D.J. Short

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 03:  Francisco Rodriguez #57 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws against the Chicago Cubs during the ninth inning on May 3, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  The  Brewers defeated the Cubs 5-3.(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Report: Blue Jays interested in Francisco Rodriguez

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The Blue Jays were linked to Francisco Rodriguez when he was a free agent over the winter and now Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the team has been in contact with the Brewers about a potential trade.

After posting a 3.04 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio in 69 appearances with Milwaukee last season, the 33-year-old Rodriguez has a 1.13 ERA with 26 strikeouts and seven walks over 24 innings so far this year. He’s a perfect 13-for-13 in save chances. The Brewers figure to be one of only a handful of sellers in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so Rodriguez would appear to be an obvious candidate to be moved. Brett Cecil is functioning as Toronto’s closer right now, but he has only had seven save chances all season and owns a 4.50 ERA over 25 appearances. An upgrade makes sense.

Rodriguez is under contract for $5.5 million this season and his contract includes a $6 million option or $4 million buyout for 2016.

With Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list due to a lat injury, Elliott hears that the Blue Jays are also in the market for a starting pitcher.

Who will be the next player to join the 3,000-hit club?

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees hugs teammate CC Sabathia #52 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning for his 3,000th career hit against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on June 19, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Last night, Alex Rodriguez became the 29th player in MLB history to join the 3,000-hit club. He’s the first player to reach the milestone since former teammate Derek Jeter on July 9, 2011.

After Jeter reached 3,000, I attempted to make a guess about who would be next. I went with Rodriguez, but figured he would get there in 2013. I was only off by two years. His hip surgery and year-long PED suspension obviously pushed back that timeline significantly. Still, better late than never. Rodriguez reaching 3,000 hits almost seemed like a longshot a year ago.

Who will be next to reach 3,000 hits? Removing Rodriguez from the mix, here’s the list of the current active leaders in hits (their ages in parentheses):

Ichiro Suzuki (41) – 2,886
Adrian Beltre (36) – 2,657
Albert Pujols (35) – 2,587
Miguel Tejada (41) – 2,407
Torii Hunter (39) – 2,386
Carlos Beltran (38) – 2,373
Jimmy Rollins (36) – 2,353
Miguel Cabrera (32) – 2,268
Aramis Ramirez (37) – 2,230
David Ortiz (39) – 2,211

Not surprisingly, the great majority of these players are toward the end of their respective careers. Tejada is still technically active, but we can effectively scratch him off as a possibility. Similarly, it’s highly unlikely that Ortiz, Ramirez, Rollins, Beltran, and Hunter will get there.

That leaves Suzuki, Beltre, Pujols, and Cabrera as our best options. Suzuki has played well in a part-time role with the Marlins this season, but he has only had 42 hits. Let’s say he can double that the rest of the way. That would put him at 2,928 hits, just 72 away from the milestone. The Marlins have reportedly had internal discussions about bringing Ichiro back for 2016, which makes sense given that they could market his chase. I think he’ll be the next to reach the milestone if he decides to come back.

Beltre and Pujols are both still young enough where 3,000 is within reach. Beltre is currently sidelined with a thumb injury and his .257/.294/.408 batting line isn’t on par with his usual lofty standards, but he likely has some productive seasons left in him and 343 hits doesn’t feel like a stretch here. However, he appears unlikely to get there until at least 2017. Pujols is 413 hits away and while he’s not putting up the monster numbers we saw during his peak with the Cardinals, he’s still very good. Keep in mind that he’s under contract through 2021. Barring injury, he’ll get there eventually.

Cabrera, is the closest thing we have to a lock on this list. He has averaged 191 hits per season since 2004 and has showed no signs of slowing down since his offseason foot surgery, leading the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS this season. He doesn’t turn 33 until next April and appears poised to blow well past 3,000 if he can remain healthy. Still, he wouldn’t figure to get there anytime before 2018.

Diamondbacks sign Jhoulys Chacin to minor league contract

Jhoulys Chacin
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According to Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league contract. This confirms a report by Augusto Cardenas out of Venezuela, who says the deal includes an opt-out on July 5 if he’s not added to the major league roster.

Chacin was just granted his release by the Indians this week. The 27-year-old has pitched exclusively at the Triple-A level this season, posting a 3.21 ERA with a 25/15 K/BB ratio in 42 innings over seven starts. The Diamondbacks plan to have him pitch at Triple-A Reno for now.

Chacin was once a highly-regarded prospect with the Rockies and had a 3.58 ERA for the club between 2010-2013, but he was limited to just 11 starts last season due to a shoulder problem and Colorado gave up on him this spring.

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray went into last night’s start 3-0 against the Angels this season and appeared well on his way to another victory after holding them to two runs over his first six innings of work. However, things completely fell apart in the seventh inning.

Holding a 7-2 lead, Gray walked back-to-back batters to begin the frame before Matt Joyce delivered an RBI single and Chris Iannetta followed with a single to load the bases. Athletics manager Bob Melvin then brought in Drew Pomeranz, who walked pinch-hitter Daniel Robertson to force in a run before getting Kole Calhoun to strike out swinging. After Edward Mujica replaced Pomeranz, Mike Trout reached on an error thanks to Ben Zobrist which plated another run and set the stage for Albert Pujols to give the Angels the lead:

That was a rocket. The Angels ended up scoring eight runs in the inning and won 12-7. Quite the turn of events.

By the way, Pujols leads the American League with 20 home runs. He has 12 in his last 21 games.

Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:

Tigers 2, Yankees 7

Pirates 1, Nationals 4

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 5

Cardinals 12, Phillies 4

Cubs 2, Twins 7

Rays 4, Indians 1

Marlins 0, Reds 5

Rangers 2, White Sox 1

Mets 1, Braves 2

Brewers 9, Rockies 5

Red Sox 7, Royals 3

Padres 2, Diamondbacks 4

Angels 12, Athletics 7

Astros 2, Mariners 5

Giants 9, Dodgers 5

Twins release outfielder Jordan Schafer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- APRIL 18: Jordan Schafer #1 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Cleveland Indians on April 18, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 4-2. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
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The Twins have released outfielder Jordan Schafer, who has been out since mid-May with a knee injury.

After a strong finish with the Twins last season, Schafer began this season as the team’s center fielder, but he struggled to the tune of a .217/.250/.261 batting line over 74 plate appearances and went 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts prior to going on the disabled list with a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Surgery wasn’t necessary, but he had yet to go out on a minor league rehab assignment.

Schafer’s presence was fairly redundant for Minnesota, as Byron Buxton recently took over as the starting center fielder while Shane Robinson is in place as a backup and Aaron Hicks should eventually return from a forearm injury. There probably wouldn’t be room for him when healthy and the Twins will need a 40-man roster spot when Ervin Santana returns from his PED suspension in a couple of weeks, so it made sense to just cut him loose.

A former highly-regarded prospect with the Braves, the 29-year-old Schafer is a .228/.308/.307 hitter over 463 games in the majors.