Drew Storen

Rosenthal: Nationals may offer Drew Storen for Twins’ Denard Span

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It worked last year, as the Nationals picked up their long-term catcher by sending their closer to the Twins.  Now they could make a similar move, only grabbing a center fielder instead, if FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is correct.

According to Rosenthal, Drew Storen may be in play in the trade talks between the Nationals and Twins regarding Denard Span.  Previous reports had shortstop Ian Desmond as the possible return for Minnesota, but the Twins may prefer getting a long-term closer instead.

And Drew Storen is definitely that.  The 23-year-old has a 2.37 ERA and is 25-for-28 saving games for the Nationals this season.  He’s under control through 2016, and he’s about as good of a bet as any current closer in the major leagues to still be in that role five years from now.

But do the Twins really want to go this route again?  Last year, they sent Wilson Ramos to the Nationals for Matt Capps.  It worked out just fine initially, as Capps has a 2.00 ERA and was 16-for-18 saving games for Minnesota down the stretch.  Plus, Ramos was always viewed as expendable because of Joe Mauer’s presence behind the plate.

However, Ramos would have been of great use to the Twins this year while Mauer missed most of the first half, and Capps, having blown seven of 22 save chances, has been getting booed off the mound at Target Field.

This one probably wouldn’t work out so badly.  Span is a nice regular and he’s not going to be a free agent until after 2014, but the Twins do have Ben Revere behind him, and while Revere probably won’t match Span offensively, he could be a decent regular at a bargain price.  Plus, their top position prospect, Aaron Hicks, also possesses the range to play center field in the majors.

I’d still give the idea of a Span-for-Storen swap a thumbs down for the Twins; there are better ways to cash in Span than trading him for a closer.  However, at least in this case, they’d be getting a whole lot more than a Matt Capps in return.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.

The Dodgers asked the Tigers about Justin Verlander this offseason

DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 18, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.

It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.

The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.

So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.