Stephen Strasburg may not be there, but the Nationals are going to the playoffs. The Nats clinched a postseason berth with tonight's 4-1 win over the Dodgers and now have a magic number of eight to clinch the NL East. This is the franchise's first postseason appearance since reaching the NLCS (as the Expos) in 1981, and the first time a Washington baseball team has made the postseason since the Senators played in the 1933 World Series.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic talks to several executives and scouts about Justin Upton's trade value, with the general consensus being that the Diamondbacks can still command a high price for the outfielder, though Upton's disappointing 2012 campaign has hurt his value. Opinion was split on whether the D'Backs or Rangers would have to add players in such a possible Upton-for-Elvis Andrus deal.
- Upton discusses his season, his career development and his feelings about the trade rumors in an extensive profile by Robert Sanchez of ESPN The Magazine.
- John Axford believes the Zack Greinke trade was the inspiration for the Brewers' surprising turn-around, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Since Greinke was dealt to the Angels on July 27, the Brewers have surged back into the NL wild card race with a 32-18 record, including today's win over the Pirates. "Personally, I thought it was going to be more motivation for certain guys," Axford said. "There wasn't ever a thought on this team that this was a lost season. It was disappointing for a while….But there's no guy on this team that's going to lie down and give up. It's shown recently."
- "The sense now is that some teams would still be willing to take [Yunel Escobar] on provided he delivers a proper penance first," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi. Escobar is scheduled to return on Friday from his three-game suspension for wearing eye black that contained a homophobic slur. This incident could spur Escobar's departure from Toronto, especially since the Blue Jays have promising shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria waiting in the wings.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden lists ten of the top managerial candidates, a compilation that includes nine men who have never managed at the Major League level and two-time World Series winner Terry Francona. Two names on Bowden's list (Tim Bogar and Dave Martinez) are reportedly the top candidates to become the Astros' new manager.
- Jim Thome's quest for a World Series ring has surprisingly taken him to the Orioles instead of the Phillies, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, but the slugger has dropped hints that 2012 may not be his last season.
- Derek Jeter told ESPN's Rick Reilly (passed on by Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News) that he would potentially be open to playing for a team besides the Yankees once his current contract expires. "Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes," Jeter said. "It's a business. People forget that." Jeter is under contract through the 2013 season with an $8MM player option for 2014; the shortstop turns 40 years old in June 2014.