Report: Cards targeting Jake Westbrook

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The Cardinals have Jake Westbrook at the top of their wish list, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

Spurned in their efforts to land Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt, the Cards were also talking to the Nationals about Livan Hernandez and the Rockies about Aaron Cook in recent days. No longer, according to Stark. Teams that have spoken with the Rockies and Nationals say the Cardinals are now “going in a different direction,” namely the aforementioned Westbrook.

The 32-year-old right-hander missed the entire 2009 season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but has a 4.65 ERA over 21 starts this season. Westbrook seems like a pretty good fit for the Cardinals, but sources tell Stark that the chances of him being dealt are “50-50.”

You see, Westbrook is owed roughly $4 million for the rest of this season, but would receive a $2 million bonus if he gets traded. According to Stark, the Indians “haven’t expressed much interest” in covering a significant portion of that bonus. Should they hold firm on that, it may ultimately prevent a deal from being consummated.

Nationals will add Mat Latos to the roster on Thursday

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 11:  Mat Latos #38 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 11, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.

Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.

In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.

Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.

John Gibbons texts Mark Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September.”

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 2:  Mark Buehrle #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the second inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 2, 2015 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.

Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.

Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.