Rangers open to trading closer Joe Nathan

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal shares this big scoop:

Teams in need of a closer soon may have a stunning new possibility to consider.

The Texas Rangers have had internal discussions about trading All-Star right-hander Joe Nathan, according to major league sources.

If the Rangers proceed, it would be with the idea of dealing from strength and exploiting a thin market for relievers, sources said.

It’s a risky and bold but intelligent move. The market for late-inning relievers is especially soft this summer and Nathan could easily fetch a highly-thought-of prospect or a major league-ready bat.

The 38-year-old has registered a 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 44/11 K/BB ratio across 41 2/3 innings this season for the second-place Rangers and he is 32-for-34 in save opportunities. Nathan carries a $9 million club option for 2014 but can void it if he finishes 55 games in 2013. He has already finished 39 as of July 27.

Texas would presumably roll with Joakim Soria at closer down the stretch and into the postseason.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.