Now that the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes have ended, other dominoes can begin falling.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com passes along notice that the Red Sox are “closing in” on a deal for Athletics right-hander Rich Harden.
He doesn’t have the upside of Ubaldo, but Harden has posted a cool 30/10 K/BB ratio and 1.16 WHIP since returning from the disabled list in early July. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 3.65 career major league ERA and is owed less than $1 million through the end of the season.
The two sides are still talking, but an agreement could be reached at some point late Saturday night. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is hearing that first base prospect Lars Anderson may be headed to Oakland.
UPDATE, 9:40 PM: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has the goods. The A’s will receive Anderson, who has a .782 OPS and 10 homers this year at Triple-A, and a player to be named later. The deal will be finalized on Sunday morning.
UPDATE, 1:10 AM: In a surprising turn of events, the trade has fallen through. Harden is scheduled to pitch for the A’s Tuesday against the Mariners and told reporters on Saturday night that he fully intends to make that start. Perhaps the Red Sox and A’s will revisit talks on Sunday morning.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.