Nationals interested in Scott Downs

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Washington has been linked to basically every left-handed free agent reliever and now Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals have “expressed interest” in Scott Downs.

Downs was traded from the Angels to the Braves in July and then left off Atlanta’s playoff roster, but he pitched well overall with a 2.49 ERA and 37/19 K/BB ratio in 43 innings. He’s posted a sub-3.50 ERA in seven consecutive seasons, with a combined 2.33 ERA during that time, although at age 37 the Nationals would probably be scared away from a multi-year commitment.

Report: Madison Bumgarner’s dirt bike accident could impact future contract negotiations

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Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was involved in a dirt bike accident on an off-day last week. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks with bruised ribs and a sprained left shoulder.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that Bumgarner’s accident could impact contract negotiations going forward. However, he does note that Bumgarner’s situation differs from Jeff Kent’s situation — Kent injured himself riding a motorcycle then lied about it to the team — because he’s been truthful and remorseful.

Bumgarner has two club options for the next two seasons at $12 million apiece which, given how he’s pitched since coming up to the big leagues, pays him significantly below market value. The two sides will come together at some point to discuss a contract extension that would keep the lefty in San Francisco beyond 2019. The Giants aren’t likely to attempt to recoup money as a result of Bumgarner’s injuries — Shea cites Section 5(b) of the Uniform Player Contract — because it might motivate him to test free agency and it would likely leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths. But the uncertainty about the effect Bumgarner’s injuries might mean the Giants are less willing to commit a large amount of money or less willing to go beyond a certain number of years to keep him around for the foreseeable future.

Steve Delabar among three suspended after testing positive

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Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.

Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.

Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.