From FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal comes the news that the Padres’ Heath Bell, the Cubs’ Carlos Pena and the Twins’ Jim Thome and Jason Kubel were all placed on trade waivers Monday.
They’ll all be on waivers — but still eligible to play — through Wednesday. If they clear waivers, they can be dealt at any point over the rest of the season, though to be eligible for the postseason, they’d have to be on their new rosters prior to Sept. 1.
Anyone not clearing waivers can either be pulled back or traded to the team with the highest priority that claims him.
Bell, Thome and Kubel are almost certain to get claimed on waivers. Even a non-contender might try to pick up Bell or Kubel, simply for the fact that it’d be worth taking on about $1 million in salary in an effort to get back draft-pick compensation this winter. All four players are going to become free agents after the season.
Since Pena makes the most money of the bunch and there isn’t a whole lot of need at first base among contenders, he might slip through waivers.
The Indians would be the obvious choice to grab Thome, especially after Travis Hafner got hurt Sunday. Besides the White Sox, the Indians have the worst record of any AL contender. Since these are trade waivers, leaguemates have priority for putting in claims. Thome, though, does have no-trade protection and could block either a deal or a waiver claim.
Bell appears highly unlikely to be traded. Any NL team, from the Astros and Cubs on up, could put in a claim just with the idea that he’d be worth it for the draft picks, and the Padres value those draft picks pretty highly themselves.
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.