Yesterday the Athletics claimed Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar off revocable waivers. The two teams have until 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday to work out a trade. And, despite the fact that the teams seem to matchup pretty well on paper — the Rays got a younger, cheaper infielder in Nick Franklin from Seattle, the A’s lost Jed Lowrie to an injury — Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says that a trade is unlikely.
Mostly because the Rays aren’t treating Franklin like a shortstop. They’ve been playing him at second base at Durham. And the Mariners, it should be worth noting, played him at second far more often than short in the bigs as well, even though he played more short in the minor leagues.
Escobar is under contract through 2016 with a club option for 2017. Looks like he’ll be doing that as a Tampa Bay Ray.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.