The Rangers enter Saturday’s action with the worst record in baseball at 39-57, but they won’t be pawning everybody off. Relievers Joakim Soria and Neal Cotts, as well as outfielder Alex Rios could be traded by the July 31 deadline, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the club plans to hang on to Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, and Elvis Andrus.
Soria, 30, is in the final year of a two-year, $8 million deal. He has a club option for 2015 worth $7 million with a $500,000 buyout. The right-hander has a 2.59 ERA with 16 saves and a 42/4 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings this season.
Cotts, 34, is earning $2.2 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season. The lefty has posted a 3.48 ERA with a 49/16 K/BB ratio in 41 1/3 innings thus far.
Rios, 33, is playing out the final year of a seven-year, $69.835 million contract signed with the Blue Jays back in 2008. A $13.5 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout remains. The outfielder has a .302/.330/.435 slash line with four home runs, 42 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.
It’s easy to see why those three would draw some interest from contending teams.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.