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Report: Braves interested in Sonny Gray and Chris Archer as well as Chris Sale

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The Braves have already added veterans R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon to the starting rotation this offseason and as Craig pointed out earlier, they’re also interested in White Sox ace Chris Sale. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman adds that they’re also interested in Sonny Gray of the Athletics and Chris Archer of the Rays.

So, the Braves are apparently pretty serious about bolstering the rotation even further. As presently constructed, the rotation would include Julio Teheran, Dickey, Colon, and Mike Foltynewicz. Aaron Blair and Matt Wisler appear to be on the outside looking in, so either or both could be packaged in a deal to bring Sale, Gray, or Archer into the fold. The Braves also have one of the best minor league systems in baseball so it isn’t a matter of being able to pay the price, it’s a matter of willingness to do so.

Sale has one guaranteed year for 2017 at $12 million and two club options at $12.5 million and $13.5 million for the 2018-19 seasons which will almost certainly be picked up. If the lefty were to hit free agency today, he would undoubtedly command much more money, so the remaining contract is attractive for inquiring teams but also drives up his cost in terms of prospects.

Gray will go through the arbitration process over each of the next three seasons but a contract extension is likely to be discussed at some point, assuming he’s eventually traded.

Archer, like Sale, has a very attractive contract as he’s signed through at least the next three seasons at a total of $18.5 million. He has club options for the next two seasons (2020-21) at $9 million and $11 million each, respectively.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).