The Phillies’ Domonic Brown had a breakthrough season at age 25, finishing tied for fourth in the NL with 27 homers and appearing in the All-Star Game. That would seem to make him a centerpiece player, right?
The big problem with Brown is that his defense is truly hideous in left field. UZR rated him 58th of the 62 outfielders to play at least 900 innings last season, and the eye test suggest his defensive stats aren’t very far off the mark. He’s not so bad that he has to become a DH immediately, but he does give away a fair amount of that offensive value with his glovework.
And that’s why the Phillies are open to moving him. For one thing, they have a very similar replacement available in Darin Ruf; he can offer similar power, though from the opposite side of the plate, and similarly bad defense. He also wouldn’t have the same kind of trade value as Brown. Brown might be able to fetch Chris Tillman from the Orioles or James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez, plus a second prospect, from the Mariners. Ruf probably wouldn’t bring a legitimate starting pitcher back by himself.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.