The Athletics are widely expected to move closer Andrew Bailey this offseason and now that Heath Bell has signed with the Marlins, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Padres are just the latest team to join the mix.
The Padres have Luke Gregerson and Ernesto Frieri at the ready as two potential in-house replacements for the ninth inning, but it appears they are at least evaluating alternatives in the free agent and trade markets. It’s not clear who they would offer in a deal for Bailey, though Chase Headley or Kyle Blanks could pique the A’s interest.
While Bailey has dealt with some injuries over the past two years, he’s the owner of an impressive 2.07 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over his first three seasons in the big leagues. The 27-year-old right-hander is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and remains under team control through 2014. The Blue Jays, Reds, Mariners, Mets and Rangers are among the other clubs who have reportedly expressed interest.
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.