Reliever Saito gets $3.2 million from Braves

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saito red sox.jpgTakashi Saito’s deal with the Braves is worth $3.2 million and includes $2.3 million in incentives, most of them based on games finished, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
That sounds about right to me. Saito’s stuff has shown signs of decline as a result of his elbow problems, but he still managed a 2.43 ERA in 55 2/3 innings for the Red Sox last season and he got better as the year went along. Of course, his WHIP has gone from 0.91 to 0.72 in his first two seasons with the Dodgers to 1.19 and 1.35 the last two, but his strikeout rate remains strong and he’s returning to the easier league now.
The Braves have essentially swapped two young injury-prone relievers in Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez for two much older ones in Billy Wagner and Saito. In the process, they’ve saved themselves somewhere around $5 million for 2010 and the necessity of multiyear commitments. Also, they’re going to end up gaining three draft picks. They lost a first-rounder for Wagner, but they’ll pick up four when Soriano and Gonzalez depart.
I think it’s a fair trade. Soriano and Gonzalez both have lengthy injury histories and are going to be very risky propositions on the three-year deals they could land this winter. An Atlanta bullpen with a top five of Wagner, Saito, Peter Moylan, Kris Medlen and Eric O’Flaherty still looks very good, and the Braves would currently have my vote for the title of the National League’s best pitching staff.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.