Winter meetings extras: Soriano, Rule 5 draft, Patterson

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*The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Dave O’Brien believes the Braves and Rays could finalize a Rafael Soriano deal on Thursday.
The Braves figure to get a decent prospect here, but the quality will depend on whether they’re willing to throw in a couple of million to help out with Soriano’s still undetermined salary, which presumably will be around $8 million. Soriano should move right into the closer’s role for Tampa Bay, allowing J.P. Howell to return to setup duties.
*The Washington Times reports that the Nationals will take Zach Kroenke from the Yankees with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft and then send him back to the Bombers to complete the Brian Bruney trade.
The Yankees must think they completely blew it when they left Kroenke available for the draft. The 25-year-old southpaw had a 1.99 ERA in 72 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, though that came with a modest 55/30 K/BB ratio. The odd thing about this is that Kroenke will still have to pass through waivers if he fails to make the Yankees out of spring training. However, with Phil Coke gone, he may have a real chance of winning a bullpen spot.
*The Mariners agreed to terms with Corey Patterson on a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Patterson may or may not fit the defense-first mentality of the new Mariners regime, depending on what you want to believe. That he was once an elite defensive center fielder is undeniable, but the numbers rated him merely average in 2007 and ’08. Of course, he spent almost all of last season in Triple-A, hitting .292/.333/.478 in 387 at-bats. He went 3-for-29 with 13 strikeouts in limited action for the Brewers. It’s doubtful he’ll make the Mariners out of spring training.

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.