We heard earlier today that the Orioles are “having ongoing dialogue” with free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus, but FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that they have some other names on their radar:
Aoki wouldn’t help fill the power void for Baltimore like Rasmus would. The soon-to-be 33-year-old hit just one home run in 549 plate appearances with the Royals last season. However, he has a .287 batting average and a .353 on-base percentage over three seasons in the majors and would be a candidate to take over the leadoff spot now that Nick Markakis is with the Braves.
Suzuki turned 41 in October and owns a lowly .649 OPS (82 OPS+) over the past two seasons. He’s had a wonderful career, but it’s hard to count on him as a regular on a contending team at this point.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.