There’s been speculation about the Nationals trading Jonathan Papelbon since the moment he decided to choke teammate Bryce Harper in the dugout and the presence of Drew Storen as a viable closer alternative has fanned those flames even further.
But here’s a new twist: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says multiple sources have told him that the Nationals are looking to trade Papelbon and Storen. And if they accomplish that, Stark reports that their plan would be to revamp the bullpen around a trade for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman and/or signing free agent Darren O'Day.
Papelbon and Storen will both be free agents following the 2016 season, so the Nationals may feel that rebuilding the bullpen now makes more sense than being forced to do so in 12 months. Still, that’s an awful lot of moving parts without any guarantee of actually improving the relief corps.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.