The Athletics finally addressed their weakness at shortstop late tonight, acquiring Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson.
John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix reports that the trade was made after Oakland claimed Drew off waivers from Arizona two days ago. The Diamondbacks will save a little over $3 million in the deal.
Drew was mentioned as a possible target for the A’s leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline last month and represents a potential upgrade over Cliff Pennington. Oakland has a major-league worst .187 batting average and .545 OPS out of the shortstop position this season.
To be fair, Drew is hitting just .193/.290/.311 with two home runs, 12 RBI and a .601 OPS in 40 games since returning from ankle surgery in late June, but his track record provides reason for optimism. Drew’s contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2013 or a $1.35 million buyout.
Jamieson, 23, owns a lowly .234/.345/.354 batting line and a .699 OPS over his first two pro seasons. He’s known as a solid defender and has some speed, but it appears that the Diamondbacks were mostly motivated to save some cash 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.