Report: Rangers, Red Sox discussed Ellsbury, Beckett deal

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According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Rangers and Red Sox discussed a blockbuster trade that would have sent Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Kelly Shoppach to Texas for undisclosed players.

Two sources told Bradford of the talks, with one describing them as preliminary and another talking about them as more advanced before falling apart. If that’s true, the talks likely died before Monday night’s deal that sent Geovany Soto to Texas. The Rangers also acquired Ryan Dempster just before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Red Sox might not have needed much back in return for Beckett and Shoppach, but they would have wanted some top talent in exchange for Ellsbury, the 2011 AL MVP runner-up who won’t be a free agent until after next season. They may have even requested shortstop Jurickson Profar, who is regarded by many as the game’s top position prospect.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The two teams could explore a deal again in the offseason if Ellsbury doesn’t prove amenable to a contract extension with the Red Sox.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.