UPDATE: ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian is now reporting that the chances of Storen/Span deal less than 50-50 and that the Nationals may pivot to B.J. Upton in their search for a center fielder. Are the Nats really that afraid to give up Drew Storen? Seems kind of nutso to me, but then again, I just work here.
9:17 AM: When last we heard of the Denard Span-to-the-Nationals negotiations, it appeared as though the hangup was that the Twins wanted Proven Closer Drew Storen, whereas the Nationals were more inclined to included Proven Setup Man Tyler Clippard.
That has changed, however, as Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Nats have agreed to give up Storen, and that the hangup on the trade right now is the other player or players the Nats would include in the deal. Perchance the Twins realized that Roger Bernadina is no good. Hard to say.
Whatever the case, this makes it appear that the second annual “Nationals trade the Twins a relief pitcher for a promising player at a key defensive position” deal is on track.
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.