The Giants lose their Merkin

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Look kids, a trade:  Reliever Merkin Valdez was just sent to Toronto for cash considerations. The Giants had DFA’d him to make room for Aubrey Huff.

Hard to believe that he’s only 28, because Valdez — who used to go by the name Manny Mateo — feels like he’s been around for years. I mean, the Braves traded him for Russ Ortiz back when people did things like trade for Russ Ortiz, if that tells you anything. Of course he hadn’t even really pitched yet at that point and the only reason his name sticks out to me — either name — is that I’m a Braves fans and there was a time when I obsessed on Braves prospects even more than I do now. Well, yeah, it also sticks out to me because I’m a man who is a fan of both juvenile humor and Stanley Kubrick movies.

And he was a decent prospect once upon a time. He played in the Futures Game between 2003 and 2005. Reportedly still has a live fastball. If he’s going to stick anywhere it’ll be on a team that is willing to try anything, which is more or less what the Blue Jays are these days.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.