Angels and Nationals should consider a smaller trade

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Many are trying to set the Nationals up with Peter Bourjos after they lost another starting outfielder to injury in Jayson Werth over the weekend. That’d be nice and all, but the artillery is lacking to pull it off.

Instead, I’m thinking about a smaller deal here, if the two teams have in fact talked: Alberto Callaspo for Jesus Flores.

The Angels could really use a catcher with Chris Iannetta out 6-8 weeks following wrist surgery and Hank Conger sidelined with a sprained elbow. Flores has yet to show the promise he did before shoulder problems cost him all of 2010, but he is solid defensively and he might yet make an impact offensively if he could get regular playing time. For the Angels, he could start in the short-term and then replace Bobby Wilson as Iannetta’s backup later this season. The Nationals probably won’t ever have an expanded role for him if Wilson Ramos remains healthy.

The Nationals, on the other hand, could use another option at second base with Danny Espinosa floundering. Callaspo has played mostly third lately, but he came up as a second baseman and would be a useful stopgap there until Espinosa figures things out. He’d also be valuable insurance in case of another injury to Ryan Zimmerman. The Angels could move Callaspo and still have Maicer Izturis and Mark Trumbo at third base, with prospect Luis Jimenez also capable of stepping in at some point.

So, I think this one would work well for both teams. Who’s with me?

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.