Justin Upton has grabbed plenty of attention in trade talks this winter — and understandably so — but Mark Reynolds remains the most likely Diamondbacks player to be suiting up elsewhere next season. Here’s the latest.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that the Orioles are desperate for right-handed power and are “locking in” on Reynolds as a solution. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles continue to show the “heaviest” interest in the free-swinging slugger. Interestingly, officials from the Padres and Blue Jays — two teams previously reported to be interested in Reynolds — “strongly deny any interest at all,” according to Rosenthal.
Reynolds batted .198/.320/.433 with 32 homers, 85 RBI and a 753 OPS with the Diamondbacks this past season. He has led the majors in strikeouts in each of the past three seasons. The 27-year-old third baseman signed a three-year contract extension in March and is owed $5 million in 2011, $7.5 million in 2012 and either an $11 million option or $500,000 buyout in 2013.
As for who the Diamondbacks may want in return, Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted earlier today that Chris Tillman’s name has come up in trade talks. Tillman has struggled to translate his minor league success to the majors thus far, posting a 5.61 ERA over his first 23 major league starts, including a 5.87 ERA and 31/31 K/BB ratio over 53 2/3 innings this past season. There’s no question that his stock has taken a hit, but he doesn’t turn 23 until next April.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.