Nationals visiting “top free agent choice” Mark Buehrle at his home in St. Louis

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Mark Buehrle is rumored to be fielding offers from nearly half the teams in baseball and the Nationals are pulling out all the stops, with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reporting that they’ve made Buehrle “their top free agent choice” and are visiting the left-hander at his home in St. Louis today.

According to Kilgore the two sides first met last week at the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, so today’s get-together presumably could include a contract offer.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has said repeatedly that he’s looking for a veteran, innings-eating starter and Buehrle has thrown 200 or more innings in 11 consecutive seasons, so the 32-year-old obviously fits the bill.

Interestingly, after years of speculation about Buehrle wanting to pitch in St. Louis the Cardinals are one of the few teams not linked to him this offseason.

Phillies option Hector Neris to Triple-A

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The Phillies announced that they’ve optioned right-hander Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Nerris, who saved 26 games as the Phillies closer in 2017 and ten games in that role this year, has struggled this year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances. While his strikeout and walk rates aren’t too far off what he was doing last year his hit rate has spiked and he’s currently allowing 10.3 safeties per nine. The wheels have come off of late, as he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits — five of them homers — over his last eight innings of work. Yesterday he allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a game the Phillies had led by five.

It was clear that Gabe Kapler had lost faith in Neris as a result, using him almost exclusively in low-leverage situations. That changed on Saturday, as Kapler used him in a save situation and said after the game that they were easing him back into his role. That plan obviously changed after yesterday’s meltdown.

Seranthony Dominguez had been getting the call in save situations. He’ll get them more now.