The Orioles and Mets tossed around trade ideas involving not just first baseman Ike Davis, but second baseman Daniel Murphy, and left fielder/first baseman Lucas Duda as well, reports Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun. He writes that the two teams couldn’t reach an agreement because the Mets wanted Orioles top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in return.
The Mets are still expected to move at least one of Davis and Duda but a lot of teams have already satisfied their needs for first basemen already. Davis and Murphy are both entering their second year of arbitration eligibility while Duda is entering his first year. The Mets currently have just $45 million committed and would need to double that to reach last year’s Opening Day salary of nearly $94 million, but their focus on making a trade is more about optimal roster construction. Taking Duda out of left field, where he spent most of 2013, and moving him to first base full time in place of Davis gives the Mets a better outfield with Curtis Granderson in left, Juan Lagares in center, and Chris Young in right with Eric Young, Jr. as the fourth outfielder.
The Athletics are tied for first place in the AL West for the first time since Opening Day. They took the first of a three-game series against the Astros on Friday with a wild (and controversial) overturned replay call in the ninth and Matt Olson‘s decisive walk-off home run in the 10th — the first of his career to date — then returned on Saturday and bested the Astros 7-1 to take first place.
Saturday’s win was less of a nail-biter than Friday’s had been, but its rewards were just as sweet. Trevor Cahill led the A’s through the first seven innings of one-hit, seven-strikeout ball, backed by seven runs on five RBI doubles from Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty and Josh Phegley. All told, the four players struck eight doubles to tie the franchise single-game record.
The Astros, meanwhile, were stymied by both Cahill and the A’s bullpen through the first eight innings of the game. Following Cahill’s seven shutout innings, Jeurys Familia took the ball in the eighth and blanked the Astros to preserve the seven-run lead. Yusmeiro Petit wasn’t quite so lucky: with one out in the top of the ninth, he pitched to a full count against Tony Kemp, then saw his 90.1-MPH fastball returned to right field for a home run. That was the first and last time the Astros crossed home plate, however, as Kyle Tucker popped out to third base and Alex Bregman cemented the loss with a fly ball to right.
Entering Saturday’s game, the Astros had not been out of first place since June 13, when they played second fiddle to the now third-place Mariners. They’ll share first-place honors with the Athletics until Sunday’s finale; it’ll take a series sweep for Oakland to take the lead in the division, but they’ve already delivered incredible results over the last two weeks (and it’s worth noting, as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart pointed out, that Houston has now lost seven of their last eight games). The A’s climbed out of the no. 3 spot at the start of August and have steadily progressed toward first place ever since, driven by two separate four-win streaks and their two decisive wins this weekend. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle also notes that the club has not been in first place in a non-April month since August 25, 2014 — the last year they qualified for the playoffs.