UPDATE: Steve Popper of the Bergen Record confirms that the deal is done, pending physicals.
9:49 PM: According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Mets are discussing a deal that would send Angel Pagan to the Giants for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez.
Baggarly writes that it’s not definite yet, but appears promising. It certainly fits the criteria mentioned by Ken Rosenthal a little earlier when he called it a “change of scenery” deal.
Pagan, 30, is coming off a down year in which he batted .262/.322/.372 with seven home runs, 56 RBI and a .694 OPS over 532 plate appearances. He also led major league center fielder with 10 errors. The Mets have said that they plan to tender him a contract, but he figures to make around $5 million in arbitration.
Torres, 33, had an even worse year in 2011, batting .221/.312/.330 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .643 OPS over 398 plate appearances. He is due between $2-3 million in arbitration and was a clear non-tender candidate following the recent acquisition of Melky Cabrera.
As for Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal reported late last month that the Giants planned to shop him so that they could upgrade in other areas. He’s due about $2 million through the arbitration process. The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 2.62 ERA and 66/26 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings this season.
While Torres is the superior defender in center field, Pagan is three years younger and is probably the better bet for a bounceback year offensively. Mets GM Sandy Alderson is working with a limited budget this offseason, so he will pay Torres and Ramirez combined what he would have paid Pagan. From a pure salary standpoint, this works perfectly. But the Giants could come out on top here.
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.