“There’s aches and pains,” Nationals starter Dan Haren told reporters Saturday. “Nothing I haven’t pitched through in the past. Physically, I’m OK.”
But the club’s decision-makers seem to disagree.
According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, the Nationals are placing Haren on the 15-day disabled list. The right-hander did have back problems earlier this season and that’s likely the injury that will be cited when the transaction is made official. But this reads like more of a phantom thing, designed to get Haren some time off and a couple of starts against minor league competition.
Haren allowed six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday against the Rockies and owns a brutal 6.15 ERA through his first 82 innings this season. He signed a one-year, $13 million deal this past winter.
UPDATE, 5:06 PM ET: Haren has a stiff shoulder, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.