Dave Duncan could fix Chien-Ming Wang

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Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan
said Chien-Ming Wang, who was non-tendered by the Yankees on Saturday,
intrigues him as a free agent,
reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.



Wang likely won’t be able to
contribute until next May as he recovers from shoulder surgery, and he
hasn’t pitched a full season since 2007, but when his sinker is on,
Wang is one of the most dominant wormkillers in the game (60.1% career
groundball rate, though it has declined over the past two seasons).
That Duncan sees an opportunity to right Wang shouldn’t surprise anyone.




The Cardinals are currently preparing themselves for life after free agent Joel Pineiro. Under the
tutelage of Duncan, the 31-year-old right-hander was 15-12 with a 3.49
ERA and 1.14 WHIP in ’09, posting a career-best 60.5% groundball rate.
Pineiro didn’t just enjoy his best professional season in 2009, he was
a completely reformed pitcher, leading the majors with 448
groundballs and the National League with 29 double-play grounders. With
Brad Penny already under contract, there’s a strong possibility that
Pineiro signs a lucrative multi-year contract elsewhere.




Wang, who has a more-established
track record as a groundball pitcher, would be a cheap alternative to
Pineiro, even if he won’t contribute immediately. Common thinking is
that Wang will join Joe Torre in Los Angeles, but if he truly wants to
resurrect his career, St. Louis may be his best choice.

Watch: Mike Trout ties MLB record with his 25th home run

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It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:

In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.

Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.

Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.

Blue Jays acquire Tom Koehler from Marlins

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The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.

The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.

Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.