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In the park that Washington Nationals standouts Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and other sluggers call home, there have been some long home runs.

None in the Statcast era have gone as far as Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana’s first-inning solo bomb off Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday at Nationals Park.

That’s 476 feet worth of big fly for Santana, with the ball clearing the left-center bleachers and bouncing onto the concourse. Left fielder Adam Lind hardly even took a step.

Domingo Santana clears the bleachers at Nationals Park for the longest HR there (or by a Brewers player) in 3 seasons of @statcast. pic.twitter.com/r2eBSHdRz2

— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) July 26, 2017

It’s home run No. 17 for Santana. The blast ties for the sixth-longest in MLB this year, and the longest of any Brewer this season.

Domingo Santana hit this ball a long way. (AP Photo)
Domingo Santana hit this ball a long way. (AP Photo)
Author: Zach Pereles
Posted: July 26, 2017, 11:56 pm
Brett Anderson worked in a jab at President Trump's transgender military ban after being DFAed by Cubs. (AP)
Brett Anderson worked in a jab at President Trump’s transgender military ban after being DFAed by Cubs. (AP)

Brett Anderson had quite the interesting afternoon on Wednesday. The veteran left-hander saw his short and mostly ineffective stint with the Chicago Cubs come to a likely end after being designated for assignment. But that wasn’t close to the craziest part of his day.

Anderson, who isn’t one to stay quiet under any circumstances, got social media buzzing after tying in President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military into his predicament, calling it an alienation of an important group that helps protect the United States.

2 small victories today…1) I’m still decent enough to make the ESPN bottom line 2) I didn’t alienate a group of people from the military

— Brett Anderson (@BAnderson3737) July 26, 2017

As one of the most outspoken and thought-provoking professional athletes on Twitter, it should come as no surprise Anderson worked that reference in there when he knew some extra eyes would be coming to his account.

Of course there’s always some push back too when athletes bring politics into social media, but Anderson’s tweet seemed to garner a lot of support.

pic.twitter.com/7EA1jZC0uC

— Marshall Deree (@MarshDeree) July 26, 2017

This just makes me wish you were staying a Cub even more! Best of luck to you!

— Camilla (@Camilla_33) July 26, 2017

President Trump’s controversial decision has already been met with some serious backlash, and Anderson’s tweet is just one of thousands, if not millions, that stand firmly against it. Agree or not, you have to respect that he’s not afraid to step out and add his voice to issues that people are talking about.

From a baseball perspective, Anderson’s future is uncertain right now. The 29-year-old left-hander has been on the disabled list since May 7 with a back issue, and unfortunately has spent much of his once promising career on the sideline.

He’s been a tough guy to trust, but because of his age and the ability he’s shown when healthy, someone should be willing to take a chance. It just won’t be a major commitment, and it might not be in a situation as good as the Cubs’, who figure to contend for a World Series championship again.

Bummed it didn’t workout but it wasn’t from lack of effort I can tell you that. Here’s to getting better and being better.

— Brett Anderson (@BAnderson3737) July 26, 2017

 

Wherever he goes, we know he’ll be working hard to earn his opportunity. We’ll also know exactly how he’s feeling, about everything from baseball to politics, every step of the way.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 26, 2017, 11:40 pm

Tampa Bay Rays top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell doesn’t lack for confidence. The 22-year-old is putting up some impressive numbers in Triple-A, but the team doesn’t feel he’s ready for the big leagues just yet.

Honeywell disagrees, and after he was passed over for a promotion he decided to make his thoughts known on Twitter.

Ready as I’ll ever be… lol

— Brent Honeywell (@brent_honeywell) July 26, 2017

Honeywell may not have meant anything negative when he sent out that message, but it could be interpreted as a shot at the organization.

It may be meant as a shot at Tampa Bay Times reporter Marc Topkin, who recently gave his thoughts on why the Rays may have decided to keep Honeywell in Triple-A.

Re: Honeywell. #Rays apparently feel he’s not best option (not ready) to start in majors now or they’d call him up and put him on roster.

— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 26, 2017

Keep in mind Topkin isn’t saying he thinks Honeywell isn’t ready. He’s trying to provide the Rays’ rationale for the decision.

Honeywell’s possible promotion became a topic of conversation after the team placed starter Jake Odorizzi on the disabled list with a back injury. With Odorizzi sidelined for at least two starts, some believed the team might turn to their top pitching prospect to take his place in the rotation.

Rays prospect Brent Honeywell believes he's ready for the majors. (AP Photo)
Rays prospect Brent Honeywell believes he’s ready for the majors. (AP Photo)

It doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case. The club scratched Honeywell’s teammate Austin Pruitt from his Tuesday start down in Triple-A. While the team hasn’t officially called him up yet, it’s believed he’ll make Friday’s start in place of Odorizzi.

Honeywell will also pitch Friday, but for the Durham Bulls. The team could have called him up without messing around with his throwing schedule, but may opt for Pruitt anyway.

It’s worth noting that Pruitt is on the team’s 40-man roster right now. Honeywell is not. If the team were to call Honeywell up, it would have to move someone off the 40-man. That may have been the deciding factor here.

Over 89 1/3 innings at Triple-A, Honeywell has a 4.23 ERA. While that’s an underwhelming figure, he’s also managed an excellent 115:25 strikeout to walk rate. His arsenal, which includes a screwball, is capable of overpowering hitters. Honeywell ranks as the No. 14 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason top-100 list.

It’s not the first time Honeywell has been outspoken on Twitter. He also called out Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper’s comments about making baseball fun again last April.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 10:34 pm
Danny Tartabull was caught by police after more than five years on the run. (AP Photo)
Danny Tartabull was caught by police after more than five years on the run. (AP Photo)

Danny Tartabull was finally arrested by police Wednesday after more than five years on the run. The former New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals outfielder was caught after he called the cops, according to TMZ.

Tartabull wasn’t calling police to turn himself in, though. He was calling them to report that someone broke into his car. Cops ran his name when they arrived at the scene and realized there was a warrant out for Tartabull’s arrest.

That warrant goes all the way back to 2011, when Tartabull was found to have owed $275,000 in child support. He was placed on probation as part of his punishment, but violated it in 2012. At that point, Tartabull was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He never turned himself in, and that’s when the warrant was issued.

For five years, Tartabull was able to lay low and avoid capture. It wasn’t until this colossal slip up that police were able to find and catch him.

It’s a plot straight out of a movie by the Coen brothers. Tartabull plays the role of the bumbling criminal who somehow fails his way to success. In the end, his dumb mistake is the thing that leads to his downfall.

Tartabull is slated to meet with a judge Wednesday. His lawyer told TMZ he is working to get Tartabull released, and that the former outfielder has a good relationship with his children.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 7:48 pm

Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish is one of the few pieces available at the trade deadline who can truly alter a division race. Though every contender would benefit from adding Darvish to their rotation, not all of them will have that chance.

If you’re a fan of the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians, you can stop reading now. Those three clubs are among the 10 teams on Darvish’s no-trade list, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Yu Darvish’s 10-team no-trade list, per sources: BAL, BOS, CHC, CLE, COL, CWS, DET, OAK, PIT, TOR. Free to go to LAD, NYY, HOU, all others.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2017

While all three of those teams could use Darvish, the blow hurts the most for Chicago. With David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez back and healthy, getting an ace like Darvish isn’t a priority for Boston. Cleveland is in a similar spot. As long as everyone stays healthy, that rotation is pretty strong.

The Cubs have been linked to Darvish even though they just traded for Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintana. While Quintana and Jon Lester give the team a solid 1-2 punch, the rotation has been spotty behind those two. Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks have seen some regression this season, though both are still sporting solid peripherals.

Darvish would definitely help, but there’s no need for the Cubs to get desperate after acquiring Quintana. The news may impact the team’s chances of pursuing Darvish in free agency, and that could wind up being the bigger blow.

It’s worth noting that Darvish could still go to those three clubs, but only if he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause and approve a trade.

Yu Darvish doesn't want to go to Boston, Cleveland or Chicago. (AP Photo)
Yu Darvish doesn’t want to go to Boston, Cleveland or Chicago. (AP Photo)

As Rosenthal points out, fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros should start getting excited. Darvish cannot block trades to any of those clubs, and they all have desirable prospects needed to get a deal done.

The Dodgers have been linked to Darvish quite a bit, and their need for another starter just went up after Clayton Kershaw’s injury. New York has reportedly been in talks for Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray, but could turn their attention to Darvish if Gray proves to be too pricey.

The Astros have quietly put together a strong rotation, but it wouldn’t hurt to add Darvish. While Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton and Mike Fiers have all had strong seasons, they don’t exactly have dependable track records. A postseason rotation of Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Darvish would strike fear into opponents.

The rest of Darvish’s no-trade is … weird, right? It’s an interesting mix of some East Coast clubs, most of the Midwest and the A’s. We can’t say we’re surprised about that last one.

Darvish’s list does leave the opportunity for some fringe contenders like the Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals or Tampa Bay Rays to swoop in to try and pick up another ace. Those teams probably lack the prospects needed to get a deal done, though.

As weird as it would be to see Darvish in a Rays jersey, we can’t completely rule it out.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:01 pm
Shohei Otani is a threat from the batter’s box and the pitching mound. (AP)

Japan’s Shohei Otani has yet to sign with a major league team, but that hasn’t stopped some fans and talent evaluators from salivating at his seemingly unlimited potential.

Heralded as “the next Babe Ruth” because of his ability to hit for power and throw 100 mph fastballs, the 22-year-old returned to the lineup after dealing with a leg injury for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Pacific League on Tuesday night.

In the eighth inning, Otani smashed a hanging breaking ball over the fence at Obihiro Stadium for his first homer since April 5, and it was an absolute bomb.

Shohei Ohtani did unspeakable things to a baseball. It was his first HR after coming back from leg injury https://t.co/gmxdIsLyBi

— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) July 26, 2017

Otani, who reportedly is planning to leave Japan to play in the majors after this season, hit .322 with 22 home runs in 104 games for the Fighters last season while also pitching to a 1.86 ERA in 140 innings.

“We discussed the possibility of me going,” Otani said back in April. ” … The club will respect my wishes whenever I decide I want to go.”

The dual threat is under contract in Japan through the 2021 season so the posting system would have to be used before he could come stateside and enter free agency.

If and when Otani becomes available to major league teams, he is sure to garner a lot of interest from around the league.

 

 

 

Author: Vikram Bodas
Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:00 pm

Either Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor made the most complicated double switch of all-time, or there was a massive miscommunication between him and the umpires during Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The move in question went down in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a first-pitch ball to Yasiel Puig, Molitor came out to make a substitution. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts challenged the double switch, causing the umps to stop the game and review the situation.

None of the reporters covering the game knew what was going on at the time, and were surprised to see Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario leaving the game. By wRC+, an advanced stat that measures a player’s offensive contributions, Rosario is the second-best hitter on the Twins this season. It seemed strange that Molitor would want to remove him from the contest.

After some debate between all three parties, the umps eventually went to replay review in order to sort things out.

This is a new one. Twins-Dodgers game has gone to video review of Paul Molitor’s line-up change. Reviewing a line-up change. Take that, CFL.

— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) July 26, 2017

Though we can’t recall a time it’s happened before, that is allowed per MLB rules. Here’s the relevant passage on replay review from MLB.com:

The Crew Chief may communicate with the Replay Official at any time during a game for purposes of: (a) record-keeping (i.e., to review the ball-strike count to a batter, the number of outs in an inning, and the score of the game); (b) determining whether a player or players properly were substituted for during a game pursuant to Official Baseball Rules 5.10.

The delay lasted so long that Puig actually walked back into the clubhouse to get some coffee while things were being sorted out.

Yasiel Puig said he had no idea what was going on during the delay, so he decided to duck into the clubhouse for some coffee.

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 26, 2017

The umps eventually determined Rosario had to leave the game. He was replaced by pitcher Ryan Pressly. Ehire Adrianza replaced Trevor Hildenberger in the pitcher’s slot.

The total time of the delay was 18 minutes, according to the official scorer. It felt much longer.

The official scorer timed the Lineup Card Delay at 18 minutes, which counts toward the time of an already sluggish game.

— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) July 26, 2017

Confused about what the heck just happened? Well, we can’t blame you. Even the Twins’ official Twitter account was unsure about what went down.

Yeah, we’re not sure either, #MNTwins fans. pic.twitter.com/rUZDEHp5oj

— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 26, 2017

We know this: Eddie Rosario is out of the game. Ehire Adrianza takes his place in left field.

We’re not sure why.

— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 26, 2017

After all that, the Twins lost the contest 6-2. The time of the game, including the delay, was three hours and thirty-five minutes.

Paul Molitor ran into some issues Tuesday night. (AP Photo)
Paul Molitor ran into some issues Tuesday night. (AP Photo)

Molitor explained after the game that the whole thing was due to a miscommunication.

#MNTwins manager Paul Molitor on double-switch delay:

“What I think I said and what he thought he heard were two different things” pic.twitter.com/Ac0aSxNNgF

— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) July 26, 2017

Molitor did not intend to take Rosario out of the game, but either he didn’t articulate his switch well or the umps misunderstood. The changes he made to his lineup card were not the same changes they made on theirs. They relayed the changes to Roberts, and he complained after Molitor’s moves didn’t reflect his information from the umps. Molitor took responsibility for the error, saying he should have made sure the umps had the right lineup changes.

Still, confused? Yeah, we are too.

Rob Manfred can’t be too happy about the delay. He’s made it a point to try and reduce the length of games since he’s taken over as commissioner. Instituting a universal DH could have saved a lot of time in this instance, we’re just saying.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:18 pm

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is about to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the most sacred of grounds for any baseball player. He’s joining Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell in the 2017 Cooperstown class, which will be enshrined Sunday.

You figure a Hall of Famer knows every detail of his career. But does he know how he compares to his Hall of Fame peers? We quizzed Pudge to see how he stacks up with Raines in a number of statistical categories — batting average, strikeouts, sac flies, etc.

Rodriguez joined us on behalf of Esurance, for whom he was an ambassador during the recent MLB All-Star Game in Miami. As you’ll see, Pudge knows a lot of his stats (he can most definitely cite his career batting average), but it was fun seeing him work through whether he or Raines fared better in a certain statistical category.

It’s obvious Pudge’s baseball mind hasn’t yet retired.

Pudge Rodriguez knows his career batting average, but what else does he know? (AP)
Pudge Rodriguez knows his career batting average, but what else does he know? (AP)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:07 pm
No one wants to pull a Jose Canseco in the outfield. (Screenshot via MiLB.com)
No one wants to pull a Jose Canseco in the outfield. (Screenshot via MiLB.com)

Pulling a Jose Canseco can mean so many things these days. It could mean writing a bestselling book, tweeting about shooting your finger off or even making a come back in an independent league.

But when someone pulls a Jose Canseco on a baseball field, everyone knows what that means: They allowed a home run after a ball bounced off their head.

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That happened Tuesday as the Oklahoma City Dodgers took on the Reno Aces. Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Alex Verdugo hit a deep fly ball out to right, allowing Arizona Diamondbacks minor-league outfielder Zach Borenstein to play the role of Canseco.

Dodgers prospect Alex Verdugo hit a 385-foot homer at AAA tonight: 360 feet off the bat, 25 feet off Zach Borenstein’s head. Holy Canseco. pic.twitter.com/2KzTtvcTpF

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 26, 2017

Yeah, that’s pretty identical to the Canseco play we all know and love. In case you have no idea what we’re talking about, prepare to be entertained.

You could watch that play a thousand times and it wouldn’t get old.

While Canseco’s gaffe features the better camera angle, we would argue Borenstein’s head-aided homer was more impressive. Canseco was pretty close to the wall when the ball hit him and bounced over. Borenstein wasn’t even at the warning track. The ball traveled a pretty long way after hitting his head and leaving the park.

Borenstein will likely hear comparisons to Canseco for a bit, but it could have been worse. If there’s one way you want to be linked to Canseco, this is honestly the best option.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:14 am

The term “hug watch” has become a popular phrase surrounding the Major League Baseball trade deadline. There might be rumors a player will be traded during a game, but a deal isn’t official for fans until that guy is hugging his teammates in the dugout.

Eduardo Nunez says goodbye to his teammates in San Francisco. (Screenshot via @NBCSGiants on Twitter)
Eduardo Nunez says goodbye to his teammates in San Francisco. (Screenshot via @NBCSGiants on Twitter)
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It’s not clear when that tradition began, but San Francisco Giants third baseman Eduardo Núñez kept it alive Tuesday night. Upon learning he had been dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Núñez was spotted in the dugout hugging and saying goodbye to all his Giants teammates.

Eduardo Nuñez is on the move #HugWatch pic.twitter.com/Lkc25r1waM

— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 26, 2017

At the time that video went live, no one knew where Núñez was going. He had been rumored to be available in deals, though, so once the hugs began, people knew a trade was coming. A few minutes later, Ken Rosenthal reported Núñez was traded to the Red Sox. The Giants will receive minor-league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos in the deal.

The 30-year-old Núñez is hitting .307/.331/.413 over 315 plate appearances this season. He is set to be a free-agent in a few months, and had no value sticking with the struggling Giants.

Núñez enters a strange situation in Boston. He’s mostly played third base this season, but the Red Sox just called up top prospect Rafael Devers on Sunday. If Devers is going to remain in the majors, the team will have to figure out a way to split playing time between the two.

Núñez can also play other positions, though. He’s spent time at short, second and in both corner spots of the outfield over his career. The Red Sox are set in all those spots, but Núñez could see a lot of playing time as a utility man who starts a fair amount of games while others rest.

The Giants took a shot on two young pitchers. Anderson, 22, has posted a 3.42 ERA over two levels this year. He’s currently in High A. Santos is 17, and currently in rookie ball, so he remains years away from making an impact in the majors. Over 30 innings, he’s put up a 0.90 ERA.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 4:50 am

Three of baseball’s most prolific hitters in recent memory will be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Iván Rodríguez will get the call after putting up some impressive numbers during their excellent careers.

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It’s the highest accomplishment a baseball player can achieve, but it means even more when you have the respect of your contemporaries. Recent Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez went up against all three members of the 2017 Hall of Fame class. Martinez, who now works as an analyst at MLB Network, has memories of battling each one of them.

While most of those memories are fond for Martinez – he did hold all three players to batting averages below .200, though the samples are small – he opted to begin with a sad story about hitting Bagwell with a pitch. As Martinez explains, Bagwell had to leave the game after being hit.

While the play didn’t come in a huge game, Martinez still feels bad about it today. He had grown close to Bagwell during his career, and felt awful about hurting him. It gives you a good idea of how well liked and respected Bagwell was during his career.

Pedro Martinez and Iván Rodríguez appeared in a few All-Star Games together. (AP Photo)
Pedro Martinez and Iván Rodríguez appeared in a few All-Star Games together. (AP Photo)

With Rodríguez, Martinez recalls throwing to him at the 1999 All-Star Game. Both players started the contest. Martinez threw two innings with Pudge behind the plate. The two never worked as a battery or faced each other again during the All-Star Game even though they combined for 22 All-Star appearances

Finally, Martinez describes what made Raines great. He was a feared leadoff man, and Martinez never wanted to put him on base. If Raines got on, Martinez knew “he could do damage” on the bases.

When Bagwell, Raines and Rodríguez get inducted Sunday, Martinez said he will be happy, excited and honored to call them “teammates forever.”

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:28 am

Stepping to the plate for his first home at-bat as a member of the New York Yankees was a big moment for Todd Frazier. The 31-year-old grew up in nearby New Jersey, and had between 500 and 600 friends and family members come out to watch him play for the team he admired as a kid.

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Frazier had a prime opportunity to become a “true Yankee” in his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium. In the second inning, Frazier stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. He had a chance to become a hero and endear himself to the home crowd in just one at-bat.

That didn’t happen. In fact, you might argue Frazier’s first at-bat at Yankee Stadium couldn’t have gone  any worse. On the fifth pitch from Luis Castillo, Frazier grounded into a triple play.

Todd Frazier's first at-bat in front of his new home crowd didn't go as expected. (Getty Images)
Todd Frazier’s first at-bat in front of his new home crowd didn’t go as expected. (Getty Images)

The ball was more of a weak line drive to shortstop Jose Peraza. It took a bounce at the last minute before Peraza scooped up the ball in his glove.

Because of that, Didi Gregorius wasn’t sure whether he could advance to third base. He took a few steps off second after Frazier made contact, but had to wait to see if Peraza would catch the ball on the fly. Gregorius was caught in no man’s land, and took a few steps back to second right as Peraza makes the play.

Instead of trying to tag Gregorius, Peraza remained focused on picking up the double play. He stepped on second for the force out, and threw to first to nab Frazier.

Since Gregorius hesitated initially, he was still stuck between second and third. Reds first baseman Joey Votto noticed, and threw the ball to third baseman Eugenio Saurez to catch Gregorius in a run down. After a quick back-and-forth, he was tagged out to complete the triple play.

The only saving grace for Frazier is that Matt Holliday managed to score from third on the play. His early run gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Somehow, Frazier’s triple play actually helped the Yankees. After helping the Yankees win the contest 4-2, Frazier might just get the “true Yankee” designation despite the strange result during his first home at-bat.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 26, 2017, 12:16 am

Excuse us as we do the cliché thing and quote the “Saturday Night Live” character Stefon, but Tuesday’s matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox had everything. We’re talking one huge first-time ejection, five hit batters and one announcer threatening violence against an opposing player.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, it was. In order to get the full grasp of what happened, we’ll attempt to walk you through one of the angriest games of the season.

You could say it all started in the first inning after John Lackey hit Jose Abreu with a pitch, but that’s not entirely true. It will play into the narrative later, though, so keep it in the back of your mind for now.

Things truly started to heat up in the fourth inning. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant stepped to the plate looking to get things going. In his first two at-bats, Bryant struck out swinging. There had been some gripes about home plate umpire Lance Barksdale’s zone early in the game, but it really boiled over during Bryant’s third at-bat.

Kris Bryant ejected from today’s game. Rare to see him argue but rightfully so on a terrible call. pic.twitter.com/nUcb9kaJB4

— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) July 25, 2017

On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Bryant was called out on a high, inside fastball. He turned to Barksdale to express his frustration. Bryant didn’t seem too out of line with his antics, though we don’t know what he said. As Bryant began walking toward the dugout, Barksdale ejected him.

Cubs announcer Len Kasper was right to note that it’s rare for Bryant to argue a call. It was actually the first time in his career that the 25-year-old reigning MVP was ejected from a game.

That was the point where the game started going off the rails.

Kris Bryant received his first career ejection Tuesday. (AP Photo)
Kris Bryant received his first career ejection Tuesday. (AP Photo)

With one out in the fifth, Lackey hit Abreu for the second time. Abreu, who’s not usually one to get angry, gave Lackey a brief look before he trotted down to first base. Abreu then stole second with Avisail Garcia at the plate. It was his first steal of the season, and his first successful stolen base since September 2014. We’re going to guess getting plunked had something to do with that.

After Garcia grounded out, Lackey hit Matt Davidson, putting men on first and second. He followed that up by hitting Yoan Moncada to load the bases. That’s right, Lackey loaded the bases on hit by pitches during the inning. He somehow escaped without giving up any runs.

Lackey did not, however, escape White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson’s wrath. Harrelson, who is known for being a colorful personality in the booth, went on one of his signature rants as Lackey was plunking White Sox left and right.

For #Cubs fans not watching on @WGNTV here’s Hawk’s reaction to Lackey plunking Abreu again. “Lackey it’s just a matter of time buddy!” pic.twitter.com/LgJn9Xjohw

— Josh Frydman (@Josh_Frydman) July 25, 2017

After Abreu was hit for the second time, Harrelson said it was “BS,” and then suggested someone on the Cubs, possibly Lackey, would be hit soon.

You can imagine it got worse from there. Harrelson said Abreu should wait until after the game to fight Lackey, and was openly rooting for a White Sox player to hit a line drive right back at him to “knock Lackey right off the mound.”

hawk harrelson: “in fact id like to see one hit right back through the middle drill knock lackey right off that mound” pic.twitter.com/kxzCrvFF4Y

— Brett (@Cubbieblue97) July 25, 2017

Part of Harrelson’s wish came true in the bottom of the fifth. The Cubs’ first hitter of the inning, Ian Happ, was drilled in the back with a pitch from reliever Chris Beck. At that point, warnings were issued. No one was ejected.

Lackey did actually come to the plate in the inning, but men were already on first and second base. The White Sox opted to pitch to him, and he grounded out to short to end the frame. Harrelson was still upset, saying Lackey was lucky men were on base, intimating he would have been hit otherwise.

Somehow, cooler heads prevailed. The rest of the game went off without any issues. The Cubs took home the 7-2 victory.

The only thing this game didn’t feature, somehow, was an all-out brawl. Even though five players were hit by pitches, it never went beyond that. The only ejection came on a missed call, before any of the madness truly began.

The Cubs and White Sox still play two more games during the series. Things may have calmed down on the field, but we suspect there will be plenty of vitriol from the White Sox’s broadcast booth.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 25, 2017, 10:40 pm
Anthony Swarzak will help stabilize the Brewers' bullpen. (Getty Images)
Anthony Swarzak will help stabilize the Brewers’ bullpen. (Getty Images)

This is Yahoo Sports’ MLB trade deadline tracker, your one-stop shop for all the wackiness that goes down during trade season. This post will serve as a comprehensive list of every deal made, both big and small, before the deadline. We’ll constantly update it throughout the week.

BREWERS BOLSTER BULLPEN BY ACQUIRING ANTHONY SWARZAK FROM WHITE SOX
The Milwaukee Brewers are doing anything they can to stop their recent skid. The club took another step toward trying to compete with the Cubs in the second half by picking up reliever Anthony Swarzak in a deal with the Chicago White Sox. The 31-year-old reliever isn’t a big name, but he’s having a strong year. Through 48 1/3 innings, Swarzak has posted a 2.23 ERA. His contract is up at the end of the season, so he’s merely a rental for the Brewers. The team’s bullpen ranks 19th with a 4.23 ERA, so Swarzak will fill an important need.

In exchange, the White Sox acquired outfielder/third baseman Ryan Cordell. The 25-year-old is hitting .284/.349/.506, with 10 home runs, in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A. It’s worth nothing that the Brewers’ Triple-A club plays in Colorado Springs, which is regarded as a tremendous hitting environment. At 25, Cordell is also old for the league. Still, he has some promise. Coming into the year, he rated as the Brewers’ No. 18 prospect according to Baseball America.

The Twins bolstered their rotation by dealing for Jaime Garcia. (AP Photo)
The Twins bolstered their rotation by dealing for Jaime Garcia. (AP Photo)

TWINS ACQUIRE PITCHER JAIME GARCIA FROM THE BRAVES FOR 19-YEAR-OLD RIGHTY HUASCAR YNOA
The Minnesota Twins have gotten off to a better start than anticipated, and sit just one game out of the second wild card spot in the American League. Instead of sitting back and hoping that continues, the team decided to make a modest play to strengthen its rotation with Jaime Garcia. The 31-year-old has been serviceable with the Atlanta Braves this year, posting a 4.30 ERA over 113 innings. Garcia should help a Twins rotation that ranks 24th in the majors with a 4.92 ERA. He’ll be a free-agent at the end of the season. Minnesota also picked up catcher Anthony Recker and some cash in the deal.

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The 19-year-old Ynoa came into the year ranked as the Twins’ No. 29 prospect according to Baseball America. He’s struggled in rookie ball, posting a 5.26 ERA over 25 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate remains strong, and he’s capable of hitting 95 mph with his fastball. He’s the brother of Chicago White Sox pitcher Michael Ynoa. (Chris Cwik)

Trevor Cahill will try to help the Royals in the second half. (AP Photo)
Trevor Cahill will try to help the Royals in the second half. (AP Photo)

ROYALS AND PADRES SWAP TRAVIS WOOD AND TREVOR CAHILL, AND FOUR OTHERS, IN SIX-PLAYER DEAL
The Kansas City Royals are going to take one more shot at the postseason before they break up their core. The team picked up pitchers Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer in a six-player deal with the San Diego Padres on Monday. Of that trio, Cahill has been the best of the bunch, posting a 3.69 ERA over 61 innings in 11 starts. Maurer has a 5.72 ERA despite strong peripherals in the bullpen. Buchter has posted a solid 3.05 ERA over 38 1/3 innings. Cahill is set to be a free-agent at the end of the season. Maurer and Buchter are under Royals’ control for multiple years.

In exchange, the Padres picked up Travis Wood, Matt Strahm and Esteury Ruiz. Wood is the biggest name of the group, but he’s struggled this season. Through 41 2/3 innings, he has a 6.91 ERA. Strahm, 25, was in the midst of a tough year before tearing his patellar tendon. He had a 5.45 ERA prior to the injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season as he recovers. Strahm was considered the team’s No. 2 prospect coming into the year according to Baseball America. Ruiz, an 18-year-old infielder, is having a fantastic season in rookie ball. Through 21 games, he’s hitting .419/.440/.779. Both Strahm and Ruiz are under team control for multiple seasons. Wood is under contract through at least 2018. (Chris Cwik)

RED SOX ACQUIRE EDUARDO NÚÑEZ FROM GIANTS
The Boston Red Sox may have called up top prospect Rafael Devers on Sunday, but that didn’t stop them from adding Eduardo Núñez in a deal with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. It’s believed Núñez will platoon with Devers, but he also has experience playing second, short and both corner outfield spots. He could be used as a utility man/super sub on days the regular starters need rest.

Jose Quintana didn't have to travel far to find his new team. (AP Photo)
Jose Quintana didn’t have to travel far to find his new team. (AP Photo)

CUBS GIVE UP FOUR PROSPECTS FOR WHITE SOX PITCHER JOSE QUINTANA
The Chicago Cubs went to their in-state rival to try and stabilize their rotation, acquiring 28-year-old lefty Jose Quintana. In exchange, the Chicago White Sox received a package of four prospects, including prized outfielder Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Dylan Cease. (Chris Cwik)

YANKEES GET TODD FRAZIER, DAVID ROBERTSON AND TOMMY KAHNLE FROM WHITE SOX
The New York Yankees decided to try and make a play for the postseason by picking up third baseman Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the rebuilding White Sox. Chicago picked up Tyler Clippard and three prospects in the deal, including outfielder Blake Rutherford. (Chris Cwik)

J.D. Martinez was one of the best power bats on the market. (AP Photo)
J.D. Martinez was one of the best power bats on the market. (AP Photo)

ARIZONA PICKS UP POWER BY DEALING FOR J.D. MARTINEZ
The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired the most sought-after power bat on the trade market by acquiring outfielder J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for three prospects.

Martinez, who is slashing .302/.387/.624, joins incumbent sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb to create a formidable middle of the order for the now all-in Diamondbacks. The 29-year-old soon-to-be free-agent was sidelined with a nagging foot injury earlier in the season, but has rebounded nicely with 16 homers in 61 games entering Monday.

On the other end of the deal, the Tigers received young and promising middle infielders Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. Of the trio, Lugo comes to Detroit with the most hype as the No. 4 prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system entering the season. (Vikram Bodas)

Sean Doolittle will shore up Washington's bullpen. (AP Photo)
Sean Doolittle will shore up Washington’s bullpen. (AP Photo)

NATIONALS SEND BLAKE TREINEN TO OAKLAND FOR SEAN DOOLITTLE AND RYAN MADSON
The Washington Nationals made a big move to aid their league-worst bullpen, bringing in veteran relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for reliever Blake Treinen and prospects Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse.

Madson, who has a 2008 World Series ring with Philadelphia and a 2015 ring with Kansas City, has experience as both a closer and a set-up man. The 36-year-old righty has a 1.91 ERA this season through Monday, mostly as an eighth-inning man. Doolittle, a lefty, has dealt with injury issues in the past, but he’s been lights out this year with a 0.74 WHIP, the best mark of any Nationals reliever. Washington’s bullpen ranks last in MLB with a 5.18 ERA.

In return, the Athletics receive Treinen, a hard-throwing righty who entered the season as Washington’s primary option at closer, but struggled ever since. They also picked up two prospects in the deal. Luzardo has a 1.65 ERA in four rookie ball appearances, and Neuse is hitting .290 across 81 games in Class A and Class A Advanced. (Zach Pereles)

MARINERS ACQUIRE DAVID PHELPS AND GONZALES FOR FIVE PROSPECTS
The Seattle Mariners made two separate trades to try and strengthen the club for the second half. The first involved picking up reliever David Phelps from the Marlins for four prospects, the best of which was outfielder Brayan Hernandez.

The team also sent power-hitting outfielder Tyler O’Neil to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Marco Gonzales. Both players ranked fairly high on each team’s prospect lists. (Chris Cwik)

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Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: July 25, 2017, 8:30 pm
Emilio Guerrero lunges to catch a ball during a Double-A baseball game in New Hampshire Monday night. (NH Fisher Cats/Twitter).
Emilio Guerrero lunges to catch a ball during a Double-A baseball game in New Hampshire on Monday night. (Twitter/NH Fisher Cats)

Emilio Guerrero, a first baseman for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball team, has made a name for himself on the baseball diamond, but perhaps it’s time for Guerrero to give gymnastics a go.

After an opponent from the Portland Sea Dogs hit a grounder into the outfield during Monday night’s game, one of Guerrero’s teammates scooped up the ball, sent it over to second base for an out. Then, as the ball came over to Guerrero for a hopeful double play, the 6-foot-4-inch baseman performed his magic. With his right foot still on the base, he slid his other leg as far out as it would go, creating a perfect split, catching the ball and making the highlight reel.

Emilio Guerrero is 6’4″ and just did THIS to complete the #doubleplay. @SportsCenter #SCTop10 (Kids, this is why we stretch.) pic.twitter.com/q228Nz0LS3

— NH Fisher Cats (@FisherCats) July 25, 2017

The 24-year-old’s lunging splits catch set off a series of tweets once the highlight hit the internet.

“Pregame stretches are important, kids,” @FisherCats 1B Emilio Guerrero, probably.

#MiLB pic.twitter.com/Qna93NemHr

— MiLB.com (@MiLB) July 25, 2017

Emilio Guerrero is 6’4” and he pulled off this play like it was nothing. https://t.co/rUXvq7uhvJ

— SB Nation MLB (@SBNationMLB) July 25, 2017

Watch minor league first baseman Emilio Guerrero turn a double play with some… https://t.co/4spd8qSQVO #golf

— mygolfnews (@MyGolfNews) July 25, 2017

Author: Shannon Scovel
Posted: July 25, 2017, 6:29 pm
Bartolo Colon has been around for a long time. (Getty)

Bartolo Colon, 44, has spent an astounding two decades pitching in Major League Baseball. Due to this longevity, Colon now faces the amusing reality of pitching to a second generation of major league talent.

On Monday night at Dodger Stadium, Bartolo took the hill for the Minnesota Twins and faced 22-year-old Cody Bellinger in the bottom of the second inning. The burly right-hander induced a lazy fly ball to left field on an 88 mph two-seam fastball with the power-hitting phenom looking visibly frustrated by the outcome. In Bellinger’s second at-bat against Colon, he fell to a similar fate by flying out to right field.

Colon pitched five solid frames of three-run ball and departed with a no-decision. After struggling against the sage veteran, Bellinger smashed a three-run dinger in the eighth inning propelling the Dodgers to a come-from-behind 6-4 victory.

Bellinger can take some solace in the fact that Colon also mystified his father back in the day. On Sept. 18, 2000, the then Cleveland Indians ace threw a one hit shutout with 13 strikeouts against the New York Yankees. One of the Yankee hitters who faced Colon on this night was Clay Bellinger, and like his son 17 years later he went 0-for-2.

Bartolo Colon has now faced both @Cody_Bellinger and Clay Bellinger. https://t.co/1DJEkTftKW pic.twitter.com/ZSOoZ2JuqG

— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 25, 2017

Colon has struggled this year, but said Monday night that he has no plans to retire at the end of the season.

“The promise was that I’m going to pitch until I’m 45,” he said. “I have to make that happen. Next year could be the year, but I have to make the promise come true for my mom.”

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Author: Vikram Bodas
Posted: July 25, 2017, 6:13 pm

When a foul ball pops into the stands at a baseball game, it’s usually kind of a mess. The fans see it and then scramble to get to it, and there are way too many hands reaching up to catch it. Sometimes there’s even a battle on the ground when a ball falls without being caught. But a vendor at Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers) showed us on Monday that catching a foul ball doesn’t have to be so crazy.

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It was the top of the seventh inning, and Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander was about to throw his 117th pitch to Kansas City Royals batter Whit Merrifield. When the pitch came in, Merrifield popped it up, and it went behind him toward the stands on the first base side. It came down fast and took a big bounce before shooting up in the air and toward an eagle-eyed group of people.

At the front of this group was a vendor, just walking in the stands and doing his job. He’d been watching the foul ball as it came in, and he was perfectly placed to make the catch. He didn’t even have to move. The ball bounced, he reached up and the ball fell right into his hands.

This Tigers vendor had a reason to smile after nonchalantly catching a foul ball. (MLB.com)
This Tigers vendor had a reason to smile after nonchalantly catching a foul ball. (MLB.com)

It was so casual and graceful that it looked like he was receiving a ball during an impromptu game of catch. He made the guy in front of him, who made a dramatic jumping attempt only to awkwardly fall when he forgot there was a metal railing behind him, look hilariously uncoordinated. Actually, that catch makes most people who attempt to catch a foul ball look uncoordinated, like confused chickens having a seizure while doing the electric slide.

Maybe ballpark vendors are more used to baseballs flying around than the rest of us. Or maybe that vendor has unshakable poise and coolness. Either way, anyone who wants to try catching a foul ball at a game should watch that video for tips, because he made it look incredibly easy.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: July 25, 2017, 4:43 pm

All home runs are hit hard. Some are hit harder than others. And then there are a select few every year — like Aaron Judge at Seattle and Bryce Harper at Arizona — that leave you speechless.

Add Hunter Renfroe’s monster shot off the Petco Park roof to that list.

Any farther, and we’d be looking for this @Hunter_Renfroe in the Gaslamp Quarter! pic.twitter.com/i2gXsALWLW

— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 25, 2017

That ball nearly left the premises completely, bouncing on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field. Statcast measured it at 462 feet.

Hunter Renfroe going big fly pic.twitter.com/N5XQqlKYy7

— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 25, 2017

And one lucky fan (who was probably not expecting to be close to catching a baseball tonight) got a souvenir.

Update: @Hunter_Renfroe‘s ⚾️ did eventually land pic.twitter.com/OGE9b9Vkd7

— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 25, 2017

That’s home run No. 18 for Renfroe this year, and it’s one that he — and everyone else in attendance — will remember for a long, long time.

Author: Zach Pereles
Posted: July 25, 2017, 4:39 am

A scary scene unfolded Monday night in Tampa when a broken bat hit Rays catcher Wilson Ramos in the side of the head, an incident that required six staples to close the gash.

Scary scene in Tampa as Wilson Ramos took a bat off his head in the 5th. pic.twitter.com/iCXyslSkCl

— Stadium (@watchstadium) July 25, 2017

Ruben Tejada’s bat shattered in the fifth inning, with the barrel flying into the left side of Ramos’s head. The training staff rushed to aid the 29-year-old catcher, and he was able to walk off the field under his own power while a trainer applied pressure to the cut. Ramos was replaced by Jesus Sucre.

Ramos talked to reporters after the game:

.@RaysBaseball catcher Wilson Ramos gives an update on his status after he left Monday’s game with a head laceration. #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/26oliPi9Fb

— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) July 25, 2017

As Ramos explained, the helmet held up structurally, but the barrel pushed the helmet into the side of his head, causing the gash. He added that doctors didn’t detect anything more than the laceration, though they will examine him more tomorrow.

Ramos is in his first year with the Rays after a six-plus year stint with the Nationals. The Venezuela native is coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2016 season. This was just his 16th game since being activated from the DL.

Author: Zach Pereles
Posted: July 25, 2017, 4:05 am

We’re exactly one week away from Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, which also means we’re on the brink of chaos. The trade deadline has a chance to be busy this season, especially because there’s a ho-hum free-agent class ahead, and teams have an even bigger incentive to find their difference-makers.

We know a few things already: The Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Miami Marlins are selling. Yu Darvish might be the most sought-after starting pitcher out there at this point, with Sonny Gray running a close second. Pat Neshek is attracting a lot of attention from teams that need bullpen help, but expect a number of relievers to move. The Mets could unload a lot of players — so if you need Jay Bruce in your life, now’s your chance.

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Anything – and everything — can change in the next week. Chaos will come from the teams that have tough choices to make. Or a lot at stake. If you’re rooting for chaos, there are five teams that should be more involved in the next week. That’s the topic of this week’s installment of my Open Mike video series, which is rolling above.

The Royals can bring us trade-deadline chaos, but will they? (AP)
The Royals can bring us trade-deadline chaos, but will they? (AP)

Here they are in text form:

5. Houston Astros
The Astros and all their prospect riches have the means to make just about any deal they want. They could use another starting pitcher, so they’re basically the team holding the “Wild” card in UNO.

4. San Francisco Giants
The Giants are a mess, but they could clean things up by making a few keen moves at the trade deadline. There are different degrees of selling for S.F. How far they go determines how much chaos we’re in for. Might they trade someone like Hunter Pence? Can they find a suitor for Jeff Samardzija?

3. Detroit Tigers
This is where things start to get interesting. The Tigers have a lot of high-priced, aging talent — but it’s talent that could help other teams reach their World Series dreams. They’ve already traded J.D. Martinez. There are lots of rumors about Alex Avila. But what if they went a step further? Justin Verlander? Miguel Cabrera? Oh, the chaos is starting to rumble.

2. Toronto Blue Jays
Could the Blue Jays sell? They’re pretty bad and they’ve got a lot of desirable pieces, but … would they trade Josh Donaldson?! Or Marcus Stroman? It’s at least been talked about. That would bring us to full-blown chaos if either comes to fruition.

1. Kansas City Royals
The Royals are the team that holds the keys to super mega trade deadline chaos. They’re in a tough spot too. They were bad early, then got better and now they’re winners of five in a row and, at the moment, a wild-card team. Still, the Royals are about to lose Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain in free agency. Trading them could return a deep haul of prospects.

Conventional wisdom — and this piece by my cohort Chris Cwik — says the Royals should stand pat. See if they have one more postseason run in them. But if you’re rooting for chaos, you have to be rooting for the Royals to blow it all up and start feeding their stars to the Dodgers, Indians, Nationals and other contenders.

Not saying the Royals need to sell or that Kansas City would be happy about this, but the Royals are the team with the power to turn this whole week upside-down.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:40 pm

After a tough start to his baseball career, New York Mets outfielder Tim Tebow is starting to knock the rust off. The 29-year-old added to his impressive stat line with the St. Lucie Mets on Sunday, belting a monstrous home run.

Tim Tebow another bomb for St. Lucie. Call. Him. Up. #tebowtime pic.twitter.com/UTikos30WB

— Daren Stoltzfus (@DarenStoltzfus) July 23, 2017

Given the amount of coverage Tebow has received, you might assume this was just a one-off, random moment for the former quarterback. That’s not exactly the case.

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Tebow has been putting up some strong numbers since his promotion. In 25 games, he’s hitting .317/.398/.549, with four home runs. He’s even managed to cut down on his strikeout rate. At Columbia, Tebow struck out in 28.2 percent of his plate appearances. That’s down to 19.3 percent now. His walk rate has remained stable despite the increase in competition.

The usual caveats apply here. Tebow has performed well in a small sample of games. He remains much older than his competition, and he’s still playing in one of the lowest levels of the minors. He remains a long way from making the majors.

But he’s performing well. You can write off Tebow’s performance, but you can’t take away his numbers. He’s hitting like a 29-year-old should at High A. Huge challenges lie ahead, but this is promising.

Tim Tebow has hit exceptionally well since his promotion. (AP Photo)
Tim Tebow has hit exceptionally well since his promotion. (AP Photo)

That wasn’t the case in Columbia, where Tebow hit just .220/.311/.336 over 64 games. There were legitimate questions about whether he deserved to be promoted with that slash line. He’s quieted some of that talk for now.

Tebow is still a marketing gimmick for the franchise. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson confirmed that in July, and other minor-league teams have taken advantage of his presence as an opportunity to make more money. That’s still true.

But, for the first time since Tebow signed with the club, there’s some evidence he could be more than that.

Tebow will continue to be a sideshow no matter how well he performs. But we’re getting to a point where people aren’t going to the see him because they want to laugh. They are going because they’re intrigued.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:13 pm

Details from the spat between Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and broadcaster Dennis Eckersley have emerged, and they paint a dramatic picture. Price reportedly lashed out at Eckersley, and told him to “get the [expletive] out of here,” after the broadcaster made a critical comment about one of Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehab starts.

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Price grew angry after Eckersley responded to a graphic featuring Rodriguez’s stat line from the start by saying “yuck” during one of NESN’s broadcasts, according to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. Eckersley provides color commentary and post-game analysis for the network.

After hearing that comment, Price decided to confront Eckersley on the team plane.

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!”

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!”

Many players applauded.

That sounds like a scene out of every ’80s movie. Price and his group of bad dudes waited to harass Eckersley. Price was basically Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future.”

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s try to break down the encounter by looking at it from both sides.

Eckersley was just doing his job. As an analyst, he’s supposed to be critical and fair when breaking down players. His “yuck” wasn’t directed at Rodriguez, but at his stat line. Rodriguez allowed six runs, five earned, on nine hits over three innings. “Yuck” is an accurate way to sum that up.

You may think that criticism is harsh, but you can’t question Eckersley’s credentials. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher who played 24 years in the majors. During that time, he experienced highs and low just like everyone else. When he’s critical, he’s speaking from experience. Players should respect his opinion. If they can’t, they should at least be able to deal with it respectfully.

David Price is not happy with Dennis Eckersley. (AP Photo)
David Price is not happy with Dennis Eckersley. (AP Photo)

Price is merely sticking up for a teammate in a notoriously harsh media environment. He had Rodriguez’s back, and that likely goes a long way in the clubhouse. The fact that “many players applauded” not only proves that, but also tells you that Eckersley is not well-liked in the locker room.

Price is not the only player to have an awkward run-in with Eckersley either. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. asked for a photo opportunity with the broadcaster in 2015 so that he could take a shot at him on Twitter, according to Shaughnessy.

Huge thanks to @Eck43 for saying all the things I “can’t”do these past few days. People like you is what drives me pic.twitter.com/9KX5CBl78e

— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) August 9, 2015

It’s not just Price who has been frustrated by Eckersley’s comments. It’s multiple players.

Whether they are expressing their frustrations in the appropriate manner is a fair question. Can the Red Sox simply not handle criticism, or is Eckersley being too harsh in his assessments?

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 24, 2017, 6:39 pm

The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to be without the best pitcher in baseball once again. Clayton Kershaw will reportedly be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks with a lower back injury, according to Ken Rosenthal.

That’s the “initial prognosis.” Kershaw is still expected to meet with a doctor to get an official timetable for his return.

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Kershaw was removed from Sunday’s start against the Atlanta Braves after just two innings due to a lower back tightness. He missed 58 games last season with a mild disc herniation in his back. He did not undergo surgery to correct the issue.

The team is calling Kershaw’s injury a lower back strain this time around. Manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw was “day-to-day,” though he’s expected to miss time. The club will plan out a timetable for his return Monday. That timetable could wind up being the reported 4-to-6 weeks that Rosenthal reported.

While no one was entirely certain about the extent of Kershaw’s injury, many seemed resigned to the fact that he would miss some time.

Austin Barnes: “We have a lot of good arms. We’re pretty deep. But you can never replace Clayton Kershaw.”

— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) July 24, 2017

The Dodgers have plenty of depth, but Kershaw is irreplaceable. The 29-year-old was once again on his way to another Cy Young caliber season. Over 141 1/3 innings, Kershaw had a 2.04 ERA. He leads baseball in both categories. He also ranks third with 168 strikeouts.

At 68-31, the Dodgers are in tremendous shape. While there are rumors that the team is in play for Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish, there’s no need for the club to panic and make a desperation trade at this point.

If Kershaw only misses 4-to-6 weeks, he would be back in time for the postseason. The club currently holds a 10.5 game lead in the National League West, so their chances at reaching October still seem pretty strong.

Clayton Kershaw will miss time again with a back injury. (AP Photo)
Clayton Kershaw will miss time again with a back injury. (AP Photo)

It’s also worth noting that the team survived without Kershaw last season. The Dodgers went 34-24 over the 58 games that Kershaw missed. They got through last season, they can likely do the same in 2017.

Still, the injury hurts. Losing the best pitcher in baseball will impact any club. Even if the Dodgers win games, they’ll have to rely more on a lesser player. Maybe he won’t go as deep into games as Kerhaw, causing the bullpen to carry a heavier load. That adds up over the course of 162 games.

As long as Kershaw is fully recovered, the Dodgers’ ultimate goal won’t be compromised. As he proved this season, Kershaw is still the best in the game when he’s healthy. It’s just starting to get concerning that multiple back issues have forced us to add a caveat to his greatness.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 24, 2017, 5:53 pm

Every team has superfans, and while all of them are special in their own way, there was no superfan like Sister Frances Evans. Sister Frances was a nun and possibly the biggest Texas Rangers fan ever, and she sadly died on Friday at age 90.

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While you might think that Sister Frances went to every game at Globe Life Park in a full nun’s habit, she didn’t. (Considering that the stadium doesn’t have a roof and it can get pretty hot there, you can’t blame her.) But she did something at every game that was just as memorable: she would bang on a drum at her seat, which let all the players know that she was there. She was a fixture at the ballpark (she’d been going to games since the Rangers moved to Arlington in 1972), and Rangers staff and players all got to know her — and the beat of her drum.

Derek Holland spent eight years with the Rangers, and even though he’s with the Chicago White Sox now he wanted to pay tribute to Sister Frances. He started with an Instagram post.

Holland’s sentiments are lovely, and as he said in his post, he found another way to remember Sister Frances. Before he started against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday, Holland wrote two names on the back of the pitchers mound: granny, for his grandmother who died this spring, and Sister Frances.

Derek Holland writes
Derek Holland writes “Granny” and “Sister Frances” on the back of the mound at Kauffman Stadium. (MLB.com)

Here’s what Holland told MLB.com about Sister Frances:

“She was at every single game,” Holland told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. “She always had a drum, she would always beat it. It was really cool as a player to hear that — you knew it was her. Unfortunately, she passed away and I wanted to make sure she got the recognition she deserved. Obviously I’m on a different team but respect is where it’s made and she deserves that. My prayers are up with her family and everyone affected by it.”

Holland’s tribute was altogether wonderful, but it also reminds fans everywhere that just because a player leaves a team, it doesn’t mean he stops having connections with that team. Sister Frances meant a lot to Holland while he played there, and even though he’s not with Texas anymore, his tribute showed that the Rangers will always be part of who he is.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: July 24, 2017, 4:38 pm

Catching a home run is definitely a reason to get excited at a baseball game. But what if you caught a home run hit by your favorite team? And the player who hit it happens to be the best baseball player on the entire planet? That would be a reason to go completely insane, right?

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Absolutely right, as one Los Angeles Angels fan showed the world on Sunday. He caught a home run hit by an Angels player, and if a fan loses his mind after catching an Angels home run, you can guess who might have hit it: none other than Mike Trout.

The Angels were at home and facing the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, and down 2-1 in the sixth inning, Trout stepped up to the plate to face Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello. Trout was 0-for-2 coming into that at-bat, but he saw just two pitches from Porcello before hammering the third one into the seats in right center field.

In most cases, a Mike Trout home run is the best part of any highlight. But the fan who caught Trout’s home run is almost better than the homer itself. As the ball sailed into the stands, a few people reached up to get it. One guy had a glove, and one guy was just using his hands. The guy with a glove, who was wearing an Angels jersey, managed to grab the ball out of the air. And once he realized he’d done it, he celebrated like, well, take a look.

The Angels fan who caught Mike Trout's home run was really, really, really excited. (MLB.com)
The Angels fan who caught Mike Trout’s home run was really, really, really excited. (MLB.com)

He completely lost his mind. First he celebrates, because he did a really awesome thing. He jumps and points and does a glove tap with a nearby fan. But then he starts to realize what he really just did, which is catch a Mike Trout home run. And then he grabs his head and says “OH MY GOD” before holding the ball up in the air triumphantly.

And the whole time, this Angles fan is giving us the best expressions ever. He almost literally cannot believe he just did that.

There is no way that kid could have enjoyed the moment more fully. He experienced excitement, disbelief, and triumph in the span of five seconds. Hopefully he was able to pick up the pieces of his shattered brain and enjoy the rest of the game, which the Angles won 3-2. But if he spent the last three innings just staring lovingly at that Mike Trout home run ball, I don’t think anyone would blame him.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: July 24, 2017, 2:47 pm

The Boston Red Sox believe the answer to their third base woes has been in the organization all along. The team finally made the move fans have been clamoring for all year, calling up top prospect Rafael Devers on Sunday.

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Devers will join the team Monday, but he’s not expected to start until Tuesday. His first game will come against the Seattle Mariners.

Devers isn’t just the Red Sox’s top prospect, he’s one of the best in all of baseball. Devers entered the year No. 18 on Baseball America’s top-100 list. He’s raised his stock after hitting .305/.373/.575, with 20 home runs, over two levels this season. He shot up to No. 6 on Baseball America’s midseason July prospect update.

While the bat is considered strong, Devers’ defense is still considered a work in progress.

I asked PawSox manager Kevin Boles about Devers’ defense after today’s game and this is what he said pic.twitter.com/PbYcPteHXO

— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 23, 2017

Scouts do believe in Devers’ defensive potential. They just think he needs more time to develop at the position.

That won’t matter as long as Devers can hit. The Red Sox haven’t gotten any production out of their third basemen this year. The team has received an awful .224/.284/.307 slash line at the position thus far. The team’s 54 wRC+, an advanced stat that measures offensive performance, is easily the worst in the majors at third base.

Boston has used seven different players at third this season. Of that group Deven Marrero, Josh Rutledge and the recently released Pablo Sandoval have played more than 30 games there. Sandoval’s 59 wRC+ was actually the best of that trio.

Rafael Devers is ready to make his major-league debut. (AP Photo)
Rafael Devers is ready to make his major-league debut. (AP Photo)

Losing out on Todd Frazier may have forced the Red Sox’s hand. Frazier was one of the few third base options available on the trade market. Oakland Athletics infielder Jed Lowrie is believed to be available, and is familiar with the Red Sox, but hasn’t played third since 2015. The team either wasn’t interested in a return, balked at the A’s asking price or just figured it was Devers’ time.

If Devers is ready, the Red Sox just found a way to fill their biggest need a no cost. With Eduardo Rodriguez and David Price healthy, the rotation looks much stronger. The team could add another reliever, though they aren’t in a dire situation.

With Devers shoring up third, the Red Sox don’t have much else to worry about. That’s a scary proposition for a team that already leads the American League East by three games.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 23, 2017, 11:54 pm
The Gulf Coast League Nationals had everything working Sunday. (AP Photo)
The Gulf Coast League Nationals had everything working Sunday. (AP Photo)

Throwing a no-hitter is quite the feat. Throughout the history of Major League Baseball, it’s only been accomplished 296 times. While Johnny Vander Meer managed to throw two no-hitters in consecutive starts, no team has ever followed up a no-hitter with another no-hitter in the next game … until Sunday.

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The Gulf Coast League (GCL) Nationals did that in just one day. During a doubleheader against the GCL Marlins, the Nationals threw two consecutive no-hitters.

The GCL Nationals, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are a rookie league club. Since it’s the minor leagues, doubleheaders only run seven innings. On top of that, multiple pitchers combined for the no-hitters in both games.

But those things don’t make the accomplishment any less impressive. As the team, they tossed 14 total innings without giving up a hit. That’s excellent.

The pitchers responsible for the task deserve some recognition. In Game 1, Joan Baez and Jose Jimenez got the job done. Baez went six of the seven inning, walking one and striking out seven. Jimenez came on for the final inning, finishing off the 4-0 win.

In Game 2, Jared Johnson and Gilberto Chu combined to no-hit the Marlins. Johnson tossed four innings, striking out two and walking one. Chu pitched the remaining three, striking out four batters. The Nationals scored one run in the fourth inning, winning 1-0.

Those four ought to pat themselves on the back. They managed something that’s never been done in the majors.

With two straight no-hitters under their belts, the GCL Nationals will have an opportunity to extend that streak soon. The team takes on the GCL Cardinals on Monday.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 23, 2017, 10:37 pm

Some fans will go to great lengths to give their team an edge. Sometimes, it’s as simple as wearing a lucky pair of socks, or sitting in your favorite chair. More desperate fans might ask for divine intervention. We’re even willing to bet some have crafted some shoddily made voodoo dolls.

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If that doesn’t work, there’s always physical violence. That’s exactly what one young Cincinnati Reds fan did to Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon prior to Sunday’s game.

When you’ve only got eyes for the home squad … pic.twitter.com/Os7jWBH1kA

— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2017

Ice cold, kid. Ice cold.

Before we go on, we should state that you should absolutely not try to physically harm a ballplayer because you want to help your team. If you’re reading this, you’re old enough to know that’s stupid. We imagine you’ll also be tackled by security and arrested. No one needs that.

The kid here looks pretty young, so he’s able to avoid all that. He must have been angry that Gordon didn’t play for his favorite team, and responded by kicking Gordon in the right shin.

According to MLB.com, the whole thing was coordinated by the umpire. The kid’s mom told MLB.com the whole thing was planned, and the umpire told the kid to kick Gordon as a joke. She said her son “would never do something like that on his own.”

This Reds fan was not happy with Dee Gordon. (MLB.com Screenshot)
This Reds fan was not happy with Dee Gordon. (MLB.com Screenshot)

Gordon, to his credit, handled it well. He turned away and appeared to be laughing about the whole thing. The ump quickly ushered the kid in another direction. He did look back at Gordon as he walked away. Does that look say “whoops, I hope he’s OK,” or “the next one is going between the legs?” We can’t tell.

If the young fan was trying to help the Reds, it didn’t work. Gordon singled to kick things off. Then, to prove his shin felt fine, he stole second base a few pitches later.

So, that backfired. Next time, the young fan might want to consider killing Gordon with kindness. Confuse your opponent, don’t make them mad.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 23, 2017, 7:42 pm

Houston Astros third baseman Colin Moran suffered a facial fracture after fouling a pitch off his own face during Saturday’s game against the Orioles.

The graphic injury happened during the sixth inning when Moran got a piece of side-armer Darren O’Day’s first-pitch slider. With the pitch getting in deep on Moran’s hands, the contact only served to redirect the baseball into his face where it caught him near the left eye and cheek area.

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Moran suffered a cut below his left eye that immediately started bleeding. There was visible  discoloration around his eye as well, but the extent of his injuries were not known until Sunday morning.

The Astros have placed Colin Moran on the 10-day DL due to a facial fracture suffered in last night’s game.

— Houston Astros (@astros) July 23, 2017

pic.twitter.com/cshfFSAjWw

— FlaccoMachado (@FlaccoMachado) July 23, 2017

At first Moran attempted to get to his feet and walk off the field under his own power, but was unable to maintain his balance. He was seated again and remained on the field until a cart was brought out to take him away.

Colin Moran is carted off the field after sustaining an injury to his face during Saturday's game in Baltimore. (AP)
Colin Moran is carted off the field after sustaining an injury to his face during Saturday’s game in Baltimore. (AP)

While much of the focus was on Moran in the aftermath of his injury, it turned out that at-bat led to more chaos and would ultimately turn the entire game around. All-Star Marwin Gonzalez would step in for Moran, and within a couple pitches would lose his bat into the crowd. A young fan was struck and later spotted with an ice pack to his head. No serious injury was reported.

#Astros Colin Moran leaves after hit with foul ball to face vs #Orioles – kid in same AB leaves, injured by bat from PH Marwin Gonzalez. pic.twitter.com/9ltFlJ0cvm

— Karl Ferron (@lightforall) July 23, 2017

Later still in the battle, Gonzalez would launch a three-run homer that gave Houston the lead for good in the 8-4 victory. The homer was Houston’s first pinch-hit blast this season.

Wow. Gonzalez fouls off four straight 2-strike pitches, then hits next one over flag court for 6-4 lead. Astros first pinch-hit HR this yr

— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) July 23, 2017

It was an at-bat that ran the gambit of emotions, but in the bigger picture everyone is hoping Colin Moran will make a quick and complete recovery, allowing him to contribute further to the Astros.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 23, 2017, 4:54 pm

Welcome to the big leagues, Anthony Banda. This is Bryce Harper, and he’s here to destroy the 3-2 curveball you kindly set on a tee.

The Washington Nationals slugger showed no mercy on Saturday night, greeting the debuting Diamondbacks top pitching prospect with a monstrous home run that easily cleared the pool area at Chase Field and found a home deep in the second deck.

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Harper hit it so hard, and so far, that like Aaron Judge’s home run that nearly left Safeco Field entirely on Friday, there were no initial readings on Statcast.

Bryce Harper’s home run seems to have broken Statcast. Just skipped him. pic.twitter.com/iAHdztgBMr

— Kyle Melnick (@kyle_melnick) July 23, 2017

When Statcast can’t immediately calculate exit velocity and distance on a home run, that means it’s broken and something very bad has happened to a baseball.

Unfortunately for Banda, he was responsible for throwing that baseball. And making the whole thing even more painful, the Arizona broadcast caught his parents reaction to it on live TV.

Bro, you didnt have to do this to that kid in front of his family in his debut @Bharper3407.. pic.twitter.com/2hKaeEC5Cp

— El Trigueño (@AceHudsonJr) July 23, 2017

Yeah, Bryce. Did you really have to?

Apparently he did, but to Banda’s credit he didn’t let it rattle him. The 23-year-old left-hander has a lot of confidence. Otherwise he wouldn’t have started the season as Arizona’s top pitching prospect. And that confidence showed as he didn’t allow that spectacular home run to change his game.

Anthony Banda rubs up a new ball after giving up a home run to Bryce Harper. (AP)
Anthony Banda rubs up a new ball after giving up a home run to Bryce Harper. (AP)

Instead, Banda bounced back and put up zeroes in each of the next four innings. Then in the sixth, Harper struck again, delivering a ground-rule double to score the go-ahead run before scoring on Ryan Zimmerman’s double. Banda would leave one batter later to a standing ovation. His final line read 5 2/3 innings pitched, four runs, seven hits and five strikeouts.

He ended up taking the loss as Washington held on for a 4-3 win, and was demoted after the game as was part of the plan the entire time.

#Dbacks option left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda to the Triple-A Reno @Aces following tonight’s game.

— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 23, 2017

Overall it wasn’t a bad start to Banda’s MLB career by any stretch. And down the road when he thinks back to his debut, he can take solace in knowing the first hit, run and home run were all allowed to the one of the game’s very best.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 23, 2017, 2:42 am
Pablo Sandoval (front) is issued an apology for criticizing the San Francisco Giants after rejoining the organization on Saturday. (AP)
Pablo Sandoval (front) is issued an apology for criticizing the San Francisco Giants after rejoining the organization on Saturday. (AP)

In a scenario no one thought was possible three years ago, Pablo Sandoval rejoined the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. The veteran third baseman, who left San Francisco on bad terms following the 2014 season, officially inked a minor-league deal with his original club.

Many thought Sandoval had burned his bridge with the Giants after he lashed out, charging that the team had disrespected him during contract negotiations leading up to his departure. At the time, Sandoval was pretty comfortable, having just inked a five-year, $95 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.

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Now that his Boston stint has failed — he was released on Wednesday, leaving the Red Sox on the hook for the remaining $49.5 million owed — and there were few options available for Sandoval to consider, he was forced to eat his words and offer an apology, which was released in conjunction with the announcement of his signing on Saturday.

“I have always loved and appreciated the Giants organization, my Giants teammates and the fans of San Francisco. I have so many great memories and I want to thank the organization for giving me another chance to come back here. When I left the Giants in 2014, my comments were emotional, insensitive and misguided and I truly regret and apologize for my actions. I am committed to working hard to contributing to the success of the Giants.”

Speaking to the media, Sandoval added that he wishes he’d re-signed with the Giants in 2014. It was also noted that Sandoval apologized to his former teammates that remain in the Giants clubhouse.

Pablo said he has apologized to his former #SFGiants teammates. “I learned my lesson.”

— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 22, 2017

While we’re sure some will question the sincerity of those apologies, there has to be some degree of satisfaction from Giants fans and maybe even the organization that Sandoval was forced into that position.

Of course, the Giants insist the signing was strictly motivated by baseball.

Bochy on whether signing Pablo is strictly a baseball move: pic.twitter.com/L8kqLubgaV

— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 22, 2017

Honestly, the expectations for Sandoval on the field can’t be too high at this point. In 32 games for Boston this season, he hit a mere .212/.269/.354 with four homers. Beyond that, health has been an issue. Sandoval appeared in only three games for Boston last season and 161 overall dating back to his signing.

Still, there’s really no harm giving him this chance. The Giants are getting him at the cheapest possible rate, and they’re making him prove he deserves a real chance. In he has something left in the tank, a better opportunity could come soon. That’s assuming the Giants trade Eduardo Nunez before the deadline.

For now though, Sandoval is scheduled to report to Class A San Jose Saturday night, before moving on to Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. And it’s his performance there that will likely determine whether this reunion is more than an apology tour.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 22, 2017, 8:00 pm
Rockies All-Star Charlie Blackmon hangs out with his two-year-old superfan Tommy Carlson. (Rockies)
Rockies All-Star Charlie Blackmon hangs out with his two-year-old superfan Tommy Carlson. (Rockies)

Charlie Blackmon has made a lot of new fans thanks to consecutive seasons of elite level play for the Colorado Rockies. Enough, in fact, that he was voted as a starter in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.

But let there be no doubt who his biggest fan is. That title belongs to Tommy Carlson, a two-year-old from Parker, Colo., who is now known in Rockies country as the “Charlie Blackmon Kid.”

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That’s because Carlson recently became an internet sensation after a video of him cheering for Blackmon as he was introduced at the All-Star Game in Miami went viral.

“Charlie Blackmon! He’s here! Charlie Blackmon,” Carlson is heard yelling at the television.

CHARLIE BLACKMON!!! HE’S HERE!!! pic.twitter.com/Bp9O6PPnuO

— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 19, 2017

On Friday, young Tommy wasn’t yelling at the television. He met the man himself after the Rockies and Blackmon set up a meeting with the young fan and his family at Coors Field.

Needless to say, a lot of cuteness and silliness followed. The cuteness came more in the form of shyness from young Tommy. It was a lot to take in seeing the player from his TV screen come to life. He didn’t have much to say, but he wasn’t running away either.

CHARLIE BLACKMON!!! HE’S (ACTUALLY) HERE!!!@Chuck_Nazty pic.twitter.com/gKrUHJw3Z6

— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 21, 2017

Silliness is more Blackmon’s game. He loves to play around a lot and seemed to be right in his element. It made for a perfect scene that will provide lifelong memories for Tommy and his family.

When Tommy met Charlie. pic.twitter.com/PkE0UWQw09

— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 22, 2017

“I’m much more scary in person, I guess,” Blackmon said of the meeting. “He clammed up a little bit, got a little intimidated, I think. But he came over to me right away, which apparently he doesn’t do a lot. There wasn’t a lot of dialogue, but it was fun. It was nice to meet him.

“He’s pretty famous now; I feel like he’s been on TV more than the Rockies have lately.”

That was Blackmon’s way of acknowledging Wednesday’s Rockies game not being televised in Colorado. As a result, Rockies fans missed Nolan Arenado hitting three home runs.

But it does also speak to Tommy Carlson’s fast rise in popularity. He is arguably the Rockies most popular fan right now, and it’s cool to see the team and Blackmon acknowledge him.

BLS H/N: Cut 4

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 22, 2017, 5:55 pm

You may not remember the date, the opponent or even the game itself, because it wasn’t a no-hitter or perfect game. But 20 years ago on this very day — July 22, 1997 — Greg Maddux turned in one of the most masterful and oddly spectacular pitching performances you’ll ever see.

And it was perfectly Maddux in every way.

He threw a complete game against the Chicago Cubs using just 76 pitches. Yes, just 76. Of those, only 13 were balls. He had six strikeouts. Not only did Maddux not walk anyone, he didn’t get into a single three-ball count all day. He only got two balls against a hitter twice — once in the second inning against Sammy Sosa and in the seventh against Mark Grace.

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You might think Maddux could have written a textbook in pitching efficiency that day, but actually, the game was probably moving too quick. The Braves beat the Cubs 4-1 in two hours and seven minutes.

Eddie Perez, who was Maddux’s personal catcher at the time and now the Braves’ first-base coach, remembers the game well.

“We didn’t pay attention to pitch count back then,” Perez said. “Now, it’s right there in every ballpark. We didn’t have that, especially not in Chicago.

“The eighth or ninth inning, that’s when I was like ‘Oh my God, we’re almost done.’” Perez said. “We walked into the clubhouse and someone said ‘Wow, he only threw 76 pitches.’ Really? I know it was somewhere in that area, but not that low.

“After the game we could hear Leo Mazzone, he was the pitching coach at the time, yelling ‘That wasn’t 76, that was 74.’ ”

History has it down as 76, Mazzone’s objections be damned. The TV broadcast at the time said 78 pitches. They clearly didn’t track pitches like we do today. Nonetheless, only six times in baseball history has a complete game been thrown with fewer pitches than Maddux’s 76. Jose Bautista — no, not that one — threw a 70-pitch complete game shutout in 1988. More recently, Aaron Cook threw a 74-pitch complete game for the Rockies in 2007 and Carlos Silva also went 74 pitches for the Twins in 2005.

Greg Maddux throwing one of his 76 pitches in a complete game on July 22, 1997. (Getty Images)
Greg Maddux throwing one of his 76 pitches in a complete game on July 22, 1997. (Getty Images)

But Maddux has a rep for these things. He was known for working quick, throwing strikes and not getting over 100 pitches too often. There’s even a stat named after him — The Maddux — for when a pitcher throws a shutout with fewer than 100 pitches. Maddux did that 13 times during his career.

When we asked Perez, “how the heck did Maddux throw a complete game with 76 pitches?” He had a couple ideas. First, it was the first game of a doubleheader. Neither team was being too patient.

“People knew he threw a lot of strikes,” Perez said. “They’re going up there swinging the bat. They’re not going take a pitch because they know it’s going to be a strike.

“We knew we had another game and wanted to play quick.

“If he pitched in this era right now,” Perez said. “It would be different, because he’d have to wait for TV. He only threw fives pitches to warm up between innings. Now he’d have to wait.”

So get this: Maddux threw seven pitches in the first inning and then seven in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He really labored in the fourth inning — that was when he surrendered the one run — and threw 12 pitches. By contrast, Jake Arrieta, who wasn’t too bad for the Cubs on Friday, threw 97 pitches through six innings. He gave up five hits and two runs. Back in 1997, Maddux also gave up five hits.

Greg Maddux and catcher Eddie Perez, circa 1998. (Getty Images)
Greg Maddux and catcher Eddie Perez, circa 1998. (Getty Images)

One of those hits is the other reason Perez remembers this game so well. It came off the bat of Cubs pitcher Geremi Gonzalez, just 22 at the time, who threw seven innings that day. Perez and Gonzalez were friends.

“I remember, he was joking around,” Perez said. “He told me, he was going to get a hit. He was very cocky. And he did. He was laughing on first base.”

Gonzalez died in 2008 after being struck by lightning in Venezuela. He was 33 and two years removed from pitching in the big leagues. But getting a hit off Maddux was something Gonzalez was always proud of.

“He would always tell everybody about this game,” Perez said. “He would always say ‘I got a hit against Maddux.’ ”

The other four guys to get hits that day off Maddux: Third baseman Tyler Houston, shortstop Shawon Dunston, second baseman Ryne Sandberg and first baseman Mark Grace.

Grace and Sandberg make for a fun comparison. Grace saw more pitches from Maddux than anybody — 15. That accounted for 19 percent of the pitches that Maddux threw. Sandberg? He saw five pitches total in three at-bats.

“He’s a brilliant, brilliant pitcher,” Grace told the Associated Press that night. “If my life depended on one game, I’d want him to throw it.”

Twenty years ago on this date, Greg Maddux would have saved some lives.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 22, 2017, 3:16 pm
Ari Schultz met his hero, Xander Bogaerts, and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez last week. (AriEcho ofHope)
Ari Schultz met his hero, Xander Bogaerts, and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez last week. (AriEcho ofHope)

Ari Schultz, the 5-year-old Red Sox fan and heart-transplant recipient who inspired millions when his video celebrating leaving Boston Children’s Hospital went viral, has died.

In a heartbreaking Facebook post, his family announced that Ari had died peacefully while listening to his beloved Red Sox on Friday night.

(Facebook)
(Facebook)

Ari spent 189 straight days in the hospital preparing for and recovering from his heart transplant. It was on day 187 that he found out he would be going home, and the pure joy on his face was bright enough to light up Fenway Park. He celebrated by breaking out his best Xander Bogaerts impression, rounding the bases after hitting a “two-run homer.”

The Red Sox were aware of the video and were quick to invite Ari and his family to Fenway Park. Ari learned just last week that he was invited to throw out the first pitch before Boston’s game on Aug. 27.

Sadly, that moment will never come, but Ari did get a chance to hang out with his hero, Bogaerts, and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez last Thursday.

The Red Sox were among the first to offer condolences to the Schultz family.

Some fans make an instant impact on our team. Ari Schultz, with his optimism & unbridled excitement, is at the top. We’ll miss you, Ari. pic.twitter.com/MIQrbE7ZZ7

— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 22, 2017

In his all too short life, Ari Schultz managed to inspire so many people with, as the Red Sox put it, his optimism and unbridled excitement. His smile was infectious. His passion for baseball took all of us back to the days when we first fell in love with it. But it was his unwavering positivity in the face of adversity that made him a hero to all who knew him.

It hurts that he’s gone, but there’s so much he’s left behind that we can take with us and use to make us better people.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 22, 2017, 5:28 am

Aaron Judge hit a ball so far Friday night that it nearly left Safeco Field in Seattle.

In the top of the 5th inning against Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Andrew Moore, Judge released a monster shot into the left-field stands. The very back row of the left field stands, to be exact.

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Saying that his first home run since his Home Run Derby victory went to the last rows in Safeco and nearly left the building wouldn’t give it justice. You have to see it with your own eyes.

Aaron Judge's goes deeeeeeep at Safeco Field. (AP)
Aaron Judge’s goes deeeeeeep at Safeco Field. (AP)

Unlike Judge’s ball that hit the roof of Marlins Park during the Home Run Derby in Miami, this home run counted. But it couldn’t exactly be measured. MLB’s Statcast system, which usually pumps out data in quick order after a homer, wasn’t able to spit out any info on Judge’s homer. In fact, the Statcast log just skipped Judge’s homer.

@statcast you guys okay? pic.twitter.com/prMPiAr4e2

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 22, 2017

Got the official @Statcast on that last Aaron Judge home run. pic.twitter.com/wvXQpIXxg7

— Beamer (@HokiesFan4NYY) July 22, 2017

Judge hadn’t homered in eight games, so maybe this was just the rookie letting off some much-needed steam. With his now MLB-leading 31 home runs, it’s probably safe to say Judge is no longer in a slump.

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Author: Lorrie Reyes
Posted: July 22, 2017, 4:46 am

All of the punishments have been served stemming from the Memorial Day brawl that was ignited when Giants reliever Hunter Strickland fired a pitch at Nationals star Bryce Harper. Unfortunately, there’s one player still dealing with the physical toll that altercation dealt him, and it’s possible it could ultimately spell the end of his playing career.

According to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, veteran Michael Morse is still feeling symptoms from a concussion he sustained while colliding with teammate Jeff Samardzija amid the fray. Morse was diagnosed and placed on the concussion disabled list the following day, and nearly two months later is no closer to being cleared for a return.

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Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle on June 23, Morse said he had little recollection of what happened on Memorial Day, and that goes beyond what happened on the field. At that time, he noted he was feeling better, but there were still lingering symptoms, such as dizziness when his heart rate increased and headaches.

A concussion suffered during the Nationals-Giants Memorial Day brawl may spell the end of Michael Morse's career. (AP)
A concussion suffered during the Nationals-Giants Memorial Day brawl may spell the end of Michael Morse’s career. (AP)

For awhile, Morse was driving to Stanford for therapy and testing. Now he’s headed back home to Florida, where Bochy indicated Morse could be forced to make a decision on his future.

Bochy said Morse is back at home in Florida, still recovering. At some point, “he’ll have to make a decision.”

— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 21, 2017

It’s a shame any time we hear about concussions and any type of injury impacting the career of an athlete. But it’s a gut punch in Morse’s case because of the circumstances surrounding it.

There’s a lot of blame being thrown in Hunter Strickland’s direction for his part in igniting the altercation. Understandably so. But a lot of guys made the conscious decision to get involved, perhaps feeling it was their duty to show solidarity with their teammates. One of those was Morse, and unfortunately he’s now an example of the dangers that are involved.

Michael Morse (left) right after his collision with teammate Jeff Samardzija. (AP Photo)
Michael Morse (left) right after his collision with teammate Jeff Samardzija. (AP Photo)

At the time, Buster Posey received some criticism for not getting involved. That died down quickly once we learned of Morse’s concussion. Given Posey’s concussion history, this should cement that his decision to not risk his health was the correct one.

Whether people agree with that or not isn’t really important right now. It’s a debate for another time, as is the debate over whether or not baseball “brawls” should be accepted still as part of the game. Right now, the focus and the well wishes should be on Michael Morse, who we hope will get back to normal sooner than later, with or without baseball.

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 22, 2017, 3:16 am
Will Yoenis Cespedes find his way back to Oakland before his career is over? He hopes so. (AP)
Will Yoenis Cespedes find his way back to Oakland before his career is over? He hopes so. (AP)

Yoenis Cespedes made a big commitment to the New York Mets over the winter, agreeing to a four-year, $110 million contract. But according to Cespedes himself, that doesn’t mean New York will be the final stop in his career.

In fact, before the Mets took on the Oakland Athletics at Citi Field on Friday night, Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the preferred final chapter of his playing career would take him back where it all began: Oakland.

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“I wish that happens,” Cespedes told the Chronicle of finishing his playing days with Oakland. “I told (Jerry) Blevins (his former A’s and current Mets teammate), ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.”

Cespedes was signed as an amateur free agent by Oakland prior to the 2012 season. He made his debut later that same year, and would spend the first two-plus seasons of his MLB career with the A’s before being traded to Boston at the 2014 deadline. He was then traded to Detroit the following winter.

In between, Cespedes grew to love the city of Oakland. He’s also clearly developed a deep appreciation for the opportunity the A’s gave him. Enough, anyway, that he’s comfortable making it public that bringing his career full circle in Oakland is a higher priority than finishing with the Mets.

“I still love the A’s, they were the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues,’ Cespedes said. “I love Oakland all the time.”

That’s a lot of love for Oakland, with nary a word about New York. We’re guessing that won’t sit well with some Mets fans. Some might even be quick to assume Cespedes has already checked out if he’s planning for life after New York. That’s clearly not the case. When healthy and even at times when he clearly isn’t healthy, Cespedes is on the field as often as possible when cleared to be there.

Cespedes was also clear about his respect for Oakland manager Bob Melvin, calling him the best he’s played for in MLB.

“I tell my guys here all the time that he’s the best manager for me so far,” Cespedes said. “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin.”

It’s not really a dig at Mets manager Terry Collins, but it’s enough to make you stop and think. It adds another layer to a story that’s already awkward.

It’s anybody’s guess how this will ultimately play out, or if it will even be remembered next month, let alone when Cespedes’ contract runs out following the 2020 season. A lot of time these types of stories blow away faster than they blow up. And besides that, there’s a lot of baseball to be played, a lot of questions that will have to be answered, and a lot of opportunity for minds to be changed.

In the here and now though, it perfectly fits the tone of a Mets season where there’s always something simmer that just doesn’t feel right.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 22, 2017, 12:29 am

Jerry Dipoto is up to his old tricks again. The Seattle Mariners GM, who made more trades last winter than any MLB team in the last 20 years, has pulled off trades on back-to-back days as we approach baseball’s trade deadline.

On Thursday, he acquired Miami Marlins reliever David Phelps, who has some solid peripherals, but isn’t exactly the key to a long-lost playoff berth in Seattle. The cost? Four minor leaguers, including Brayan Hernandez, who was Seattle’s No. 6 prospect.

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On Friday, Dipoto dealt Seattle’s No. 3 prospect, power-hitting outfielder Tyler O’Neill, to the St. Louis Cardinals. A somewhat surprising move, since O’Neill has hit 75 minor-league homers since the start of the 2015 season. Their return? Marco Gonzales, a 25-year-old pitcher, who has played in parts of three MLB seasons, most notably in 2014. He sports a 5.53 ERA in 10 career appearances and will report to Triple-A, according to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times.

It’s not uncommon this time of year to see contending teams trade their prospects for proven big leaguers that can get them over the hump and into the postseason. But Seattle’s deals haven’t exactly done either of these things. The Mariners are within striking distance of the wide-open AL wild card, but at 48-49, they’re just as likely to flame out as they are to charge into the postseason. And their return in these trades isn’t exactly earth-shattering.

Which makes us wonder: What the heck are the Mariners doing here?

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto keeps making trades. (AP)
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto keeps making trades. (AP)

To that point, a few thoughts:

• Maybe Dipoto feels the playoff pressure. The Mariners haven’t made the postseason since 2001, the longest such streak in MLB, which puts the pressure on Dipoto to do the best he can when he sees a lane in front of him. The AL West isn’t really that, as the Houston Astros have a 16-game lead on the Mariners. The wild card might be. The Mariners are 2.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. Totally possible. But they’re also one of six teams within five games of the Yankees, who hold that second spot. So lots of traffic in that lane.

• Maybe Dipoto sees something we don’t. After the Phelps trade, the Mariners GM talked about how expensive starting pitching is right now. The Jose Quintana trade proved that. The Mariners need arms, but don’t really have the assets to get a Sonny Gray or Justin Verlander or even a lesser-priced starter. In Phelps, Dipoto sees a reliever who can handle multiple innings or even start one day. What if one day is September? In Gonzalez, the Mariners are getting a pitcher who has been hyped — he’s a former first-round pick — but he’s not atop the list of trade-deadline difference-makers. He’s been sharp in Triple-A this season, with a 2.90 ERA in 11 starts, but that’s a long way from helping the Seattle rotation next week. Unless, of course, Dipoto sees something we don’t.

• Maybe the Mariners soured on O’Neill. It happens, right? While he ranks well on the team’s overall prospect list and fans seemed excited about him, O’Neill didn’t crack Baseball America’s midseason Top 100 list after being No. 38 at season’s start. He has 19 homers and 56 RBIs so far this season in Triple-A, but his batting average is down almost 50 points, from .293 to .244. His on-base percentage took a similar dip. Prospects are always a gamble. So in effect, the Mariners are just gambling on a different one now.

Tyler O'Neill, the Mariners No. 3 prospect, is headed to St. Louis. (AP)
Tyler O’Neill, the Mariners No. 3 prospect, is headed to St. Louis. (AP)

• Maybe the Mariners are just in this weird spot where they have to hedge their bets. When Dipoto made over the roster last winter, he added 18 players from different organizations to the 40-man roster. It became a running joke on social media that Dipoto just couldn’t stop making trades. But the Mariners are in a weird place. Their core — Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Felix Hernandez — is aging. The best year for those guys to make the playoffs is right now. But the Mariners also have Kyle Seager, James Paxton and Jean Segura who are closer to their prime. So Seattle is neither a win-now team or a rebuilding team in the traditional sense of the word. With the Astros having a firm grasp on the division and the Mariners playing for, at best, a one-game playoff, Dipoto can’t exactly mortgage the future for 2017. So he’s left to make peculiar, smaller moves to get players he believes can help the Mariners in small increments be better than the Royals and Yankees and the rest of the wild-card hopefuls. He wants to help the roster, but he wants players who aren’t rentals too, players who can help for the long-term. That’s a tough trade-deadline balancing act.

It was said before the season that the Mariners were trying to build a team in the mold of the Kansas City Royals from a couple years ago. A team that, you’ll remember, was kind of funky and constructed in a way that pundits had a hard time figuring out. But a team that won it all.

Guess we’ll see if Jerry Dipoto’s old tricks look genius come September and October.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 21, 2017, 7:30 pm

If catching a ball at a game is a baseball fan’s dream, dropping one has to be a nightmare. Instead of plucking the ball out of thin air and getting a rousing ovation from the fans, the ball literally slips through your arms while the fans around you make that sad, disappointed “AWWH” sound.

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On Thursday, one San Francisco Giants fan experienced that nightmare. He dropped a foul ball, and his drop was even featured on the broadcast. But thanks to one of the Giants announcers, the fan didn’t leave sad and empty handed. And it was all because of a jersey.

This mini-saga began in the eighth inning. Hunter Renfroe was batting with two outs and he sent a pitch foul, behind him toward the first base side. It rose to the upper level of seats, and a fan wearing a Duane Kuiper jersey had the perfect opportunity to snag it. He reached his arms out, and the ball almost fell right in. But the ball had a different plan. It bounced off his wrist and then his right arm before ricocheting away and out of reach, falling down to the lower level.

This Giants fan was pretty sad after a foul ball bounced out of his arms. (MLB.com)
This Giants fan was pretty sad after a foul ball bounced out of his arms. (MLB.com)

To say this fan was devastated feels like an understatement. When the ball bounced beyond his grasp, he slammed down his furry Giants hat and curled up in his seat. Here’s a gif, thanks to MLB.com’s Cut4.

We can all relate to that feeling, right?

Well don’t relate for long, because here’s where his jersey comes into play. Giants announcer and former player Duane Kuiper saw the incident, and saw what jersey that poor guy was wearing. So Kuiper went to the upper level, snuck into the seat next to the foul ball guy, and handed him a signed baseball. And the dude was absolutely ecstatic.

Via Cut4

http://www.giphy.com/gifs/3oeHLCDsYkaBlazwm4

The cherry on top of all this? On the broadcast, Kuiper said he signed the ball “Nice Catch,” which is amazing. Foul ball guy got gift-trolled by Duane Kuiper! But I’m sure he wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: July 21, 2017, 3:34 pm

Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was found dead at his home Thursday morning. Investigators are treating his death as an apparent suicide. He was 41.

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On Thursday, Los Angeles Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle kicked off his pregame routine by paying tribute to Bennington with a rendition of the song “Numb.”

.@DieterRuehle honoring @linkinpark‘s Chester Bennington. pic.twitter.com/UrAkSFTQ6U

— Sue Jo (@suejo825) July 21, 2017

He wasn’t the only member of the team to do that. Starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy changed his warmup music to Linkin Park’s “Figure 09” prior to the 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

mccarthy warming up to linkin park was a nice gesture pic.twitter.com/rZwlMlHe8e

— 7 (@SevenCostanzaa) July 21, 2017

McCarthy’s Linkin Park fandom extends back to at least his time with the Texas Rangers. In an ESPN the Magazine article from 2013, McCarthy said he would listen to the band to help him deal with rough outings.

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Brandon McCarthy changed his warmup music to a Linkin Park song for Thursday's game. (AP Photo)
Brandon McCarthy changed his warmup music to a Linkin Park song for Thursday’s game. (AP Photo)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 21, 2017, 4:53 am

It is often said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. There’s a reason for that. Even the best hitters fail seven out of 10 times at the plate. Baseball can be a pretty cruel game.

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Toronto Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins got a nice reminder of that during Thursday’s 8-6 win over the Boston Red Sox. Goins somehow found a way to ground out on a pitch that nearly hit him in the head.

In the top of the fifth inning, Goins stepped in against reliever Fernando Abad. On the first pitch, Abad lost control of a changeup. Instead of going over the plate, it made its way near Goins’ head.

Fearing he was about to get hit in the face, Goins turned his body away from the plate. As Goins was bailing out of the batter’s box and going to the ground, the ball ran inside, made contact with the bat handle and weakly bounced toward the pitcher’s mound.

Abad scooped up the ball and casually threw it to first base. Hanley Ramirez seemed a bit shocked about the development, taking a few seconds before stepping on the bag for the out.

All Ryan Goins could do was smile after his unusual groundout. (Getty Images)
All Ryan Goins could do was smile after his unusual groundout. (Getty Images)

Goins never left the batter’s box. He remained seated in the dirt while the whole play unfolded. After he was called out, Goins couldn’t help but crack a smile. It was equal parts “are you kidding me,” mixed with a strong dose of “just my luck.”

That’s seems like the appropriate response. Hitting is hard enough as it is. When something unexpected like this happens, all you can do is smile and hope for the best with your next opportunity.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 21, 2017, 3:03 am

Losing on a walk-off hit is demoralizing. Players can go through the full range of emotions in an instant. One second, a win is within reach. The next, you’re leaving the field full of disappointment.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have experienced quite a bit of that lately. Over the past seven games, the Cardinals have lost on a walk-off hit three times. While every walk-off loss hurts immensely, Thursday’s loss to the New York Mets was especially crushing.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, both teams were tied 2-2. Jose Reyes, who is hitting .231/.294/.394, stepped in with men on first and third. A hit would win the game.

On the first pitch from Trevor Rosenthal, Reyes hit a ground ball to first baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter was playing deep, and had to range to his left to reach the ball. He fielded it cleanly, cocked his arm to throw to first and … did nothing.

Rosenthal failed to cover the bag after Reyes made contact. Since he wasn’t over near first, Carpenter had to try and beat Reyes to the base. He couldn’t get there in time. Reyes slid into first and the run scored from third. The Cardinals lost 3-2.

Trevor Rosenthal forgot to cover first on Jose Reyes' walk-off hit. (Getty Images(
Trevor Rosenthal forgot to cover first on Jose Reyes’ walk-off hit. (Getty Images(

Carpenter was not happy about the play after the game.

Carpenter, on Rosenthal’s lapse: “That just can’t happen. You can make errors. You can strike out. But you can’t do that. He knows that.”

— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) July 20, 2017

While it’s not a shock that a player would be frustrated after a loss like this, it’s somewhat surprising Carpenter called out Rosenthal for the error. Had Rosenthal immediately run over to first, the Cardinals would have made it out of the inning. The game could have gone to extras, and St. Louis would have had an opportunity to pick up a win.

At 46-49, it’s been quite a disappointing year for the Cardinals. Thursday’s loss might explain why that’s the case. If you can’t execute the basic fundamentals of the game, you probably aren’t a great club.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 21, 2017, 12:13 am

If you grew up in the ’90s, you know Alyssa Milano. But did you know that the actress who we saw grow up on “Who’s The Boss?” is a huge baseball fan?

You might have, actually. She’s one of the more famous baseball fans out there. Her clothing line, Touch by Alyssa Milano, is all about baseball, because she wanted to give women fashionable gear to wear featuring their favorite teams.

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So when we saw Milano at the MLB All-Star Game in Miami, we just had to open some baseball cards with her for our 25-Year-Old Baseball Cards series. She’s a diehard Los Angeles Dodgers fan — and she explains in our interview — so she had her eye out for Dodger blue. It took a while, and a trade, but she left with a card that made her happy.

Alyssa Milano supported her Dodgers at the All-Star Game. (Yahoo Sports)
Alyssa Milano supported her Dodgers at the All-Star Game. (Yahoo Sports)

If you’re new to this series, we open baseball cards from 25 years ago with baseball people and famous fans. It all started with unopened boxes of cards, sitting in my garage that my grandma bought when I was kid. They’re not worth anything, so we put the junk wax to good use in this video series. Check out some of our previous episodes if you dug this one:

Previously in 25-Year-Old Baseball Cards
MUST-SEE EPISODESBronson Arroyo | Eric Davis | Dusty Baker | Hank Azaria | Alex Rodriguez | Scott Boras | A.J. Ellis

MANAGERS/COACHESTerry Francona | Joe Maddon | Bruce Bochy | Clint Hurdle | Buck Showalter | Brad Mills | Bob Melvin

CURRENT PLAYERSNoah Syndergaard | Kyle Hendricks | Clayton Kershaw | Todd Coffey | John Axford | Dee Gordon
STARS FROM BACK IN THE DAYFrank Thomas | Sandy Alomar Jr. | Delino DeShields | Cliff Floyd | Dan Plesac | Aaron Boone | Bobby Bonilla | Andre Dawson

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 20, 2017, 11:45 pm

The Juice, as they say, is loose. O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday in Nevada, meaning he’ll be free by October. Around the time the verdict came down, Kato Kaelin was angry on Twitter.

But it had nothing to do with O.J. and everything to do with the Milwaukee Brewers. Seriously.

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You remember Kato, right? The houseguest who turned into one of the cast of characters America grew to know on a first-name basis throughout the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Kaelin was a witness back then. These days, he’s just a witness to a baseball team that’s free-falling out of first place.

The Brewers — from Kaelin’s hometown of Milwaukee — lost a Thursday matinee 4-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was the Brewers’ fifth straight loss and it dropped their lead atop the NL Central to one game. Kaelin, like every Brewers fan, wasn’t too happy about this development.

Quick hello 2everyone! I apologize @Brewers if my passion takes over but I WANT A WINNER & we continue to not get better! Need pitchers now

— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) July 20, 2017

.@Brewers it’s really really sad –

— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) July 20, 2017

And that’s nothing compared to the Twitter rant Kaelin went on Wednesday night when the Brewers lost. He sent eight tweets in an hour including these gems:

U SUCK @Brewers U JUST FN SUCK! U will NEVER BE A CONTENDER! It’s what the management does best! NOTHING! I can’t stand u

— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) July 20, 2017

If anyone says it’s a fn rebuilding year u are 4ever blocked on Twitter @Brewers – REBUILDING 4 EVER- we just SUCK WE ALWAYS CHOKE

— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) July 20, 2017

13 strikeouts @Brewers -this is so AWFUL! They won’t be wildcard team & blowing the chance to win division. Broxton & Thames must b traded

— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) July 20, 2017

Why Counsell sucks @Brewers 1) he plays Thames 4k’s 2day He can’t motivate- after all star break we HAVE SUCKED. It’s FN OVER! We R PUKEPUKE

— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) July 20, 2017

We’ve seen a lot of baseball fans get mad online in our day but “We R PUKEPUKE” is a new one. Congrats, Kato.

And, hey, let’s all admit that if you’re Kato Kaelin, getting mad about your favorite baseball team is way better than getting caught up in another O.J. drama.

O.J. Simpson at his parole hearing Thursday and Kato Kaelin circa 1995. (AP)
O.J. Simpson at his parole hearing Thursday and Kato Kaelin circa 1995. (AP)

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 20, 2017, 8:31 pm

The Kansas City Royals desperately need to rebuild. The prospects who came up and helped the team win a World Series title are grown up now, and set to depart once their contracts expire at the end of the season. With the Royals currently one game under .500, it seems like the perfect time to start selling off assets.

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But maybe that’s not the case. Despite all those issues, the team sits just two games behind the Cleveland Indians for the American League Central lead and two games out of the AL’s second wild-card spot. A rebuild might be inevitable, but it doesn’t need to start now.

The biggest argument in favor of the Royals tearing everything down has to do with some prominent players hitting free agency at the end of the season. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Jason Vargas will all hit the market in a few months. Hosmer and Cain have priced themselves out of the team’s plans. The same is probably true with Moustakas. Conventional thinking says the team ought to deal them now and get something of value in return.

As the J.D. Martinez trade showed, the market for players on expiring contracts might not be all that strong. The general consensus is that the Detroit Tigers sold way too low on Martinez. It’s possible the team could have held out and demanded more, but this also may have been the best offer on the table. The Royals could trade away their guys for younger players, but picking up elite prospects may not be an option.

Given the current state of the Royals’ system, that might not be enough anyway. The Royals don’t have many prospects of value at the moment. The team didn’t have a single player make Baseball America’s top-100 prospect update.

The farm system needs a lot of work. While getting a few lower-level prospects might help, the Royals still wouldn’t have enough to start forming a core similar to the one that helped them win the World Series.

Even if you assume a best-case scenario – one in which the Royals land one or two strong prospects – it’s unclear how much that improves their situation. If those players reach the majors by 2019, they’ll be flanked by Danny Duffy, Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy. That’s not exactly an encouraging group.

The Royals are going to require a major overhaul. There’s no quick fix here. Because no team is going to give up loads of elite prospects for players on expiring contracts, the Royals might as well push off the rebuild for a couple more months and give their current core one more chance at glory.

The Royals might want to go for it one more time. (AP Photo)
The Royals might want to go for it one more time. (AP Photo)

Admittedly, the 2017 Royals are not a good team. Their offense ranks 27th in runs scored and 26th in wRC+, an advanced stat that measures offensive performance. Their starting pitchers rank 14th by ERA. Their relievers ranks 15th. They’ve been outscored by 40 runs.

But it’s not as though their competition is bullet proof. The Tampa Bay Rays have emerged as a legitimate wild-card threat, but the team is relying on career years at the plate by Logan Morrison, Steven Souza Jr. and Corey Dickerson. That trio may keep it up the entire season and push Tampa Bay to the playoffs, but they also lack a track record.

The New York Yankees appear to be going for it with the acquisition of Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, but the rotation remains a big question. Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery have been great, but fatigue could set in. Masahiro Tanaka has an ERA over 5.00. The team just lost Michael Pineda.

There are five other teams within four games of that second wild-card spot: The Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers. All are in the same position as Kansas City.

With no obvious standout in the wild card race, the Royals might as well go for it. While the Royals wouldn’t have much to part with in a scenario where they are buying, they only need modest upgrades to improve their situation. The Mariners were able to do that Thursday, picking up reliever David Phelps for four lesser prospects. It’s possible the Royals can try for something similar.

Going all-in is a risk. If the Royals miss out on the postseason, the decision to buy will be viewed as a massive failure. But it’s not going to set the team back much further.

The Royals have known this time was coming. Their window is closing. Their former prospects are ready to leave. With the system barren, the team might as well make one more run at the playoffs.

The rebuild in Kansas City was always going to be long and painful. It will be much easier to handle if the club is coming off another postseason appearance.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 20, 2017, 5:16 pm

After getting a rare day off on Tuesday, Nolan Arenado came back firing on all cylinders on Wednesday, becoming only the ninth player in MLB history to hit home runs in three consecutive innings in an 18-4 win against the Padres.

Unfortunately for local fans of the Colorado Rockies, they were not able to witness his dominant performance, because AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain — known until last week as Root Sports — was taking the day off from broadcasting.

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As Stephanie Asptein of Sports Illustrated notes, the Rockies exclusive television affiliate only broadcasts 150 games per year. That’s the second fewest among all 30 teams, and Wednesday’s afternoon game didn’t make the cut. That means Rockies fans not at Coors Field missed out on Arenado tearing up Padres pitching as Colorado completed a much-needed three-game sweep.

Arenado, who earlier this season completed a cycle with a walk-off home run, had arguably the best offensive game of his already excellent career right here. Overall, he finished 5-for-6 while matching a career best with seven RBIs. The three homers were a career best.

Nolan Arenado (right) gets a hug from Carlos Gonzalez after hitting one of his three home runs in Wednesday's 18-4 win against the Padres. (AP)
Nolan Arenado (right) gets a hug from Carlos Gonzalez after hitting one of his three home runs in Wednesday’s 18-4 win against the Padres. (AP)

Arenado’s afternoon built to a crescendo. He started by collecting mere RBI singles in the first and second innings. In the fourth, he started Colorado’s six-run rally with a solo home run against Clayton Richard. In the fifth, he connected for another solo homer, this time against reliever Mike Quackenbush. Then in the sixth, Arenado capped his trifecta fittingly with a three-run home run against Quackenbush.

By this point, fans were desperate too see if Arenado might become the 18th player in MLB history to hit four homers in a single game.

NOLAN ARENADO MIGHT HIT FOUR HOME RUNS IN A GAME AND NOBODY IN COLORADO WILL SEE IT
THE YEAR IS TWO THOUSAND AND SEVENTEEN

— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 19, 2017

Arenado would bat again in the eighth inning, but not even MLB Network bothered breaking into its coverage to give Rockies fans a look. Instead, they listened in as Arenado’s fly ball to left field was hauled in for his lone out of the day.

Had Arenado got to four homers, we can only imagine the discontent fans would have shared.

Even without the fourth homer though, this was a pretty special day. Manny Machado was the most recent MLB player to homer in three straight innings. That happened on Aug. 7, 2016 against the White Sox. Before that, Kevin Mench of the Texas Rangers was the last all the way back in 2005.

Worth noting, there’s one other Rockie on this exclusive list.

Nolan Arenado is the first #Rockies player to homer in three straight innings since Andres Galarraga on June 25, 1995.

— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) July 19, 2017

Rockies fans haven’t had much to complain about this season. Their team is currently holding the top wild card spot in the National League, and it still feels like there’s room for improvement. But we understand how missing a game like Wednesday’s can be frustrating.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 20, 2017, 4:57 am
Pablo Sandoval is reportedly ready to rejoin the Giants. (AP)
Pablo Sandoval is reportedly ready to rejoin the Giants. (AP)

When Pablo Sandoval left San Francisco following the 2014 season and blasted the Giants on his way out, it appeared a bridge had been burned forever. Two and a half years later, that bridge has been miraculously reconstructed, allowing Sandoval the opportunity to return to the city he helped win three World Series championship.

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According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, Sandoval is coming back to the Giants on a minor league deal. He will report to Triple A Sacramento in the coming days, where he’ll be evaluated for a potential return to the Giants.

The reported agreement comes hours after Sandoval was released by the Boston Red Sox. There’s some confusion about whether Sandoval would be forced to clear release waivers. That would be a lock to happen with Sandoval due to make $49.8 million through the end of the 2019 season, so the path appears clear regardless of the technicalities involved.

Sandoval became expendable even with the Red Sox lacking any real alternatives. The 10-year veteran was granted his release 10 days after Boston designated him for assignment, meaning the Red Sox were unable to find a willing trade partner during the time frame. Boston will remain on the hook for the remaining $49.8 million.

The dead money won’t be a huge problem for Boston. It will however serve as a reminder of how dreadful Sandoval’s two and a half year stint was. The Red Sox are expected to upgrade at third baseman before the trade deadline. A deal for Todd Frazier appeared to be in place as recently as Tuesday, but the rival Yankees swooped in to land him.

The Giants, meanwhile, just need healthy bodies and production. It’s unclear how much Sandoval can provide at this stage in his career. He hit .212 in 99 at-bats for Boston this season, but perhaps a return to San Francisco would be enough to rejuvenate both sides. It’s a risk worth taking for an organization that needs cheap options to make up for its own share of bad contracts.

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 20, 2017, 12:56 am

Giancarlo Stanton is not a happy camper. The star outfielder vented his frustrations over the Miami Marlins recent play following a 10-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, which dropped them to 1-5 following the All-Star break and 11 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East.

“If you can’t win a series against the worst team in the league; there’s not much going for you, right there,” Stanton told MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro after the game.

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Even after winning two of three in Miami, the Phillies hold the league’s worst record at 32-61. They’re not likely to be much of a spoiler for teams that are truly contenders, which is why Miami absolutely had to win if there were any hopes of turning it around before the July 31 trade deadline.

To Stanton’s credit he did everything he could to help Miami right the ship. He finished the three-game series with four home runs, but received very little help as the Marlins wrapped up a listless home stand.

Giancarlo Stanton is quickly losing his patience with the Marlins. (AP)
Giancarlo Stanton is quickly losing his patience with the Marlins. (AP)

Losing two of three to baseball’s worst team was enough to push Stanton to his breaking point, but there’s no doubt these feelings have been stewing for awhile. It’s only natural when you consider the team has disappointed, and as a result Stanton’s name and several of his teammates names have been floated around in trade rumors.

As is always the case in Miami, it seems they are on the verge of a fire sale, and with the team itself set to be sold there’s not a lot of certainty for anyone currently involved in the organization.

For Stanton in particular, this could be a key time in his career. He’s currently signed to a 13-year, $325 million contract, but he holds a lot of power over where his career will go in the next few years. He holds a full no-trade clause, and also has an opt-out following the 2020 season. If he’s not liking what he’s seeing on the field or hearing from the organization, this might be the first clear indication he’s reached the point where he’s ready to move on.

Stanton’s comments alone won’t increase the likelihood of a trade. But they add another layer to a story that was already worth watching before July 31.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: July 19, 2017, 11:48 pm

MIAMI — It’s impossible to ignore baseball’s crop of young stars these days.

There’s Aaron Judge’s MVP-quality first half, Bryce Harper’s 2017 revival, Cody Bellinger’s unexpected rookie success, Carlos Correa looking like an MVP candidate before his injury, Lance McCullers Jr.’s breakout season, plus Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager’s ability to do everything well. They’re all part of perhaps baseball’s greatest era of young talent.

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We’ve watched these young players grow from highly coveted prospects to franchise-changing stars. They’re not just potential stars anymore. They’re actual stars. You could see that right in front of your eyes at the MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami — whether it was Judge’s Home Run Derby performance or Lindor’s style as he paraded around the clubhouse-level of the stadium. The new generation is here and it’s only getting better.

As we talked to All-Stars last week in Miami, we thought about a different way to discuss MLB’s amazing crop of young talent. We talked to some veteran All-Stars and asked them which young players impress them the most and which ones they don’t want to face.

We’re specifically talking about the players in their early 20s. For this query, Bryce Harper — who is 24 and now in this sixth season — might actually fit the “veteran” tag. (Fun sidenote: Did you know Judge is older than Harper?) You can see what players had to say in the Yahoo Sports original video above.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has earned the respect of veterans around MLB. (AP)
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has earned the respect of veterans around MLB. (AP)

The name that came up the most probably won’t surprise you. It’s Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, 23, who won Rookie of the Year last season and is the second-most valuable shortstop in the league this season behind only Correa, who is 22 himself.

No matter the choice — from “young veterans” like Harper or young stars like Correa, Seager and Bellinger — it’s pretty clear that the next decade of baseball is going to be fantastic to watch.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 19, 2017, 11:26 pm

The MLB trade deadline is off to exciting start and we’ve still got a week and a half left. On Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks got J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers and the Yankees traded for Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from the Chicago White Sox. That followed last week’s deal where the Sox sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

The deadline isn’t until July 31, so there are still many deals to be made.

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So for this week’s Big League Stew roundtable, our crew put on its GM caps and dreamed up some trades that would make sense for both teams. These aren’t predictions — we’re not saying they’re going to happen, but we do think they’d be smart moves.

Which team will land A's pitcher Sonny Gray? (AP)
Which team will land A’s pitcher Sonny Gray? (AP)

Sonny Gray to the Cubs for Kyle Schwarber and two prospects
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer always have some tricks up their sleeve. Even after giving up Eloy Jimenez to acquire Jose Quintana from the White Sox, I fully expect them to strike again by landing either a top reliever or, preferably, another young and controllable frontline starting pitcher.

One name that fits the bill is Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray. The 27-year-old right-hander has been linked to several teams, but he makes sense for the Cubs for several reasons. Chief among them is the fact he’s under team control through the 2019 season. Beyond that he’s likely to be available at a cheaper price than Chris Archer. Not that Gray will come cheap. But the Cubs want to be ready for the likely departures of Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. They’d also be wise to prevent him from landing somewhere with another contender like Milwaukee, Los Angeles or even Houston.

Kyle Schwarber going Oakland’s way would make a lot of sense too. He should be a much better fit in the American League, and the A’s would love to add a young hitter with some upside. Schwarber has looked lost this season, but Oakland would provide the opportunity to develop without always being under a microscope. (Mark Townsend)

It's time to see if the Pirates finally trade Andrew McCutchen. (AP)
It’s time to see if the Pirates finally trade Andrew McCutchen. (AP)

Andrew McCutchen to the Rockies for at least one top prospect
With the Pittsburgh Pirates two games under .500, it’s time to revisit trading outfielder Andrew McCutchen. After a slow start, the 30-year-old has recovered to hit .291/.380/.514, with 17 home runs, this year. He’s back, and it looks like the Pirates did a good job holding him during the offseason. His value might be higher now.

We all thought the Rockies outfield was crowded at the beginning of the year, but that’s no longer the case. Carlos Gonzalez has been awful, Ian Desmond’s power has deserted him and David Dahl has dealt with injuries. If the Rockies believe their winning ways are more than a one year fluke, McCutchen works. He has an option at a reasonable $14.5 million in 2018. He would be a good replacement for Gonzalez – whose contract is up at the end of the year – and he’ll come cheaper.

The Rockies might have the pieces to get something done, too. The team has four players on Baseball America’s updated top-100 list. They would have to part with at least one of them to secure McCutchen. The team currently holds the second wild card spot in the National League. Grabbing a star like McCutchen could ensure they reach the postseason for the first time since 2009. (Chris Cwik)

Could the Pirates cut ties with Gerrit Cole and accelerate a rebuild? (AP)
Could the Pirates cut ties with Gerrit Cole and accelerate a rebuild? (AP)

Gerrit Cole to the Astros for a boatload of prospects
It would seem silly to even suggest this a couple years ago, but the Pittsburgh Pirates may be inclined to trade ace Gerrit Cole soon and the Houston Astros should be lining up to get him. Cole, 26, is a former No. 1 pick who hasn’t yet delivered on the hype but shown glimpses of the pitcher he could be. The Astros are the best team in baseball, with a great starting lineup, but what they could really use to pad themselves for postseason success is another top-flight pitcher to complement Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr.

With Cole, the Astros wouldn’t just get a rental, but a pitcher who is under contract through 2019. That’s worthwhile because the Astros aren’t just going to be good this season. With Carlos Correa, George Springer and McCullers under team control for many more years, the Astros’ window is wide. Cole won’t come cheap, but the Astros farm system is deep enough to pull off a move like this. And if the Pirates can cash in on Cole and McCutchen, they could turn into the NL version of the White Sox. (Mike Oz)

Pat Neshek is a free agent after this season but could be a valuable rental. (AP)
Pat Neshek is a free agent after this season but could be a valuable rental. (AP)

Pat Neshek to the Brewers for a handful of minor leaguers
Some teams hit the bullpen lottery in the offseason, and some teams, well, don’t. At the trade deadline, you can see who those lottery losers are because they’re all desperately searching for bullpen relief. It’s not the sexiest thing, but as Cleveland proved during the 2016 postseason, you need a decent bullpen to make it far. The Phillies traded for Pat Neshek in the offseason, and he’s been lights out ever since (1.17 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 38.1 innings). But with the Phillies well on their way to a 100+ loss season, they don’t need him.

The Brewers, who took a big step forward in their rebuild this year, need some bullpen help. The trade would make sense for both sides. Neshek has been great, but he’s 38 and in the last year of his contract. He’s a great choice for a team who can’t afford to spend or give up too much. The Brewers need help, but not at an exorbitant cost. And if they like him, the Brewers could sign him to another year, or they could let him go to play the open market. He’s a cheap rental for a team trying make that competitive leap, but he could also become part of their future plans. (Liz Roscher)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: July 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

It took 20 seasons, but we found the one thing that will force Bartolo Colón to leave baseball: Pitching for the Minnesota Twins.

The 44-year-old Colón told Marly Rivera of ESPN that he has considered retirement, and may make that decision based on how he performs in his next start.

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We here at The Stew aren’t in the business of drawing up odds, but we would put our money on Colón’s next start being his last. Unless the Twins alter their rotation, Colón will face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. The Dodgers are fifth in the majors in run scored this season.

Colón has been dreadful this year. In 14 starts, Colón has an 8.19 ERA. He’s allowed 100 hits in just 67 innings.

If this is it for Colón, he’ll leave behind a strange legacy. Early on in his career, Colón was a fireballer who could eat up innings. He contended for the Cy Young award a few times before winning it in 2005.

Bartolo Colón could call it quits after his next start. (AP Photo)
Bartolo Colón could call it quits after his next start. (AP Photo)

Things started to go downhill in 2006. Colón posted a 5.11 ERA during an injury-riddled year. He would continue on that path until 2009. Colón started 12 games for the Chicago White Sox that season, posting a solid 4.19 ERA. But he mysteriously disappeared from the team during the year. He was out of baseball in 2010.

Colón returned at 38, and suddenly appeared to turn things around with the Oakland Athletics. Most of it was due to a change in approach. Colón basically threw nothing but 88 mph fastballs, but was able to command the pitch well and cut the ball enough to be effective. It was almost too good to be true. Colón was hit with a 50-game suspension in 2012 after testing positive for a heightened level of testosterone.

That didn’t scare off the New York Mets. The team took a chance on Colón, and he produced solid numbers over three seasons, even making the All-Star Game as a 43-year-old in 2016. With the Mets, Colón became a fan favorite. He also earned the nickname “Big Sexy.”

Fans knew Colón’s age would catch up to him at some point. Father Time remains undefeated, after all. While many will mourn his probable exit, they shouldn’t. Colón not only lasted 20 season in the big leagues, but did so despite some significant hurdles. He’s had one of the most fascinating careers in recent memory.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 19, 2017, 7:05 pm

We had no idea the Houston Astros were such big fans of “Game of Thrones.” Just two days after the club held a funeral service for designated hitter Carlos Beltran’s glove, they decided to bring it back to life.

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For the first time since May 16, Carlos Beltran will play the outfield on Wednesday.

The glove lives.
$1
CLOSED
11:30am
⚾️ 1:10pm
@ATTSportsNetSW
@SportsTalk790 & La Nueva 94.1
https://t.co/kgGZvf8YcC pic.twitter.com/k1FjK5dJ8l

— Houston Astros (@astros) July 19, 2017

“Game of Thrones” Season 6 spoilers to follow in the next paragraph. Skip it if you’re not caught up.

The death of Carlos Beltran's glove didn't last long. (Getty Images)
The death of Carlos Beltran’s glove didn’t last long. (Getty Images)

Yeah, Beltran’s glove stayed dead about as long as Jon Snow. And we can’t help but note how much it feels like we’ve been trolled here. The entire team held a funeral service Monday, complete with fake gravestones and Brian McCann in black robes (or a black Snuggie). Just two days later, manager A.J. Hinch brought it back. We feel misled, kinda like when Kit Harrington and the “Game of Thrones” producers insisted Jon Snow was dead for months only to bring him back after two episodes.

The Astros have played two games since Beltran’s mitt was put to rest. Initially, the returns seemed promising. In the first game after the memorial service, Beltran went 2-for-4, hitting his 12th home run of the season. Things didn’t go as well in Game 2. Beltran went 0-for-3, but reached base on a walk.

Baseball, much like “Game of Thrones,” is unpredictable. While Beltran suddenly turning things around after his glove was brought back to life would make a good narrative, that seems too convenient.

In true George R.R. Martin fashion, this is just probably setting the glove up for another cruel and painful death a few weeks from now.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 19, 2017, 5:13 pm
Aerial view of Cal Ripken Jr.'s home, which you can buy for just under $10 million. (Zillow)
Aerial view of Cal Ripken Jr.’s home, which you can buy for just under $10 million. (Zillow)

Cal Ripken Jr., the “Iron Man” himself, is selling his Reisterstown, Maryland mansion. When a famous ballplayer sells his house, it’s a chance to get a glimpse of where our favorite stars hang (or hung) their hats.

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And Ripken’s estate is a doozy. On sale for $9.75 million, it’s a 26,000 square foot home that sits on 26 acres. It has six bedrooms, 15 (!) bathrooms and a slew of incredible, impressive amenities. With more than 100 photos on the Zillow listing, it takes awhile to get through it all. So here’s our list of the 8 best features in Ripken’s insane house.

8. Screening room

The interior of Ripken's luxury screening room. (Zillow)
The interior of Ripken’s luxury screening room. (Zillow)

A fancy movie screening/media room is par for the course in big houses like Ripken’s, and his is gorgeous. But how many have their own glassed-off box office?

In case Ripken feels like taking tickets when he shows a movie, he has a ticket window built into the entrance of his screening room. (Zillow)
In case Ripken feels like taking tickets when he shows a movie, he has a ticket window built into the entrance of his screening room. (Zillow)

It looks like a real (but tiny) movie theater, situated in the middle of Ripken’s house.

7. Pool

Cal Ripken's pool, with a pool house, torches, deck furniture, and a statue of a boy playing baseball. (Zillow)
Cal Ripken’s pool, with a pool house, torches, deck furniture and a statue of a boy playing baseball. (Zillow)

Of course Ripken has a pool at his house, but how many pools have a statue of a small boy holding a bat, getting ready to hit a baseball?

6. Basketball court

The Ripken estate has an amazing basketball court. (Zillow)
The Ripken estate has an amazing basketball court. (Zillow)

This huge basketball court is amazing, but it’s just the start of the sports-themed features in Ripken’s home.

5. Fitness center

The fitness room at the Ripken mansion is well stocked. (Zillow)
The fitness room at the Ripken mansion is well stocked. (Zillow)

Usually hotels and apartment complexes have fitness centers, but calling this an exercise room seems woefully inappropriate. Like everything else in this house, it’s gigantic, and it’s got pretty much anything in it that you could ever want to exercise on/with.

4. Baseball-style clubhouse

If Ripken wanted to field a baseball team at his house, he could put them in his custom clubhouse. (Zillow)
If Ripken wanted to field a baseball team at his house, he could put them in his custom clubhouse. (Zillow)

Just in case Cal wanted to relive his playing days, he built a clubhouse, complete with lockers and a wall-mounted TV, into his house. Who knows how or even if he ever used it, but imagine Ripken sitting there with a few old baseball buddies after playing a friendly game.

3. Baseball diamond

Of course there's a baseball diamond at Cal Ripken's house. (Zillow)
Of course there’s a baseball diamond at Cal Ripken’s house. (Zillow)

But where would Ripken and his buddies play that friendly game? At the baseball diamond Ripken had built onto his 26-acre estate. And in case anyone didn’t know who it belonged to, there’s a rock engraved with 2131, Ripken’s consecutive games record, sitting right at the side.

2. Batting cage

The batting cage in Ripken's house is pretty sweet. (Zillow)
The batting cage in Ripken’s house is pretty sweet. (Zillow)

Honestly, it would be hard to imagine that Cal Ripken’s house wouldn’t have its own batting cage. There’s a clubhouse and a baseball diamond, so a batting cage just makes sense. And the room is enormous, coated in netting and divided into two. It’s a baseball nut’s dream.

1. Training room

Need to recover after a long day of sports? This training room should do the trick. (Zillow)
Need to recover after a long day of sports? This training room should do the trick. (Zillow)

So after a full day of hanging in the clubhouse, playing on the diamond, hitting in the cage, shooting hoops and doing a little free-range exercise, how do you recover and reset yourself? By taking in a soak and getting a massage in the incredible training room. There are two full-size athletic soaker tubs and a massage table, and if you get a little thirsty there’s a Budweiser cooler within arm’s reach.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: July 19, 2017, 5:04 pm
Rookie the bat dog plays fetch instead of grabbing the bat. (Twitter/@RailRidersTT)
Rookie the bat dog plays fetch instead of grabbing the bat. (Twitter/@RailRidersTT)

If you’re looking for the most harmonious partnership between dogs and baseball, you don’t need to go any farther than Trenton, New Jersey. The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, employ a bat dog named Rookie. His job? To fetch bats when players are done using them, of course!

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On Tuesday night, Rookie got a temporary “promotion” and was visiting the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. And maybe it was dog nerves, or maybe it’s that Rookie is, in fact, a dog, but for just a second he forgot that his job is to grab the bats.

Rookie the Bat Dog doesn’t grab the bat, still does something awesome. pic.twitter.com/UIJt236O2C

— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) July 19, 2017

He didn’t even run toward the bat, which was on the first base side. He made a beeline for the pitcher, who didn’t hesitate before giving Rookie the baseball in his hand. Rookie started trotting away, but then the umpire threw the pitcher a new ball, and Rookie saw it and wanted that one, too. Rookie then ran off the field, leaving the bat boy to grab the abandoned bat on the field.

It was all so adorable! And you can’t fault Rookie for acting like the puppy he is. He just wanted to play fetch with the pitcher, which is something that dogs love to do. It held up the game for a minute, but who would mind a minuscule delay for a chance to see a dog and a pitcher play a short round of unplanned fetch in the middle of a baseball game?

Rookie is the third generation of this dog family to work as a bat dog. His dad, Derby, works as the main bat dog for the Thunder, and he was also at Tuesday night’s game. They are both descended from Chase, the original bat dog, who served for 11 years until he died in 2013. And I’m sure Chase would agree that every bat dog makes mistakes sometimes, even if the mistake is just acting like a puppy seeing something he wants to play with.

Plus, Rookie is still learning. According to the Trenton Thunder’s website, he works only in the first inning as he’s still “perfecting his craft.” Perfecting or not, Rookie is still a very, very good dog.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: July 19, 2017, 3:00 pm

The New York Yankees are going for it. They boosted their lineup and the backend of their bullpen in a trade Tuesday with the Chicago White Sox that’s sending slugger Todd Frazier and relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx.

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Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago was first to report a deal was close, with multiple national reporters later saying the same. The White Sox announced it was a done deal shortly after their game with the Los Angeles Dodgers ended.

#WhiteSox have acquired Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin, Tito Polo & Tyler Clippard from NYY in exchange for Frazier, Kahnle & Robertson.

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 19, 2017

The White Sox (38-52) were already in full rebuilding mode and this adds to their minor-league riches, as the Yankees send Chicago a package that includes outfield prospect Blake Rutherford (New York’s No. 3 prospect) and left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin (No. 19). Big-league reliever Tyler Clippard is also reportedly in the deal, as is outfielder Tito Polo.

Rutherford ranks No. 30 in MLB.com’s overall top prospect list. Getting him gives the White Sox five of the top 30 prospects, including No. 1 overall Yoan Moncada and No. 6 Eloy Jimenez, and 10 in the top 100. The White Sox, acting quickly once the trade became official, called Moncada up to the big leagues.

David Robertson and Todd Frazier are headed to the Yankees. (AP)
David Robertson and Todd Frazier are headed to the Yankees. (AP)

The third-place Yankees (47-44), a surprise contender this season, are trying to stay viable in the AL East as the rival Boston Red Sox (52-42) try to open a bigger lead atop the division. The Tampa Bay Rays (50-44) have recently surged into second place.

The deal gives the Yankees one thing they covet and one thing they need. The Yanks of recent years love having a potent backend bullpen. With Dellin Betances struggling as of late and closer Aroldis Chapman not quite his dominating self this season, the Yankees now have another pitcher with closer experience in Robertson. They’re familiar with Robertson after he pitched for them from 2008-2014, taking over as closer when Mariano Rivera retired. Kahnle, 27, also has a 2.50 ERA in 37 games this season out of the White Sox bullpen. Robertson is under control through 2018 and Kahnle is arbitration eligible in 2018, which gives the Yankees more controllable assets as they look to contend again next season.

Frazier, who is due to be a free agent at season’s end, has some pop in his bat (he’s hit 16 homers this season and 40 last year) but his .207 batting average might be a drain. Frazier can play first and third base, which is more important to the Yankees now that first baseman Greg Bird might be out the rest of the season.

There’s another advantage for the Yankees here too: The Red Sox were said to be interested in both Frazier and Robertson. So this move could, in theory, put twice as much pressure on Boston.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 19, 2017, 4:05 am

Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor who finds himself getting lambasted frequently, caught a foul ball at Tuesday night’s New York Mets game. Like most things involving Chris Christie, it probably didn’t end the way he was hoping.

It was a pretty slick move for Christie, catching the ball on a quick hop from his seat near home plate.If you’re thinking that might have finally gotten Christie some props, the answer was … NOPE.

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Once the Citi Field fans saw who caught the ball, the boos were swift and loud. Here’s a clip from the broadcast of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, who would eventually beat the Mets 5-0:

Chris Christie caught a foul ball at Citi Field, then got heavily booed and dunked on by a dopey play-by-play guy pic.twitter.com/n2GpN0EEQd

— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) July 19, 2017

Nope, no love for Christie there. He’s made himself a target for some people of New York and New Jersey, going back to the Bridgegate controversy and, more recently, when he closed a New Jersey beach only to be spotted hanging there himself.

The latter provided fodder for Cardinals play-by-play man Dan McLaughlin, who responded with this zinger:

“Nice to see him get from the beach here to the ballpark.”

Usually when a fan catches a foul ball, it’s cause for celebration. In Chris Christie’s case, it was a reason to get owned. Twice. To Christie’s credit, however, he gave the ball to a kid seated near him.

Chris Christie celebrates after catching a foul ball at Tuesday's Mets game. (MLB.TV)
Chris Christie celebrates after catching a foul ball at Tuesday’s Mets game. (MLB.TV)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: July 19, 2017, 2:24 am

The suites at Major League Baseball’s All-Star game are unquestionably filled with important people — team owners, ex-baseball stars, celebrities, millionaires. But the most important people in the stadium suites last week at Marlins Parks in Miami were six families who were treated to a VIP All-Star experience from MLB and Make-A-Wish America.

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The six families got to spend the entirety of MLB All-Star week — the All-Star Futures Game, the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game itself — in a suite provided by MLB, and the six Make-A-Wish kids got facetime with MLB All-Stars during the Home Run Derby.

Their faces lit up as they saw their baseball heroes right before their eyes, hitting homers in batting practice while also signing autographs and telling stories.

Ben Koch with Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. (Yahoo Sports)
Ben Koch with Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. (Yahoo Sports)

One kid in particular was Ben Koch, a 14-year-old from New York, who suffers from Adrenoleukodystrophy (or ALD), a deadly brain disorder that affects approximately 1 in 18,000 people. His brother died from the same disease.

Ben is a huge baseball fan — especially a New York Yankees fan — so his wish was to attend the All-Star game. Ben follows the game closely and knows a lot about young players from other teams, even local rivals, the New York Mets.

“The experience is crazy,” Koch told Yahoo Sports, “because I’m on the same field with all my heroes.”

Yahoo Sports followed Ben throughout his Make-A-Wish journey at the All-Star game to produce the feature video you see above. To help other kids like Ben realize their dreams, you can donate to Make-A-Wish.

The Make-A-Wish families who attended the MLB All-Star game. (Yahoo Sports)
The Make-A-Wish families who attended the MLB All-Star game. (Yahoo Sports)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: July 19, 2017, 1:17 am

The Arizona Diamondbacks are capitalizing on their hot first half. The team decided to go all-in Tuesday, acquiring outfielder J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

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Martinez, 29, is hitting .305/.388/.630, with 16 home runs over 232 plate appearances this season. His contract is up at the end of the year, so he’ll try to push Arizona to the playoffs before becoming a free-agent.

At 53-39, the D-Backs currently hold the top wild card spot in the National League. Martinez should replace Daniel Descalso, who is currently filling in for an injured Yasmany Tomas. The team could put Martinez in left, or move David Peralta to right if they want to keep Martinez in his usual spot.

J.D. Martinez is on his way to Arizona. (AP Photo)
J.D. Martinez is on his way to Arizona. (AP Photo)

The move gives Arizona another exceptional hitter at the top of its lineup. Martinez will team up with Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Peralta and AJ Pollock to give the D-Backs a fearsome 1-5 in the batting order. Both Brandon Drury and Chris Owings are also producing strong numbers at the plate, so it’s not like opposing pitchers can sleep on the rest of the lineup.

In return, the Tigers received prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King from Arizona. At 22, Lugo is the oldest of the bunch. The third baseman entered the year as the team’s No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America. That ranking is more a reflection of Arizona’s system, and less about Lugo’s talents. Lugo did not make the publication’s top-100 list coming into the year, and he didn’t appear on the July update. He’s hitting .282/.325/.428 in Double-A.

Alcantara is hitting .279/.344/.362. The 21-year-old shortstop has spent most of the year in Class A Advanced. King the youngest of the trio. The 18-year-old is hitting .261/.333/.348 in 51 games in rookie league ball. Neither player was listed among the team’s top-30 prospects coming into the year by Baseball America.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 18, 2017, 10:46 pm

The Houston Astros have met their first real challenge of 2017. All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa will miss 6-to-8 weeks after tearing a ligament in his thumb during Monday’s game.

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Correa injured himself during a swing attempt during the fourth inning of the team’s 9-7 loss to the Seattle Mariners. He had to leave the contest in the middle of the at-bat.

Correa was diagnosed with a jammed thumb after the game, but the team said he would have the injury evaluated Tuesday. That evaluation revealed the torn ligament. Correa will undergo surgery to repair it.

Correa said the injury is “obviously disappointing.”

Carlos Correa will have surgery on his thumb, he says in this video.
“It’s obviously disappointing,” Correa said. pic.twitter.com/47bQ9H5c7Q

— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 18, 2017

The loss is significant for Houston on the field. Correa is putting up MVP-caliber numbers this season. The 22-year-old is hitting .320/.400/.566, with 20 home runs, over 375 plate appearances.

A torn ligament in his thumb will put Carlos Correa on the sideline for a few weeks. (AP Photo)
A torn ligament in his thumb will put Carlos Correa on the sideline for a few weeks. (AP Photo)

While the Astros will miss his production, they may not have to make a huge move to replace Correa. The team leads the American League West by 15.5 games. At 62-31, they are easily the best team in the American League. Even without Correa they should be just fine.

Still, it might behoove them to make a small add as the deadline approaches. While Correa should return a few weeks before the playoffs, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some insurance. If Correa has a setback or struggles once he returns, Houston will appreciate having someone dependable at short.

It’s possible an acceptable replacement could come from within the organization. The team called up 24-year-old infielder Colin Moran from Triple-A on Tuesday. Moran is hitting .308/.373/.543, with 18 home runs, over 338 plate appearances this season.

He ranked 61 on Baseball America’s top-100 prospect list in 2014, but hasn’t appeared on the list since. Moran has only played three games at short in the minors, so the team will have to get creative with its roster in order to replace Correa and get Moran in the lineup.

Correa’s injury comes as a blow, but happened at the right time. He will be back by the postseason and that’s all that matters. At full strength, the Astros have proven to be close to unbeatable this season. That’s still on the table come October.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Posted: July 18, 2017, 8:31 pm

On the surface, there’s nothing all that special about Tuesday’s game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds. Sure, the D-backs are a strong team, but the Reds are not. If you aren’t a fan of either club, we wouldn’t shame you for watching another contest.

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But if the pitching matchup is any indication, it should provide some must-see television. Robbie Ray will take on Sal Romano. Ray has been pretty excellent this year, but Romano has only started two games.

So, what so special here? Well, it’s Ray vs. Romano. It’s Ray Romano. Remember him? Everybody loves him.

The Diamondbacks/Reds pitching matchup has us intrigued. (Yahoo Sports)
The Diamondbacks-Reds pitching matchup has us intrigued. (Yahoo Sports)

We wouldn’t normally explain “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but after Cody Bellinger’s recent flap with “Seinfeld,” we feel compelled to give some details. “Everybody Loves Raymond” was a popular sitcom that ran from 1996 to 2006 on CBS. It starred, you guessed it, Ray Romano, among many others. It was a comedy. You can probably still catch some reruns somewhere.

Is Tuesday’s pitching matchup an incredibly dumb observation? It is! Is going with “Everybody loves” the easy joke to make? It is! Are we entertained by the simple wordplay? We are!

We have a few more questions. Will everybody actually love the game? Of course not. One team has to lose and both pitchers could perform poorly. Will Ray Romano attend the contest? Probably not, but our fingers are crossed. What’s Ray Romano up to these days? He’s in the movie “The Big Sick,” which is getting some pretty excellent reviews right now.

No matter what happens, we’re at least mildly amused. On top of that, we know there are more possible pitching matchup puns out there. You can investigate those on your own, but we’ll point out that you can do a lot with Chris Sale.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: July 18, 2017, 6:32 pm

Click here to join MLBTR Live Chat With Jason Martinez: July 26, 2017
Author: Jason Martinez
Posted: July 26, 2017, 11:28 pm
It’s a top-heavy market for left-handed relief help this summer, though there are still a few names of interest beyond the top available relievers. Sean Doolittle and Ryan Buchter are the biggest names to change hands thus far, though fellow lefties Tyler Webb and Travis Wood have also changed teams. Here’s a look at the…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 11:09 pm
White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia has been diagnosed with a strained ligament in his thumb and will be placed on the DL, per a team announcement. Garcia will miss approximately two weeks with the injury, tweets MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. CSN Chciago’s Chuck Garfien tweets that Garcia will undergo an MRI for further evaluation. A corresponding move…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 9:22 pm
The Cubs have designated lefty Brett Anderson for assignment after activating him from the 60-day DL, per a club announcement (via Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, on Twitter). Over the winter, the Cubs added the 29-year-old on a $3.5MM deal, wagering that he might return to something like the form he showed in 2015, when he…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 7:33 pm
The Phillies have placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the 10-day DL with a hamstring injury, per a club announcement. His roster spot will go to Aaron Altherr, who was activated from his own time on the disabled list. The move likely eliminates Nava as a possible trade piece. He had seemed to be a possible…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 7:00 pm
The Nationals are “scouring [the] market” for a starter, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). We have heard varying suggestions on this front, as the Nats deal with the loss of Joe Ross and newfound uncertainty regarding Stephen Strasburg. While the latest signs on Stras are positive, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:49 pm
Reds infielder Dilson Herrera will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his right shoulder, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. The procedure is expected to bring Herrera’s season to an end, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (via Twitter). Herrera has tasted the majors previously, during his time with the Mets,…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:17 pm
With less than a week until the non-waiver deadline, Mets right fielder Jay Bruce has yet to attract any serious attention on the trade market, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig. The $4.83MM remaining on Bruce’s contract this season might be enough to allow Bruce to clear waivers in August, Carig notes (that sum would be…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:11 pm
TODAY: Milwaukee has announced the swap, making it official. YESTERDAY: The Brewers and White Sox have reportedly agreed to a trade that will send right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak from Chicago to Milwaukee in exchange for 25-year-old infield/outfield prospect Ryan Cordell. After signing a minor league deal with a $900K base salary this offseason, the 31-year-old Swarzak…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:01 pm
The Royals are “in talks” with the Blue Jays on starter Francisco Liriano, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Kansas City has been rumored to be looking at starters even after striking a deal to add Trevor Cahill from the Padres. The club may also have some interest in Jays righty Marco…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:20 pm
The Rays have placed righty Jake Odorizzi on the 10-day DL, per Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). A lower-back issue is the cause for the placement. Odorizzi says he has dealt with lower back troubles since the spring, as Mooney further reports (Twitter links). The hope is he’ll only miss a pair…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:02 pm
The Red Sox will designate lefty Luis Ysla for assignment, Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com tweets. His 40-man spot will go to just-acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez. Boston will also make two other adjoining moves. Righty Ben Taylor is headed to the disabled list, while fellow reliever Blaine Boyer will return from his own time on the…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 26, 2017, 12:43 pm
The Red Sox made their first addition of the summer on Tuesday night, acquiring infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Giants in exchange for minor league right-handers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos. Both teams have announced the deal. Word of the swap first leaked out after Nunez was shown leaving the Giants’ dugout to a series of hugs from…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:31 am
10:41pm: Slusser writes that the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Indians, Pirates and Royals all had scouts on hand to watch Gray’s start tonight. She adds that the Yankees “are making a strong push” for Gray but also calls the Astros “one of the frontrunners” for Gray despite their lack of a scouting presence at tonight’s…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:41 am
The Astros outrighted left-handed reliever Ashur Tolliver off the 40-man roster earlier today, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros have yet to formally announce the move and have not announced a corresponding move. An offseason waiver claim from the Angels organization, the 29-year-old Tolliver appeared in just three big league games and…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:23 am
The Tigers have several players known to be available, and ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter) that the team is currently exploring trade scenarios involving multiple players as a means of clearing some salary off the books. That would mesh with a recent report from Olney’s colleague, Jerry Crasnick, in which Crasnick reported that Detroit…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:31 am
The Rockies are looking to upgrade behind the dish and are interested in Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan’s colleague, Thomas Harding, reports that the Rox also have some interest in Braves backstop Kurt Suzuki and Tigers catcher Alex Avila. All three of the options listed are set to hit free…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 26, 2017, 1:08 am
Veteran outfielder Justin Ruggiano has opted out of his minor league deal with the Giants, tweets Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. The 35-year-old had been playing with the team’s Triple-A affiliate. San Francisco also bumped reliever Reyes Moronta from Double-A to Triple-A, and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the righty,…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 25, 2017, 11:09 pm
The Brewers and White Sox are in talks about a trade that would send right-hander Anthony Swarzak from Chicago to Milwaukee, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). After signing a minor league deal with a $900K base salary this offseason, the 31-year-old Swarzak has broken out with the best season of his career.…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 25, 2017, 10:11 pm
The Nationals announced today that right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who exited with a potential injury in his most recent start, had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated,” as Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post tweets. Earlier in the day, skipper Dusty Baker had told MASNsports.com’s Dan Kolko that Strasburg is feeling better and may actually…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 25, 2017, 9:55 pm
The Cardinals have announced that center fielder Dexter Fowler will go on the 10-day DL with a wrist strain. His spot on the active roster will be taken by outfield prospect Harrison Bader, who earns his first MLB promotion, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggested was in the works. It’s not known…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 7:42 pm
Click here to read a transcript of Tuesday’s live chat with MLBTR’s Steve Adams.
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 25, 2017, 7:05 pm
Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro has changed agents, moving his representation to Barry Praver of Magnus Sports, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Also making the switch is top Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In Castro’s case, he likely won’t be up for any contract negotiations for a few more years — unless…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 6:30 pm
Let’s catch up on a few recent minor transactions: Blue Jays lefty Jeff Beliveau has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, per a club announcement. He had been designated for assignment recently after posting rough results over 19 MLB innings. The 30-year-old did manage 9.8 K/9 during his time in the majors, and was striking out…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 6:04 pm
We checked in already today on one key factor for the pitching market: the availability of Rangers righty Yu Darvish. And we have just provided an overview of the remaining arms that could be available this summer. Here are some more notable pieces of information with a week to go until the trade deadline: The Nationals…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 4:39 pm
With one week to go until the non-waiver trade deadline, we have seen the market move already. Jose Quintana is the best starter to change hands, and just yesterday Jaime Garcia and Trevor Cahill found new homes. More will likely join them, as the list of teams on the lookout for rotation help is sizable.…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 25, 2017, 3:41 pm
There’s still some apparent tension in the Rangers’ stance regarding ace Yu Darvish. The veteran righty is now available for the taking, per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, but only in the “right deal.” The situation was framed somewhat differently just last night by MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, though perhaps it’s just another way of stating the same takeaway. As…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 2:08 pm
As things stand right now, the Rangers are leaning against dealing star righty Yu Darvish, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. That could still change with an “overwhelming” offer or a total collapse in the standings, he notes. There’s still no clarity in the American League Wild Card picture, and the Rangers remain as plausible a contender…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 6:32 am
The Angels have placed righty Alex Meyer on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. He’s said to be dealing with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Thus far in 2017, the Halos have been anything but blessed when it comes to pitching health. Meyer, 27, joins a long list of starters on the DL. Hopefully…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 3:52 am
The White Sox have signed veteran righty Danny Farquhar, Scott Merkin of MLB.com tweets. Triple-A Charlotte has confirmed the move, while also announcing the releases of catcher Carson Blair and righty Bobby Parnell. Chicago has been looking to add veteran arms to the ranks at Charlotte as it continues to oversee a rummage sale with…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 3:21 am
MONDAY: In addition to the Rockies and Cubs, the Nationals are said to be “expressing strong interest” in Ramos, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Ramos has previously been tied to the Nats, though those talks reportedly took place before the team’s recent addition of a pair of late-inning relievers. Of course, Washington is still…
Author: Charlie Wilmoth
Posted: July 25, 2017, 1:45 am
In need of a 40-man spot after today’s trade, the Twins have returned Rule 5 pick Justin Haley to the Red Sox, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (via Twitter). Haley evidently cleared waivers; Boston has accepted him back and assigned him to Triple-A, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Haley, 26, had been nearing…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 1:07 am
Padres shortstop Erick Aybar has been diagnosed with a fractured foot, according to Nathan Ruiz of MLB.com (via Twitter). He is said to be looking at an extended absence, with the best-case scenario being a return in the middle of September. Aybar, 33, was hitting just .227/.295/.346 on the year over 291 plate appearances. He’s still…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 25, 2017, 12:23 am
6:16pm: Kansas City will pay for Wood both this year and next, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). The buyout will be split in half if it is paid, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell adds on Twitter. 5:24pm: The Royals have announced an interesting trade with the Padres involving a whole host of pitchers,…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:24 pm
The Twins have acquired lefty Jaime Garcia and catcher Anthony Recker from the Braves, per a club announcement.  In return, Atlanta acquires young righty Huascar Ynoa. As part of the swap, the Braves will send $100K to cover a piece of Recker’s remaining salary, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Minnesota is absorbing all of Garcia’s…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:15 pm
The Mets announced that Zack Wheeler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his right arm. Fellow right-hander Tyler Pill has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his spot on the roster. [Related: Updated New York Mets depth chart] Wheeler had a quick stint on the 10-day…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:30 pm
July 24: The Red Sox formally announced that they’ve selected the contract of Devers, with Robbie Ross Jr. heading to the 60-day disabled list to create a roster spot. Righty Kyle Martin was optioned to Triple-A to clear a spot on the active roster. July 23: The Red Sox will promote third base prospect Rafael…
Author: Mark Polishuk
Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:00 pm
The Rays have released infielder Rickie Weeks to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for newly acquired Sergio Romo, the team announced. Weeks had been on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, though he’d been on a rehab assignment in Triple-A. Andrew Kittredge has been optioned to Triple-A Durham to clear a spot…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:30 pm
July 24: The initial prognosis on Kershaw is that he’ll be sidelined for the next four to six weeks, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). He still is set to receive another opinion before a final determination is made. While that’s obviously a disheartening development for the Dodgers, that timeline would still give…
Author: Mark Polishuk
Posted: July 24, 2017, 5:24 pm
July 24: Burdi will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery, Hayes tweets. The operation will be performed this week and figures to sideline the hard-throwing righty for the majority of the 2018 campaign. July 14: White Sox pitching prospect Zack Burdi is believed to have suffered a UCL tear that will require Tommy John surgery, Dan…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: July 24, 2017, 5:01 pm
With the non-waiver deadline a week from today, here’s a look at some of the talk pertaining to the top names available on the pitching market… MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand writes that the Mariners could be considering a run at Sonny Gray. Though intradivision trades are rare, GM Jerry Dipoto has already made multiple trades within…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 24, 2017, 4:58 pm
The Brewers were connected to Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler over the weekend, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick adds some more context. Per Crasnick, while the two sides have discussed Kinsler, those talks were more about Detroit trying to package Kinsler with left-hander Justin Wilson in a deal. The Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” Crasnick writes,…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 24, 2017, 2:17 pm
The Dodgers were reported to be interested in Yu Darvish even before today’s news broke that Clayton Kershaw is very likely headed to the disabled list.  Regardless of whether Kershaw’s injury proves to be serious or not, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times argues that the Dodgers should still acquire Darvish or a similar front-of-the-rotation…
Author: Mark Polishuk
Posted: July 24, 2017, 5:03 am
It isn’t unusual for the Red Sox to bring a 20-year-old prospect into the heat of a pennant race, as club promoted Xander Bogaerts in 2013 and Yoan Moncada just last season.  As WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford points out, however, he difference between those callups and today’s news about Boston’s promotion of Rafael Devers is that…
Author: Mark Polishuk
Posted: July 24, 2017, 4:13 am
TODAY: Ramirez cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets. THURSDAY: The Mets announced that they’ve activated left-hander Josh Smoker from the disabled list and designated right-hander Neil Ramirez for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster. The 28-year-old Ramirez has bounced between the Giants, Blue Jays…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: July 24, 2017, 3:52 am