Nationals making progress in talks for Denard Span

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are “making headway” with the Twins in trade talks for center fielder Denard Span. The Twins are insisting that Drew Storen is included in the deal along with a second player. From Adam Kilgore’s report earlier in the day, we can assume that might mean Roger Bernadina. Mercy.

Interestingly, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweeted a little bit earlier that the Yankees have also inquired about Denard Span, though he suspects it could be part of a bigger deal. In turn, Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes that it could be an avenue for the Yankees to flip Span to the Nationals for Tyler Clippard.

Of course, the Yankees originally swapped Clippard to the Nationals for Jonathan Albaladejo back in December of 2007. Jonathan Albaladejo? Exactly.

3:02 PM: Oh boy. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Twins want Roger Bernadina along with a reliever in any deal that sends Denard Span to Washington. What’s the hold-up here, Mike Rizzo? Give Bill Smith who he wants and tell him you’ll talk to him again next July.

12:02 PM: Just in case you thought the idea of trading Denard Span for Drew Storen was bananas, here’s this.

According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, the Nationals are now pushing Tyler Clippard instead of Storen in a potential trade.

Clippard, who was named to the National League All-Star team this season, has an impressive 1.70 ERA and 73/20 K/BB ratio over 58 1/3 innings this season. However, while Storen is under team control through 2016, Clippard would be eligible for free agency one year earlier.

Fortunately it sounds like the Twins aren’t having any of this, as Miller writes that they won’t accept a set-up man in return for Span. And as our own Aaron Gleeman will tell you, the Twins like the idea of a “proven closer.”

Span, 27, is owed $3 million next season, $4.75 million in 2013 and $6.5 million in 2014. His contract also includes a $9 million club option for 2015 or a $500,000 buyout.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.