That’s the word from FOXsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal:
I can’t help but think the Dodgers would put claims in both, though it’s entirely possible neither will make it out of the American League unclaimed.
Vargas, 29, is 13-8 with a 3.75 ERA and a 111/45 K/BB ratio in 180 innings this season. Not only is he cheap this year, but he’s under control for another year in arbitration. He’ll probably make $6 million-$8 million in 2013.
Millwood, 37, is a free agent at season’s end. He’s 4-11 with a 4.28 ERA and a 100/48 K/BB ratio in 145 innings. He’s especially struggled of late, posting a 5.76 ERA in five starts this month. However, he has been a surprisingly solid pitcher away from Safeco Field this year, amassing a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts.Vargas, in comparison, has a 4.62 ERA in his road outings.
The Orioles were known to have interest in Vargas before the trade deadline and might well put in a claim now, even though they just picked up Joe Saunders from Arizona. The Angels and Tigers might also be in the mix here. The Angels have the worst record of any AL contender, so they would seem to have first dibs unless a non-contender claims Vargas thinking he can help in 2013.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerman of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.