It's been a fun and busy Sunday, so let's get a quick status check on the comings and goings.
• According to Fox Sports Arizona, the Trevor Bauer watch is just about over. The 21-year-old phenom is expected to be recalled in time for Thursday's start at Atlanta. Assuming the schedule holds, Bauer would have two home starts the following week, up against the Padres and Dodgers. Joe Saunders is the odd man out in the rotation.
Bauer's pedigree should be well-known to fantasy owners by now. He was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft and zipped through the minors quickly. He was 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 1.22 WHIP at Double-A Mobile earlier this year. He had a 2.79 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in seven Triple-A starts, not including his abbreviated turn Sunday.
Bauer's strikeout potential makes him worth grabbing immediately in most medium and deep mixers; he piled up 111 punchouts over his first 90.1 innings this year. But the control is going to be a work-in-progress; Bauer will probably have a high walk rate and he might have trouble lasting more than six innings per start. I'm figuring his ERA will be in the mid-to-high 3s and the WHIP could be 1.30 or higher, but again, for the strikeout potential, you might as well take a spin.
Kiss Him Goodbye (USP)• Frank Francisco (oblique) hit the disabled list Sunday, and the Mets have already endorsed Bobby Parnell as the stand-in closer. Parnell seems to have the raw stuff to handle the assignment: 3.30 ERA, a strikeout per inning, just 2.4 walks per nine, a nifty ground-ball rate (54.8 percent). He was asked to close last year with so-so results, but maybe that experience will help him now. If you're going to own anyone in this bullpen, he's the guy. Please don't bother with Jon Rauch.
• Everyone knew the Red Sox wanted to dump Kevin Youkilis as soon as possible, and the other cleat finally dropped Sunday. Youkilis was dispatched to the White Sox, along with the majority of Youkilis' remaining salary. Boston's haul back was modest — pitching prospect Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge. The Red Sox basically kicked Youkilis to the curb like a broken office chair.
A change of scenery will probably be good for Youkilis — he was the designated scapegoat in Boston and he wasn't popular with the players or media. But he's certainly going to miss the backdrop of Fenway Park. Youkilis owns a .303/.399/.508 career slash at home, compared to .270/.376/.465 on the road. His homer stats were just about the same; Fenway's a run-scoring environment, but it's not a homer-enhancing yard. Perhaps a summer of swings in the U.S. Cellular jet stream will do Youkilis some good.
[Related: Red Sox trade Kevin Youkilis to White Sox]
As we've been speculating for a while, Boston's Will Middlebrooks finally has a job to call his own. This is a $15-16 corner right away, someone worth dropping a name player over. Justin Morneau? Goodbye. Ryan Zimmerman? Hit the bricks. Middlebrooks probably won't keep the average over .300, but he'll be fine in that category and the power is legit. Boston's overall lineup is still elite, and perhaps Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford will boost things in the second half.
• Matt Capps has hit a setback with his sore shoulder, which reopens the Minnesota save chase. Lefty Glen Perkins picked up saves on Wednesday and Friday, and it was righty Jared Burton who got the handshake Sunday (after another Aroldis Chapman meltdown on the other side). Both Perkins and Burton have skill sets that could work well in the ninth; Perkins whiffs over 11 batters per nine innings, while Burton has a K/BB rate of 9.67 and a ground-ball clip of 48 percent. Burton also has that advantage of being right-handed, which can't be ignored. Your move, Ron Gardenhire.
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