situation, though.
Here's Forsythe's positional breakdown from last season, per Baseball Reference:
- first base: 46 games
- third base: 33 games
- shortstop: 15 games
- second base: eight games
For now, Miami is scheduled to resume action Tuesday at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.