Wagner changes mind, agrees to join Red Sox

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Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reports that Billy Wagner changed his mind “after heavy lobbying by the Mets” and has agreed to accept a trade to the Red Sox.
As part of the deal the Mets will receive two players to be named later and the Red Sox have agreed to decline the $8 million option on Wagner for 2010 while retaining their right to offer him arbitration. By offering him arbitration Boston would be in line for draft pick compensation should Wagner leave as a free agent.
Wagner has made just two appearances since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery and likely won’t be available to work back-to-back games, but has definitely looked capable of making an impact down the stretch and perhaps into October. Assuming that the PTBNLs aren’t significant prospects the Red Sox basically spent a few million bucks to add a potential shutdown left-hander for what will probably be at most a dozen innings. Few teams can afford that luxury, but Boston is obviously one of them.
For the Mets, parting with Wagner is a no-brainer and getting a pair of even marginal prospects in return is just a bonus. Neither side had much interest in Wagner remaining in New York next season and there was no sense in paying millions to watch him pitch for a sub-.500 team down the stretch. There was a strong argument to be made for general manager Omar Minaya simply letting the Red Sox have Wagner when they claimed him off waivers, so he absolutely deserves credit for coaxing some added value out of the situation.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.