Quick hits: Hanson's debut, Halladay's 10th win

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– Tommy Hanson didn’t allow a hit over the first 3 1/3 innings
of his major league debut against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, but
he gave up seven runs — six of them earned — including three home
runs — two of them by Ryan Braun — after that. The strapping
right-hander fanned five and walked one over six innings and thanks to
a three-run eighth inning by the Braves, he was taken off the hook.

– Roy Halladay became the first pitcher in baseball to reach 10 wins
against the Royals on Sunday. He struck out six in a complete game
shutout and now has a 2.52 ERA to go along with a stingy 1.02 WHIP.

– In an excellent piece
by Tim Kurkjian for ESPN.com, we learn that Princeton graduate Ross
Ohlendorf wrote his thesis on the top 100 picks from the 1989 to 1993
Amateur drafts to determine the value of the picks. He found that on
average, the player brought twice the return.

– Mariano Rivera would have preferred to pitch to Evan Longoria
instead of intentionally walking him on Saturday, but he got him to
ground out to secure his 13th save in a 4-3 comeback win over the Rays on Sunday. The Yankees plated three in the eighth inning to push ahead.

– Livan Hernandez hurled seven scoreless innings
in a 7-0 win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon. With the win, he
moved to 5-1 with a surprising 3.88 ERA through 11 starts this season.

– Clete Thomas connected for an eighth-inning go-ahead grand slam — the first of his career– in a 9-6 win over the Angels on Sunday.

– According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Indians have yet to decide
if they will be buyers or sellers mode as the trade deadline
approaches. The Indians currently find themselves seven games behind
the first-place Tigers.

– And finally, D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin put the kibosh on fireworks at Nationals Park.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.