UPDATE, 10:28 PM: The Nationals’ official Twitter feed is now reporting that left-hander Joe Testa is also headed to Washington in the trade.
The 24-year-old posted a 1.96 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 82 innings at Single-A last season. He struggled a bit in his move to Double-A this year, but the lefty is still a valuable part and it’s quite odd that the Twins needed a throw-in to complete the deal.
UPDATE, 10:12 PM: Scott Miller of CBSSports.com says the deal is done, and that it’s a straight swap.
UPDATE, 10:04 PM: Now Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has confirmed from a “reliable scouting source” that Ramos is indeed headed to Washington. Whether the Twins get more than Capps out of this deal remains to be seen.
UPDATE, 9:53 PM: LaVelle E. Neal III at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that catching prospect Wilson Ramos has been pulled from the lineup at Triple-A Rochester and may be involved in a pending trade. The 22-year-old hit .296/.321/.407 in seven games for the Twins back in May. He has a .625 OPS in 278 at-bats for Rochester this season, but is widely regarded as a top catching prospect.
9:21 PM: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports — and now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com confirms — that the Twins are “in discussions” for Nationals right-handed reliever Matt Capps.
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian was the first to write of the Twins’ interest in Capps in this report Tuesday, and now it appears that Minnesota management has stepped up its efforts.
The 26-year-old Capps has posted a 2.74 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP this season while converting 26 of 30 save opportunities as Washington’s closer. Twins ninth-inning man Jon Rauch has struggled a bit in the month of July, watching his ERA jump from 2.40 on June 30 to the 3.05 mark where it sits today. Capps could either take over Rauch’s role or simply provide the Twins another reliable setup man as they prepare for a run at the American League Central crown.
The Nats should be plenty motivated to move Capps before Saturday’s trade deadline because he is earning $3.5 million this season and will get a hefty raise via salary arbitration heading into 2011, especially if he continues the solid numbers. Drew Storen is ready to take over the ninth inning in the nation’s capital.
We’ve got some potential craziness building in the American League Wild Card race with one day left in the regular season.
After dropping both halves of a doubleheader on Saturday in Baltimore, the Yankees are now just one game up for the first spot — hosting duties. Houston, currently in the second spot, won again Saturday in Arizona behind two Colby Rasmus homers and a very good start from Collin McHugh. Anaheim won Saturday in Arlington, Texas in maybe the wildest game of the year to stay one game back of the ‘Stros.
This also touches the still-undecided American League West, where the Rangers only have a one-game lead on the Astros and will face a fired-up Angels team on Sunday afternoon. By design, the start times for all these games that matter are the same: 3:05 p.m. ET. Only the Cardinals and Braves will play at a different time (due to Saturday’s rainout).
Buckle up, people. Get your popcorn ready. All that.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Yankees 2, Orioles 1 (Game 1)
Royals 5, Twins 1
Angels 11, Rangers 10
Nationals 3, Mets 1 (Game 1)
Rockies 2, Giants 3
Marlins 7, Phillies 6 (Game 1)
Blue Jays 3, Rays 4
Reds 3, Pirates 1
Yankees 3, Orioles 4 (Game 2)
Red Sox 0, Indians 2
Cubs 1, Brewers 0
Nationals 2, Mets 0 (Game 2)
Marlins 5, Phillies 2 (Game 2)
Astros 6, Diamondbacks 2
Padres 1, Dodgers 2
Athletics 7, Mariners 5 (13 innings)
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.