After signings, Orioles may look to deal Wigginton

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Last season Ty Wigginton started 38 games at first base, 35 games at third base, and 23 games at designated hitter for the Orioles, but with offseason signings Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins now manning the corner infield spots MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko speculates that Wigginton could be traded before Opening Day.
Tejada, Atkins, and Wigginton are all right-handed hitters, so there’s no real room for a time-sharing arrangement there, but the Orioles could give him starts platooning with left-handed bat Luke Scott at DH. Paying $3.5 million for a platoon DH probably doesn’t sound great to the Orioles, but that’s actually pretty close to the best possible use of Wigginton.
His glove isn’t much good anywhere and he typically struggles against right-handed pitching, but Wigginton has hit .286/.364/.496 against left-handers over the past three seasons. During that same time Scott batted .247/.319/.474 versus lefties, so by keeping Wigginton around the Orioles could add 50-75 points of OPS to the lineup when a southpaw is on the mound. And he also has some value as a backup 1B/3B/LF/RF/DH.
Of course, if they can get any kind of decent prospect for him they should. But that seems unlikely.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.