Nationals express interest in Astros' Oswalt

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oswalt sitting.jpgBill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals have expressed interest in trading for Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt, who requested a trade last week.

The Nats are off to their best start since 2005 with a 22-22 record, but that might not be enough to attract the 32-year-old Oswalt.  He’s aiming to hook up with a contender and try for a World Series ring, and his no-trade clause will allow him to pick and choose from a variety of interested teams.  It would be a shock if he’s traded before the end of May (or even June) and plenty of other contending clubs are expected to dial the number of Nats GM Mike Rizzo before this saga is through.

That said, it does make some sense.  Stephen Strasburg is shooting his way through the Nationals’ farm system and it would be fantastic to have a stand-up veteran like Oswalt in the clubhouse to keep the kid grounded and focused. 

Oswalt has a lousy 2-6 record this season through nine starts despite an ERA of 2.66 and a WHIP of 1.07.  He has also fanned 60 batters in 61 innings for the Astros, who are in last place in the NL Central.

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.