* Chico Harlan of the Washington Post speculates that Nationals manager Manny Acta’s job is in danger after general manager Mike Rizzo tip-toed around the issue yesterday.
I’m an Acta fan because he’s engaging and interested in sabermetrics,
but he’s also 145-227 (.390) as Nationals skipper and the team has lost
15 of 17 games on the way to an MLB-worst 13-36 record.
* Jeremy Bonderman made his third minor-league rehab start last night at Triple-A,
totaling five strikeouts and zero walks over eight shutout innings.
However, his fastball was clocked at 88-90 miles per hour compared to
Bonderman’s pre-injury average of 92-94 mph.
* Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports
that “there is almost zero chance” of the Yankees re-signing impending
free agent Hideki Matsui “even if he were to finish with a strong
season.” Matsui is hitting .263/.347/.487 in 44 games and turns 35
years old next week.
* The poor Gatorade machine that Carlos Zambrano went berserk on last week has been designated for assignment by the Cubs.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.