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.

Report: Astros, Alex Bregman agree to five-year, $100 million extension

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Fox 26’s Mark Berman reports that the Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to $100 million contract extension. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart confirms a deal has been reached and adds that the deal is actually for five years, beginning after the 2019 season. The contract will cover all three of Bregman’s arbitration years and two years of would-be free agency.

Bregman, who turns 25 years old later this month, has quickly become one of the best third basemen in baseball. Across parts of three seasons, he has hit .282/.366/.500 with 58 home runs, 208 RBI, 224 runs scored, and 29 stolen bases. FanGraphs credited him with 7.6 Wins Above Replacement, tied with Francisco Lindor and Christian Yelich for the fourth-best mark among position players in baseball, trailing only Mookie Betts (10.4), Mike Trout (9.8), and José Ramírez (8.0).

This is obviously a smart move for the Astros, as this contract extension will secure Bregman’s age 25-30 seasons. With second baseman José Altuve also locked up through 2024, and presumed extensions to come for Carlos Correa and possibly Gerrit Cole and George Springer, the Astros have a core that they can build around for years to come.