Report: The Nationals are interested in Matt Kemp

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The Nationals would have interest in acquiring Matt Kemp should the Dodgers make him available in a trade, a baseball source tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

According to Kilgore, the team’s potential interest in Kemp and other free agent outfielders indicates that the club is looking at a creative solution should the club fail to re-sign Adam Dunn this winter. 

Kemp’s star faded a bit this season, as he compiled a disappointing .249/.310/.450 batting line to go along with 28 homers and 89 RBI. The 26-year-old was an above average defender in center field in 2009 according to UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), but his -24.3 UZR this season ranked last among qualified outfielders. He was also just 19-for-34 (56 percent) in stolen base attempts, which is actually worse than Nyjer Morgan’s success rate.

Kemp avoided arbitration by signing a two-year, $10.95 million contract with the Dodgers in January, so he is still owed $6.95 million in 2011 and remains under team control through the 2012 season.

Amid the drama of his 2010 campaign, Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart indicated to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times that a trade could be a good idea for his client. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told Buster Olney of ESPN.com last week that he is not looking to trade Kemp, but would listen to offers. Kemp still has the potential to be one of the better all-around players int the league, so the Nationals won’t be only team calling.    

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.

Rusney Castillo disappoints again by not running out a routine grounder

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18:  Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he was caught off third base for the third out of the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 18, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.