Adam Dunn expects to become a free agent

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We’ve heard a lot of to-and-fro on this subject this season, but with September just around the corner, Adam Dunn tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he is “assuming” he will end the season without a contract extension from the Nationals.

Dunn, who turns 31 in November, is batting .258/.350/.537 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI this season and remains one of the most consistent power hitters in the game. Though his streak of four straight seasons with exactly 40 home runs ended last season, he still managed to slug 38 of them. He is currently on page for 39 bombs. With power at a premium across major league baseball, he should attract a bit more interest than when the Nationals got him for a bargain-basement two-year, $20 million deal before the 2009 season.

The Nationals were resistant to let Dunn go at the trade deadline, despite the White Sox, Angels and Rays showing interest, just to name a few. It could have had something to do with their hope to get a contract extension done, but keep in mind that Dunn also projects to be a Type A free agent this winter. Should the Nats offer Dunn arbitration only to see him sign elsewhere, they would receive that team’s first round pick as well as a supplemental first-round selection.

It’s a pretty good consolation prize, but it will be interesting to see if the Nats have a renewed effort to re-sign him now that Stephen Strasburg figures to be out for the entire 2011 season. The franchise needs to find a way to show their fans that they aren’t just mailing it in next season, even though they essentially just biding time.

Nathan Eovaldi expects to pitch out of bullpen if Yankees reach ALDS

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.

Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.

There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.

Cardinals “optimistic” Yadier Molina will be on NLDS roster

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.

Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.

The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.