UPDATE: So much for that. Multiple sources are now reporting that the Bartlett-for-Reimold talks hit a snag and the deal is unlikely to happen. Perhaps the Orioles came to their senses.
It’s no secret that the Rays have been trying to trade Jason Bartlett and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they’re close to sending the 31-year-old shortstop to the Orioles for Nolan Reimold.
According to Connolly talks between the two teams are “heating up” and “one source expects it to happen today.”
Bartlett is one season away from free agency and set to receive a raise from his $4 million salary in 2010 via the arbitration process despite an underwhelming performance, but the Orioles have been linked to various shortstop options throughout the offseason and are clearly looking for veteran help at the position.
Reimold had a strong rookie season in 2009 before undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn Achilles’ tendon and struggled to bounce back this year, spending most of the season at Triple-A. Tampa Bay presumably views him as the replacement for Carl Crawford in left field, or at least as part of the replacement plan along with top prospect Desmond Jennings.
Assuming the Rays feel confident about Reimold medically getting a 27-year-old potential impact bat who’s cheap and under team control for another five seasons for a mediocre 31-year-old free agent-to-be shortstop is a very nice move.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: