Baseball

NL Notes: Robles, Wainwright, Wood

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On a quiet transactional night in MLB, we’ll take a look at a few playoff and offseason related matters from the National League.

Nationals center fielder Víctor Robles isn’t in tonight’s lineup for the club’s pivotal NLDS Game 3 matchup against the Dodgers. Per Jamal Collier of MLB.com, that’s at the discretion of manager Dave Martinez, who overruled the rookie’s requests to start in order to be particularly cautious with his prized 22-year-old. Nevertheless, Martinez described Robles’ injury as a “very, very mild” hamstring strain, and noted that the speedster could come off the bench tonight. The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty adds (via Twitter) that the Nationals don’t anticipate any scenario in which they would scratch Robles from their NLDS roster, so it indeed seems an exceedingly minor concern for the defensive stalwart.
Adam Wainwright, 38, gave a brilliant performance this evening in the Cardinals’ Game 3 loss to the Braves, tossing 7.2 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. It was a vintage performance for the former ace, who gave the Cardinals 171.2 innings of league average pitching (4.19 ERA, 20.5% K%, 8.6% BB%) in the regular season. Clearly, Wainwright can still perform at a high level, but given his age and the upcoming expiration of his one-year contract, there are questions about his future. Wainwright, though, doesn’t sound like a man on the verge of hanging up the spikes, telling Joe Trezza of MLB.com postgame he “never felt for one second that today was going to be (his) last day.” That’s not a definitive statement that he’d be returning to the big leagues, or to St. Louis specifically, but it stands to reason both sides could have interest in a similar incentive-laden arrangement (which Waino went on to maximize for $10MM) as they hammered out last October.
While Wainwright stayed healthy all season, the same can’t be said for left-hander Alex Wood, who started just seven games for the Reds after they sent two noteworthy prospects to the Dodgers to acquire him, Yasiel Puig, and Kyle Farmer last winter. Dealing with a back injury, Wood was ineffective when he did manage to take the mound, working to a 5.80 ERA with dreadful peripherals. It was hardly the platform season the 28 year-old (29 in January) wanted as he nears free agency for the first time. With the offseason offering an opportunity to get healthy, the sinkerballer tells Bobby Nightengale of Cincinnati.com he’d like to return to the Reds, admitting that his injury-riddled season wasn’t what the organization had in mind when they acquired him. As Nightengale notes, it’s difficult to see the Reds winning a bidding war for Wood given their strong staple of returning starters. That said, president of baseball operations Dick Williams has made clear the organization plans to be aggressive in free agency this offseason and wants to bolster the club’s pitching depth, so perhaps a Wood reunion could be in the cards depending on how his market shakes out.

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