The White Sox sweep the Braves, surge toward the top of the AL Central

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The White Sox completed a three-game sweep of your humble scribe’s Atlanta Braves today, winning 2-0 behind seven shutout innings from Gavin Floyd and a shutdown performance from Putz and Jenks. Floyd allowed only two hits and the Braves had only three baserunners the whole game in what looked and felt like your typical 2:17 getaway day special from the Bravos.

But I’ll have plenty of time to cry over the Braves later. The story today is the White Sox, who have now won nine straight games and — thanks to the Twins getting dropped by the Brewers once again this afternoon — now sit a mere two and a half games back.

The AL Central looks like it’s gonna be a wild one all summer, kiddos, so strap yourselves in.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.