The Nationals are “making progress” on acquiring Jonathan Papelbon

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It seemed for a while that no one was gonna swing a deal for Jonathan Papelbon. But never say never:

Talks between these two were first reported over the weekend. Complicated by the fact that Drew Storen is the Nats’ closer and has been doing a good job of it and Papelbon doesn’t want to go anyplace where he won’t close given that he’s only a handful of games away from having his games-finished option vesting. An option which stands to make him $13 million next season. Earlier reports had the Phillies willing to kick some money back to the Nats in order to deal with that, which makes sense if Philly wants anything in return for him.

Politics and contracts aside, Papelbon has been fantastic this year, posting a 1.59 ERA with 40 strikeouts and eight walks over 39 2/3 innings and going 17-for-17 in save chances.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.