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Did the A’s really make that five-year, $64M offer to Beltre?

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It’s still pretty early in the offseason and most top tier free agents won’t sign for another couple of weeks.  Or months. The hot stove, however, is always burning.

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported two weeks ago that the A’s made a five-year, $64 million offer to free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre.  We’ve heard nothing about the proposal since, which has Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wondering whether that report might have been incorrect.

According to Cafardo, A’s GM Billy Beane “supposedly was a little baffled” when news of the offer came out.

The A’s are trying to improve their offense this winter, but they don’t typically shell out long-term deals to high-priced free agents and the timing of the offer seemed odd.  Beane and Co. may be interested in acquiring Beltre, who registered a .321/.365/.553 batting line, 28 homers and 102 RBI in 2010, but it sounds like they’re not being aggressive as previously thought.

If Oakland doesn’t add Beltre, Kevin Kouzmanoff is likely to open the 2011 season at third base.  He hit just .247/.283/.396 over 551 at-bats this past year, though he did find a way to tally 17 home runs and 71 RBI while playing seriously good defense at the hot corner.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.