UPDATE: Twins deal Ramos to Nats for Matt Capps

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UPDATE, 10:28 PM:  The Nationals’ official Twitter feed is now reporting that left-hander Joe Testa is also headed to Washington in the trade. 

The 24-year-old posted a 1.96 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 82 innings at Single-A last season.  He struggled a bit in his move to Double-A this year, but the lefty is still a valuable part and it’s quite odd that the Twins needed a throw-in to complete the deal.

UPDATE, 10:12 PM:  Scott Miller of CBSSports.com says the deal is done, and that it’s a straight swap.

UPDATE, 10:04 PM:  Now Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has confirmed from a “reliable scouting source” that Ramos is indeed headed to Washington.  Whether the Twins get more than Capps out of this deal remains to be seen.

UPDATE, 9:53 PM:  LaVelle E. Neal III at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that catching prospect Wilson Ramos has been pulled from the lineup at Triple-A Rochester and may be involved in a pending trade.  The 22-year-old hit .296/.321/.407 in seven games for the Twins back in May.  He has a .625 OPS in 278 at-bats for Rochester this season, but is widely regarded as a top catching prospect.

9:21 PM:
  Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports — and now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com confirms — that the Twins are “in discussions” for Nationals right-handed reliever Matt Capps.

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian was the first to write of the Twins’ interest in Capps in this report Tuesday, and now it appears that Minnesota management has stepped up its efforts. 

The 26-year-old Capps has posted a 2.74 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP this season while converting 26 of 30 save opportunities as Washington’s closer.  Twins ninth-inning man Jon Rauch has struggled a bit in the month of July, watching his ERA jump from 2.40 on June 30 to the 3.05 mark where it sits today.  Capps could either take over Rauch’s role or simply provide the Twins another reliable setup man as they prepare for a run at the American League Central crown.

The Nats should be plenty motivated to move Capps before Saturday’s trade deadline because he is earning $3.5 million this season and will get a hefty raise via salary arbitration heading into 2011, especially if he continues the solid numbers.  Drew Storen is ready to take over the ninth inning in the nation’s capital.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.