Nationals scouting impending free agent C.J. Wilson

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C.J. Wilson may be the most desirable starting pitcher on the free agent market this offseason and the Nationals will apparently be among the teams interested in the Rangers left-hander.

Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that “the Nationals have sent a scout to Oakland to watch” Wilson tonight against the A’s and “it’s not a secret that Washington is looking to add starting pitching.”

Wilson logged 204 innings with a 3.35 ERA after talking his way into Texas’ rotation last year and this season he’s upped his strikeouts and cut his walks while throwing 215 innings with a 2.98 ERA.

At age 31 he’s still relatively young for someone hitting the open market and among all pitchers with at least 50 starts since the beginning of last season Wilson ranks 16th in ERA (3.16), sandwiched between fellow southpaws CC Sabathia (3.10) and Jon Lester (3.20), and he’s also 19th in FIP.

Wilson added to the mix along with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann could give the Nationals a playoff-caliber front three of the rotation, but would it leave enough money to put together a playoff-caliber everything else?

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.