Are the Phillies scouting Cliff Lee, or is it something else?

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There was some buzz around the Twitterverse late this morning about how the Phillies had sent a scout to watch Cliff Lee pitch against the Yankees last night.  Could they be trying to get in on that hot, hot Cliff Lee action?!

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says no:

What the heck would [Phillies top scout Charlie] Kerfeld have to check out Lee for? I mean, Lee
pitched for the Phillies a year ago, won two games in the World Series
and has gotten even better since. The Phils know all they have to about
Lee . . .I’m guessing the
Phils have more pressing needs for Kerfeld to be racking up hotel points
on. In fact, they do. It’s called second and third base.

Baker thinks it’s the Mariners’ infielder Jose Lopez that has piqued the Phillies’ interest, and that they’d like him as a means of filling the hole opened by Chase Utley and Placido Polanco’s injuries.

Makes sense to me.  A hell of a lot more sense than the Phillies chasing after Lee again. Which I don’t think Amaro would do simply because to do so would be to admit he made a mistake tading him in the first place, and big league execs don’t often do that, even if they should.

In other news, how hilarious is it that Charlie Kerfeld is the Phillies’ top scout? I don’t mean to trash the guy — I’m sure he’s great at what he does — but having watched the guy pitch and drink Busch Light and pour it all over Nolan Ryan’s head and everything back in the 80s, I didn’t think that one day he’d be a top lieutenant in well-run Major League front office. 

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.