Nick Cafardo on A-Gon, Upton, Crawford, Dodgers, Prior

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No writer packs more valuable information into a Sunday notes column like the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.  He’s at it again today with details on a variety of big time free agent and trade options.  Let’s review:

  • Though he’s unlikely to be moved this winter or even next summer, so far the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles, Nationals and Red Sox have shown trade interest in San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.  The 28-year-old hit .298/.393/.511 with 31 homers in 2010 and is entering the final year of his tenure with the Padres.
  • Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton has been dangled on the trade market this winter and is drawing interest from the the Mariners, Blue Jays, Marlins, Red Sox and Royals.  It’s going to take a serious package of prospects to lure him away from Arizona’s grasp, but enough clubs are intrigued and it’s quite possible that he is moved this offseason.
  • The Dodgers have a bunch of holes to fill this winter but are seeking one major thing: leadership.  That could come in the form of veterans like Juan Uribe, Johnny Damon and A.J. Pierzynski.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin has set a deadline for extension talks with first baseman Prince Fielder.  If talks don’t progress by the end of spring training, the big man is likely to be on the trade market next summer.
  • Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett is drawing trade interest from the Giants, Orioles and Nationals.  Bartlett was a disappointment in 2010, and Tampa is prepared to go with Reid Brignac at short.
  • The Angels have already engaged in serious talks with free agent outfielder Carl Crawford and appear to be the front-runner for his services.  He’s thought to be seeking a contract worth north of $100 million.
  • The Brewers and Nationals are moving “swiftly” on free agent starter Carl Pavano.  He registered a 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 32 starts this year for the Twins.
  • Three teams are interested in signing Mark Prior, but he’s not totally set on a comeback.  That decision should come soon.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.