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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 238

post #7111 of 72993
Talks of Carlos Lee to the Dodgers serious?
post #7112 of 72993
Originally Posted by Mr Jordan04

Talks of Carlos Lee to the Dodgers serious?

Should be, they can't +$@%%%* hit
post #7113 of 72993
Fan voting for the All-Star game is lame, Mike Napoli...really?
post #7114 of 72993
Cueto and BP are just going to get left off the team? Really? 

Well, now that I remember LaRussa is the manager, neither not making it isn't a surprise. 
post #7115 of 72993
How did two Cubs make the squad?
post #7116 of 72993
Fan voting is a joke.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7117 of 72993
Trout, Trumbo, Wilson, Weaver smiley: pimpsmiley: pimpsmiley: pimp
post #7118 of 72993
Harper shouldn't be on the Final Vote...but I will vote for him anyway smiley: laugh
post #7119 of 72993
Originally Posted by RaWeX05

Fan voting is a joke.

For real...Freddy Sanchez almost made it
...and the Golden State would never paper hate...
...and the Golden State would never paper hate...
post #7120 of 72993
Why pitchers try and paint the corners when facing another pitcher is beyond me? Gio walking Hudson on four straight pitchers. 30t6p3b.gif That shouldn't happen...Ever.
post #7121 of 72993
Originally Posted by RaWeX05

Fan voting is a joke.

I mean, even fans voted Sandoval to start over David Wright, who has double his RBI and is 2nd in BA in the National League. laugh.gif

If these games determine home field advantage in the World Series, they need to get rid of fan voting period.

post #7122 of 72993
*+%% Tony Larussa.
post #7123 of 72993
Willingham. pimp.gif
post #7124 of 72993
Wow. What a way to end the D'backs/Brewers. Speed kills.
post #7125 of 72993
4 Angels in the all-star team smiley: pimp      
post #7126 of 72993
I wish Carlos Gomez would utilize all of his tools, he'd be dirty.
post #7127 of 72993
Glad Chooch made it but he should be starting
post #7128 of 72993
Poor Dee.
post #7129 of 72993
Any word on how serious McCutchens injury is?
post #7130 of 72993
Ugly ugly baseball. 10 runs scored so far and probably only two of them are earned. 5 errors. 30t6p3b.gif

Edit: They just brought it up...5 unearned runs.
post #7131 of 72993
Mike Trout is the new "King Fish" in Anaheim.
Knicks, Jets, Yankees
Knicks, Jets, Yankees
post #7132 of 72993
Bryan LaHair got in lol 
post #7133 of 72993
Thread Starter 
Why the Mets should go all-in.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

The New York Mets are one of the biggest surprises in baseball. With a resurgent David Wright, and a surprising breakout season from R.A. Dickey, the Mets find themselves at just 2.5 games off the division lead -- and would be the second wild-card team in the playoffs if the season ended today. But their lead on that spot is tenuous, as there are currently at least eight teams vying for five playoff spots.

While the Mets are in good position, the trade deadline could really shake things up in the National League. If the Mets want to ensure themselves a playoff spot, they should go all-in at the deadline.

The first reason why: The Mets' core group of players is aging. New York's top three players, according to WAR, are all at an age where it's not typical for players to improve any further. Wright has experienced a big rebound at age 29, but he's dealt with some major injuries throughout his career and there was concern that he was in decline last year. It's a miracle that 33-year-old Johan Santana is pitching this well after missing the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury. And while Dickey has been phenomenal, he's also 37. They've all churned out great performances this year, but there should be a healthy dose of skepticism as to whether they'll be able to replicate their performances next season.

On top of that, the Mets don't have a lot of players signed to long-term deals. Santana is signed through the 2013 season, with a club option for 2014. The team holds club options on Wright and Dickey next season, but neither is signed past 2013. The team has talked about extending Wright, but there's been no sense of urgency. By 2014, there's a chance that none of these players will be on the Mets. This season could be their last opportunity to take advantage of this group of core players.

Remember, it's not as if the Mets' opponents are without flaws. The Washington Nationals have been anchored by their strong pitching, but their offense has scored just 303 runs this season, good for 24th in baseball. And their pitching could take a hit depending on what the team does once Stephen Strasburg reaches his innings limit. The Atlanta Braves rotation was already a weak point, and should get a lot worse without Brandon Beachy. And the Pittsburgh Pirates' offense has been awful. The Pirates have a wRC+ of just 82, meaning their offense has been 18 percent worse than league average. Many of the teams the Mets are competing with have pretty legitimate concerns. A big move at the deadline would help solidify the Mets' status as contenders.

The Mets aren't perfect, either, and could use help at multiple spots. While New York's .316 wOBA places them as a middle-of-the-pack team offensively, Wright is their only standout performer. According to wOBA, Scott Hairston has been the Mets' second-best hitter this season. The gap between Wright's .421 wOBA and Hairston's .351 is one of the biggest in baseball. In other words, offensively, the Mets have relied on a star and scrubs approach. The offensive market hasn't materialized much yet, but if an impact hitter becomes available who doesn't play third base, the Mets should be interested.

The area where the Mets really need help, though, is in the bullpen. The bullpen has accumulated just 0.4 WAR this season, good for 25th in baseball. Frank Francisco wasn't living up to expectations before he was placed on the disabled list and Bobby Parnell has been much better, but the team still doesn't have a ton of depth or reliability at the back end. Teams are always looking to deal away relievers, so the Mets should have an opportunity to upgrade once other teams start selling.

Behind Dickey, Santana, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese, the Mets' starting pitching has been pretty solid this season. The group's 7.5 WAR ranks it as the 10th-best starting staff in the league. The rotation shouldn't be a major priority for the Mets, but the chance to jump at Zack Greinke -- who is likely to be available -- could be tempting.

The Mets have the pieces to go after an elite player such as Greinke at the deadline. The team holds one of the best pitching prospects still in the minor leagues in Zack Wheeler. Wheeler is only in Double-A, but he's impressed scouts all season. He's one of the few pitching prospects who has No. 1 starter potential. The team also has Matt Harvey, who has slightly lower upside, but is closer to the majors. If the team is willing to part with either pitcher, it's likely the Mets could land a solid starter.

Now that there are two wild-card teams, the barriers to enter the playoffs are lower. But with the Mets' aging core, this could be their final chance to make a serious push for the playoffs before they have to commit to a rebuild.

What the Los Angeles Dodgers need.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

LOS ANGELES -- Teammates say that Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is very good at working with a computer in assessing information. When the rest of them are playing cards or sleeping on a team flight, Ellis will be staring at a laptop screen, preparing.

Not long ago, he made a printout for teammate Clayton Kershaw, of his starts in the first half of the 2011 season.

Kershaw is 5-4 this season and has been swimming upstream against the perception that he is having an off year after winning the NL Cy Young Award last year with a 21-5 record. Kershaw has had his fill of the "what's wrong with you" questions, but he also is hypercompetitive and tends to feel responsible when the Dodgers lose.

What Ellis showed Kershaw was that Kershaw actually is pitching better in the first half this season than he did last year. After his first 15 starts of 2011, Kershaw had a 3.28 ERA with 76 hits allowed in 98.2 innings. When Kershaw takes the mound tonight against the New York Mets on "Sunday Night Baseball," he will carry a 2.76 ERA; he's allowed 86 hits in 108.1 innings, with 103 strikeouts and 27 walks.

Sure, there are things he wants to do better. A lot of the damage against him this season has come against his slider, a pitch he fully incorporated last year for the first time -- a pitch that has sometimes gotten away from him this season. "It's a feel thing," Kershaw explained, talking about how he sometimes gets too much on the side of the ball, flattening out the pitch.

But the only number that's down markedly is the number of wins he's gotten, and this is what Ellis was trying to get across to him -- that there's only so much he can do, and right now, getting a win for the Dodgers would mean throwing scoreless innings.

The Dodgers were shut out Saturday for the fifth time in their past six games. They were out-homered in June by Jose Bautista, who had 14; in fact, there were 17 individual hitters who had more homers than the Dodgers, who generated six.

In June, the Dodgers scored little more than half the runs put up by the Pittsburgh Pirates in this turn in the calendar. Tony Gwynn, Jr. acknowledged that as the team's slump has deepened, some of the Dodgers have tried to do more than they can do -- and in an ugly cycle, this urgency has prevented them from doing what they can do.

There is help on the way for the Dodgers. Mark Ellis, deeply respected by teammates for his presence and ability to run an infield, is expected back on Thursday. Matt Kemp has been running, as part of his rehabilitation of his strained hamstring, and is aiming to be back in the lineup in the first game after the All-Star break. There is trade talk, of course.

"What we need," said Kershaw, "is a win."

The Dodgers have simply stopped hitting; they were dominated by Johan Santana on Saturday. James Loney's playing time is up in the air.

• Some members of the Dodgers organization had more questions than answers Saturday, wondering about who the team might be bringing in with trades. They tried to trade for Carlos Lee, but so far, they've been rebuffed; Lee's initial indication to the Astros on Saturday morning was that he was inclined to reject the trade, as is his right. Lee told reporters that he intends to talk to his wife before making a final decision.

If Lee doesn't change his mind, the Dodgers will try somebody else, sources indicated Saturday. "There are always other things you can try," said one source.

The Astros have other players to offer this summer, writes Zachary Levine.

• At the outset of spring, Jim Thome was completely invested in the possibility of serving as a pinch hitter and playing games at first base, absorbing some of the at-bats left behind by the injured Ryan Howard. He would get his time-worn back loose and then take some grounders on a back practice field, before getting some more back treatment.

But with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, we could probably look back and say it was probably wishful thinking to believe that Thome could play first base, seven years removed from playing the position regularly. Thome started just four games at first for the Phillies before that experiment was scrapped, and he was just not effective as a pinch hitter for the Phillies, going 1-for-16 with 11 strikeouts, one walk and one home run, and that completely changed the equation. The inflexibility that he brought to the roster became unworkable for the Phillies, so they moved him in a window-dressing trade, which happens all the time in these situations: Philadelphia got a couple of low-level minor leaguers who are not regarded as prospects from Baltimore.

Thome will deepen an already solid Baltimore lineup that has a chance to get better. The Orioles' foremost need is pitching, but Baltimore will have to win its fair share of high-scoring games if it's going to continue to be a part of the playoff race. This is a good move for them.

Thome is headed to Baltimore to play more regularly, Matt Gelb writes. He leaves a team that will flirt with 90 losses if it continues on its current trajectory.

Ruben Amaro says this is not the beginning of a fire sale.

The Orioles haven't gotten a lot of production from their DH spot, Dan Connolly notes.

Thome would not have been a good fit for the Indians right now, writes Paul Hoynes.

• If I picked them, here's what the All-Star teams would look like:

American League
1B Paul Konerko
2B Robinson Cano
3B Miguel Cabrera
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
LF Josh Hamilton
CF Mike Trout
RF Jose Bautista
C A.J. Pierzynski
DH David Ortiz
P Justin Verlander

The toughest call was at third base, given how well Adrian Beltre has played, and how much better defensively he is than Cabrera -- who is, nevertheless, a generational icon at the plate. Sale has been more efficient than Verlander this year, but fans who vote for the All-Star Game aren't only picking based on 2012 performance -- and Verlander has clearly been baseball's best pitcher over the past year and a half.

The National League
1B Joey Votto
2B Aaron Hill
3B David Wright
SS Jed Lowrie
LF Ryan Braun
CF Andrew McCutchen
RF Carlos Beltran
C Carlos Ruiz

P R.A. Dickey

Dickey's loose plans were to return to Nashville during the All-Star break to spend time with friends and family. But now, if he's picked for the NL team -- and if he isn't, there should be some kind of player revolt -- his plan is to take a whole lot of family to Kansas City, he said Saturday.

He's in the mix to start the All-Star Game, Anthony Riebert writes.

Manny Acta is hoping that the Indians get multiple All-Stars. Pierzynski doesn't think he'll win this popularity contest, Darryl van Schouwen writes.

Aaron Crow isn't expecting a surprise this year. Hill is worthy of a pick, says a teammate.

• As Ellis chatted with a reporter Saturday, he noticed that Kershaw was walking into the conversation, and Ellis asked the reporter, "Would you trade Kershaw for Mike Trout?"

Kershaw interjected: "I'd trade me for Trout."

In the Dodgers' games against the Angels and Trout this year, they found no discernible holes in Trout's swing. Sometimes, Ellis noted, a rookie might have a difficult time with a particular pitch, or might have trouble covering a hole in a particular spot of the strike zone. The Dodgers' excellent pitching staff couldn't find anything to exploit.

Ellis agreed with the assessment of Angels GM Jerry Dipoto that Trout has a unique ability to shrug off bad at-bats, recalling a sequence of pitches that Trout had against Chad Billingsley on June 22. In the bottom of the second, the Angels had a runner on base and Trout struck out. "In his next at-bat," Ellis said, "he hit the first pitch for a home run."

Trout has taken the Angels on a thrill ride.

• McCutchen got hurt during the Pirates' win Saturday, but his injury isn't thought to be serious.

Daniel Bard's problems grew more acute on Friday night.

Dings and dents

1. Mike Morse is dealing with a hamstring issue; he hit cleanup.

2. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford continue to go through their rehab games. The big question for Crawford is whether he has any more pain in his elbow as he hits and throws; if he does, that would be a significant problem.

3. Edward Mujica suffered a broken toe.

4. Votto is dealing with some knee stiffness.

5. Within this notebook, there is word that Lorenzo Cain's rehab hit another pothole.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Cubs completed the signing of Jorge Soler.

2. The Dodgers will announce the signing of some more players from Latin America in the week ahead. The new ownership has provided seed money into the organization, which is reinstalling itself into the international market.

3. The Cardinals are in need of some relief.

4. The Rays' injuries have greatly complicated their planning, Marc Topkin writes.

5. Yoenis Cespedes is a work in progress in left field.

6. Brad Penny threw well in his debut for the Giants, as mentioned within this Alex Pavlovic notebook.

By The Numbers

From ESPN Stats and Information

3: Players to hit at least 10 HRs in June, led by Jose Bautista's 14 (joined by Robinson Cano and the Twins' Trevor Plouffe, each with 11)
4: Pitchers to go 5-0 in June (R.A. Dickey, Matt Harrison, Madison Bumgarner, A.J. Burnett) … Dickey was the most dominant, posting a 0.93 June ERA
42: Hits by Angels OF Mike Trout in June, which led MLB for the month
63: Number of team shutouts in June, the most in a single month since August 2010 (64)

AL East

Dewayne Wise has helped out in all kinds of ways for the Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda has been excellent, John Harper writes.

The Red Sox lost in extra innings, writes Scott Lauber. Aaron Cook and Franklin Morales have improved the Red Sox.

Henderson Alvarez was excellent. No. 8 hitter Adam Lind had a good day.

Jeremy Hellickson took a shot off his shin, and the Rays lost.

AL Central

Jake Peavy is not a fan of Yankee Stadium.

Shin-Soo Choo and the Indians feasted, Paul Hoynes writes.

The Twins swept a doubleheader, writes Joe Christensen.

Rick Porcello was The Man for the Tigers.

Jonathan Sanchez and Luke Hochevar had no answers in a doubleheader.

AL West

Josh Hamilton gave a nice lift to Martin Perez, Jeff Wilson writes.

Chone Figgins generated a decisive RBI.

The Angels' starter got pounded, again.

NL East

This is fairly well established at this point: Stephen Strasburg does not like the heat. Can't blame him.

The Braves beat Strasburg, and the heat, Carroll Rogers writes.

As June came to an end, the Marlins are on a mini-streak, Craig Davis writes.

NL Central

The Astros lost again.

Mat Latos has been outstanding, and he shut down the Giants on Saturday.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Latos won:

A. After throwing a career-high 43 sliders in his previous start, Latos threw 54 of them Saturday. He's thrown his slider 43 percent of the time over his past two starts; he threw it 20 percent of the time in his previous 14 starts this season.
B. Latos recorded a career-high 13 outs with his slider Saturday, including seven on the ground. Ten of the 13 outs he recorded with the pitch were in the strike zone; he recorded 12 outs with his slider in his previous start, but only three were in the zone.
C. Giants hitters were 0-for-8 with two strikeouts in two-strike at-bats ending with a Latos slider. Thirteen of the 16 two-strike sliders he threw were down or below the strike zone.
D. Latos tied a career best by going to just one three-ball count. He went to 11 two-ball counts, but he would retire all 11 hitters.

Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer with the Cubs.

Ryan Braun showed off his star power. He is having a Braun-like season, writes Tom Haudricourt.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Braun has fared better and better with two strikes:

Braun reached base three times Saturday and all three came after he was down in the count 1-2. His two home runs gives him nine with two strikes this season, equaling his total from all of last season. His three two-strike RBIs pushed his total to 31 this season, six more than anyone else in baseball.

Braun's ability to hit with two strikes took a step forward last season and he's been even better in 2012, with an .845 OPS that's tied for fourth in MLB.

Lance Lynn and the Cardinals took a beatdown from the Pirates.

NL West

Wade Miley was hit hard.

Colorado's bullpen faltered.

The Giants lost to their nemesis.

Two rookies put a jolt into the Padres.

What Dodgers' interest in Lee means.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

That the Dodgers have targeted Carlos Lee to plug a hole in their lineup -- and one official assesses the odds of a deal happening at 50-50 -- tells you a couple of things:

1. The Dodgers are desperate to get help for their lineup -- any help. Because it's not a sure thing that Lee will help, given the fact that his OPS is about 160 points higher at home in Houston than on the road, and given that his history hitting in Dodger Stadium is somewhat mediocre. Lee is 36 years old, he's a defensive liability, and yet he represents an upgrade over the lineup that Don Mattingly has been forced to play because of injuries. Jose Bautista has as many home runs in June (14) as the combined season total for the eight position players who started for L.A. on Friday.

2. The trade market is woefully thin in options. "There is just not very much movement at all," one executive said the other day. "I count only six teams that are ready to sell." He listed the Cubs, Astros, Rockies, Athletics, Mariners and Twins.

Lee repeatedly has turned down overtures from the Astros about possible trades, exercising his right to veto deals, because he's comfortable where he is. But the Astros do have some leverage: They could tell Lee they intend to go with their young players, and that he won't have a lot of opportunities for at-bats the rest of the summer -- as he prepares for free agency in the fall.

Gauging Liriano's trade value.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Francisco Liriano has thrown a no-hitter, been an All-Star and during the 2006 season had one of the most dominant three months of starts in the past decade. He's pitched in two postseasons and averaged a strikeout per inning in his career.

But Liriano scares a lot of evaluators -- probably even some with the Minnesota Twins, the team that has benefited from his peaks after making him part of their trade of A.J. Pierzynski years ago. Liriano struggled so badly earlier this year that he was sent to the Minnesota bullpen.

In his past six starts, however, the left-hander again has demonstrated how good he can be, striking out 40 in 37.1 innings with an ERA in the Justin Verlander range.

All of this makes him an intriguing figure in the last weeks before the trade deadline. He is eligible for free agency in the fall, the Twins are not going to the playoffs and are in a position to be sellers, and they presumably will market Liriano.

But for potential buyers: How attractive is Liriano?

At his best, he can shut down a lineup, and at his worst, he can be a complete enigma. It's possible that another team could trade a prospect for Liriano and he could be a difference-maker -- and it's also possible, based on his history, that Liriano could really struggle with a new team.

So how do some evaluators view his value? How would he compare to someone like, say, Matt Garza? I posed that question to three evaluators, and here are their responses:

Evaluator No. 1, from an NL team: "He is very risky to me as a starting pitcher. I wouldn't have interest -- if you are going to trade prospects, you need certainty that the player you are getting is an upgrade, and Liriano's inconsistency creates uncertainty. Simply put, there will be better alternatives on the market.

"However, I think he has excellent value -- if he were up for it -- as a shutdown situational left-handed reliever. This year, left-handed hitters are 9-for-58 (.155 AVG/.436 OPS) with six walks versus 22 strikeouts He's somebody who could go multiple innings if needed, too, since he has history as a starter.

"Regardless of the team control situation for me, Garza is in a different stratosphere. He's a middle-top rotation starter who has been consistent and performed, whereas Liriano is a major risk on so many levels and really hasn't had any success as a starting pitcher for any extended period of time (more than 15 starts) except for 2010."

Evaluator No. 2, from an AL team (who likes Garza more as a target): "I'd say that even though Garza is the more expensive option in terms of salary -- to an extent he's more reliable, and specifically since he's shown what he can do in the past in the AL East. Plus, you have 2013 with Garza, and Liriano is a free agent after this season. So if you're going to give up more value for either pitcher, it will likely be Garza, especially considering what [the Cubs] gave to Tampa.

"However, despite Garza being the more reliable option in theory, the risk seems really limited with Liriano considering your committment is less than a year. Because of the inconsistent performance, you'd have to think he'd bring significantly less than Garza in a trade, unless he can pitch this way straight through the deadline and continue to build value.

"So, the upside for the rest of 2012 seems to be comparable, but considering the potential acquisition cost, it seems like Liriano is the lower-risk guy to go with, particularly if he can keep this up. I still think [Theo] Epstein asks for more for that extra year of control for Garza than Liriano would bring in return for the next three months. But again, if Liriano keeps this up, he'd seem to have as many suitors as Garza, considering financial commitment and potential reward."

Evaluator No. 3, from AL team: "Liriano is a risk, with some reward. He was someone the Twins would have let go for sure a couple of weeks ago. Garza has much less risk and much more value. I think the Twins really don't want Liriano back unless he really goes off the rest of the year. Garza has many more suitors, and the Cubs are happy to have him back."


• Dusty Baker plans to talk to Aroldis Chapman about his somersault celebration. Here's video of the somersaults.

• Daniel Hudson's injury -- whatever its nature -- sounds ominous. Arizona will be getting Stephen Drew back today.

• The Chicago Cubs didn't bury Anthony Rizzo in their lineup in a thin effort to reduce expectations -- as if batting him seventh would take him out of the spotlight. Rather, Rizzo hit third in the lineup in his first game for the Cubs, which makes sense; the Cubs' front office believes he's a middle-of-the-order hitter and that he can handle all of the pressure and the expectations.

Rizzo's debut was a success: Two hits in four at-bats, including the game-winning hit. This is the true start of Theo Epstein's regime, writes David Haugh. The Cubs are leading fans to believe that Rizzo can live up to the hype and handle it, writes Rick Morrissey.

Rizzo has time on his side, writes Barry Rozner.

• And now it's Colby Lewis who has landed on the DL for the Texas Rangers, who have lost three-fifths of their rotation; he will be replaced by Martin Perez.

• Chris Sale's pitching schedule might prevent him from pitching in the All-Star Game. I'm sure the Chicago White Sox are broken-hearted about that. (Or not.)

• Because Marlon Byrd played so poorly and was released before his suspension, he will lose no money for his suspension, writes Gordon Wittenmyer.

Hopefully, the players' association and Major League Baseball will address this loophole in the testing system.

• The Padres' sale could be done by the end of the week. What that means is that GM Josh Byrnes will have some time to at least put a contract proposal in front of Carlos Quentin to see if the outfielder will re-sign -- and if he says no, as rival executives expect, then the San Diego Padres will have a few weeks to trade him.

• Scott Boras would love to beat the new system, writes Dejan Kovacevic. From Dejan's piece:

That's why it's always better, I've found, to look at Boras' broader focus. And right now, that's this: The man really, really hates Major League Baseball's new spending limits on the draft. And he sure isn't about to bow down to it.

"We're seeing now a system that's going to alter parity, that's going to hurt the game," Boras was saying by phone from California. "A team like Pittsburgh, the ownership there was doing exactly what it should have done in the old system with the revenue-sharing money. They were signing draft picks, they committed to Andrew McCutchen ... and now it's teams like Pittsburgh that get hurt."

I'll repeat: Boras wasn't talking about [Mark] Appel. Just generally.

By The Numbers

From ESPN Stats and Info

4: No-hit bids broken in the eighth or ninth inning this season, after Bronson Arroyo had his broken with one out in the eighth inning Tuesday.
10.4: Hits allowed per nine innings this season, entering Tuesday, for Arroyo.
6: Home runs allowed by Clayton Kershaw against his slider this season; he allowed three all of last season.
11: Home runs on offspeed pitches this season for Mark Trumbo, surpassing his total of 10 from last season.
21: Hits for the Nationals on Tuesday, most since July 11, 2009 at Houston.
25: Scoreless innings for the Mariners, a streak snapped when they scored two runs in the third inning.
.327: Derek Jeter's career batting average on his birthday.

Dings and dents

1. Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session and looked good but won't pitch this year, as mentioned within this Paul Hoynes notebook.

2. Clay Buchholz has an esophagus problem. Within the same notebook, there is word that Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are on track to come back in the next couple of weeks.

3. Rod Barajas suffered a bone bruise.

4. As Chase Utley comes back, he sounds confident.

5. Henderson Alvarez is good to go for his next scheduled start.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. Adam Dunn is slumping, but Robin Ventura is keeping him in the same spot in the order.

2. Ichiro Suzuki was used as a DH.

3. Doug Melvin is taking a wait-and-see attitude with trades.

4. Mike Matheny will double-check on future lineup changes, writes Derrick Goold, after a mix-up on Monday.

5. Jeff Francoeur is at peace despite trade rumors.

6. With an opportunity right in front of him, Jenrry Mejia hasn't stepped up.

7. Desmond Jennings was dropped from No. 1 to No. 7 in the Tampa Bay lineup.

8. The Houston Astros are going with a six-man rotation until the All-Star break.

9. Bob Apodaca is out as the Rockies' pitching coach, as they begin down this road of reformation. I don't know how it would happen, but it would make sense if Apodaca winds up working with the Boston Red Sox and Bobby Valentine at some point; they worked together closely in the past with the Mets.

10. The Los Angeles Dodgers hired Mickey Hatcher.

11. Aubrey Huff says flatly: He's not quitting.

NL Central notes

John Axford allowed a tie-breaking home run.

• The St. Louis Cardinals are back on a roll -- that's five wins in a row -- and Yadier Molina was at the center of their win Tuesday.

Drew Stubbs saved the day.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates missed some opportunities.

Jordan Lyles was solid.

AL Central notes

Gavin Floyd got the job done.

From ESPN Stats and Info: Twins hitters were 0-for-11 with five strikeouts against Floyd's slider and 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against his curveball. Floyd threw his slider a season-high 45 percent of the time.

• A Twins rookie had a great debut.

• That's four straight losses and counting for the Cleveland Indians.

Drew Smyly made a critical error.

• The Kansas City Royals scored their runs in bunches, writes Bob Dutton.

NL West notes

• The Colorado Rockies were hit hard, as Patrick Saunders writes.

• The Dodgers' lead is down to one game.

Ryan Vogelsong outdueled Clayton Kershaw, writes Alex Pavolic.

AL West notes

Brendan Ryan got a big hit, as Geoff Baker writes.

Yu Darvish racked up his 10th victory.

C.J. Wilson had another good outing. Mike Trout got a lot of hometown support.

NL East notes

• Terry Collins was unhappy with the Mets' sloppy play.

• The Phillies' bullpen got the job done. Carlos Ruiz established a career high in homers.

• The Washington Nationals racked up 21 hits, and Gio Gonzalez racked up his 10th victory.

Tim Hudson was The Man for the Atlanta Braves, writes Carroll Rogers.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Hudson won:

A) Twenty-one of Hudson's 24 outs were either groundouts (14) or strikeouts (7).
B) Hudson went to a season-low one 2-0 count, doing so against opposing pitcher Daniel Hudson in the second inning.
C) He threw only one pitch in a three-ball count, also matching a season low.
D) Hudson threw 13 of his 101 pitches in hitters' counts (1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1), his lowest percentage of the season.
E) Thirty-seven of Hudson's pitches were down and away, 11 more than in any of his previous starts this season.

• The losing continues for the Miami Marlins. It feels like something is going to happen soon; these kinds of struggles cannot go on without some kind of a reaction from owner Jeffrey Loria.

AL East notes

Brian Matusz had a bad day.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia mashed a big homer.

Dustin Pedroia is heating up.

• The New York Yankees caught a break. Cory Wade has been struggling.

Aaron Laffey pitched well enough to win, but the Toronto Blue Jays lost.

Top 12: Josh Vitters joins list.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Note: The top 12 fantasy prospects (players currently in the minor leagues) for 2012 are below. These rankings are a bit different from other prospect rankings; these are strictly for 2012 fantasy purposes. So not only do talent and recent performance play a role in the rankings, potential paths to the big leagues also factor in. All young players in the minors are eligible, including those in "prospect purgatory" -- those who have exceeded rookie status but are still young and unproven commodities.

It was a big week on the 12 for 12, with good news and bad news. The good news is the /">')">Chicago Cubs, to absolutely nobody's surprise, finally called up /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="30782" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Anthony Rizzo, while with /">')">Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers getting injured like it's going out of style, /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="32014" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Trevor Bauer finally got the call. The bad news was the injury bug, as a knee injury will keep /">')">Toronto Blue Jays catcher Travis d'Arnaud on the sidelines for six to eight weeks, while /">')">Texas Rangers third baseman Mike Olt has missed the past week with a hamstring issue. The silver lining means four new names make the list.

1. Wil Myers, OF, /">')">Kansas City Royals (Last week's rank: 4)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Omaha): 7-for-29 (.241), 1 HR, 3 RBIs
Season totals: .321-25-65, 5 SB in 76 games
Update: Myers might not be crushing it like in previous weeks, but he did become the overall minor league home run leader, thanks in part to /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="6363" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Brad Eldred heading to Japan. His numbers are still remarkable, and when you think of the top offensive prospects in the minors, he's one of the first names who comes to mind.
What he can do: Hit, hit for power and draw walks at a rate suitable for a No. 3 hitter in a big league lineup. He'll even steal a base now and then.

[+] EnlargeRyan Lavarnway
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelRyan Lavarnway is doing his best to play his way back to the majors, but will it be with the Red Sox?

2. /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="31039" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Ryan Lavarnway, C, /">')">Boston Red Sox (Last week's rank: 9)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Pawtucket): 9-for-19 (.474), 3 RBIs
Season totals: .320-7-35 in 60 games.
Update: Lavarnway was arguably the hottest hitter during the second half of the season last year, and now he's looking for a repeat performance. It's still tough for him to find a path to Boston, but he has a path with plenty of other teams, and that could come into play at some point before the July 31 trade deadline.
What he can do: Lavarnway combines plus hitting ability with at least average power, if not a bit more. If a team believes he can catch, he could have significant fantasy value.

3. Jedd Gyorko, 2B, /">')">San Diego Padres (Last week's rank: 10)

Last week's stats (Triple-A Tucson): 13-for-30 (.433), 1 HR, 9 RBIs
Season totals: .305-15-52, 2 SB in 74 games
Update: The Padres keep having problems scoring runs, and Gyorko has gone on a tear again. I realize Gyorko isn't sexy enough for a "Free Player X" movement, but free him already. The guy just flat-out rakes.
What he can do: Gyorko is short and stocky and doesn't make it look pretty, but he just has a feel for hard contact, uses all fields and has a bit of power. If he can hold his own at second base, he's a very interesting fantasy prospect.

4. Danny Hultzen, SP, /">')">Seattle Mariners (Last week's rank: 1)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Tacoma): 7 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 9 BB, 9 K
Season totals: 8-4, 1.75 ERA, 1.057 WHIP, 82 1/3 IP, 88 K
Update: As dominant as Hultzen was at Double-A, he had some occasional and quite surprising control issues, and that's come up again in his first two Triple-A outings. It has certainly moved his timetable back a touch, as you don't get to go to the big leagues if you don't throw strikes.
What he can do: Hultzen's move to Triple-A put him at the brink of the big leagues, but he'll need a run, even a brief one that resembles his Double-A lines, to get the call. When he does, he's an immediate No. 3 starter.

5. /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="29189" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Travis Snider, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Last week's rank: 2)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Las Vegas): 9-for-31 (.290), 5 RBIs
Season totals: .320-8-39, 2 SB in 37 games
Update: While the Blue Jays' 2012 season has reached nightmare proportions in terms of injuries, it has been a fantastic year down on the farm. Snider is hardly a new name, but the 2006 first-round pick is once again putting up huge numbers.
What he can do: Snider can hit, at least in the minors. He'll likely got at least one more shot to prove he can hit in Toronto, and the team, at this point, is best served using the second half of the season to answer these kinds of questions.

6. /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="30950" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego Padres (Last week: unranked)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Tucson): 12-for-22 (.545), 5 RBIs
Season totals: .335-6-35 in 56 games
Update: Grandal's first big league stint was surprisingly brief, consisting of a grand total of one plate appearance, so he's back at Triple-A and hitting the cover off the ball while the big league club keeps throwing /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="29180" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Nick Hundley and his sub .500 OPS out there. No, I don't get it, either.
What he can do: Grandal is not a power threat, and even less of one since he'll play his home games in San Diego, but few catchers will be able to match him in the average and on-base departments, while his slightly below average defense will have no effect on his fantasy value.

7. Starling Marte, OF, /">')">Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: unranked)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Indianapolis): 11-for-31 (.355), 3 HRs, 12 RBIs
Season totals: .274-8-46, 16 SB in 74 games
Update: Don't look now folks, but the Pirates are kind of in the hunt for a playoff spot. Their run differential screams fluke, but wins in the bank are wins in the bank, and the club could be looking to improve this month. While Marte is naturally a center fielder, he has enough arm for right, and /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="29469" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Jose Tabata has been a nonfactor there.
What he can do: Marte can do a little bit of everything. He's a potential .275-.285 hitter who could reach the 15-20 mark in home runs to go with 25-30 stolen bases. If the Pirates give him a shot, he's an outstanding second-half pickup.

[+] EnlargeJosh Vitters
Jake Roth/US PresswireThere could be an opening for Josh Vitters in the Cubs' infield sooner rather than later.

8. Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs (Last week: unranked)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Iowa): 10-for-26 (.385), 1 HR, 3 RBIs
Season totals: .289-12-40, 1 SB in 77 games
Update: The third overall pick in the 2007 draft, Vitters has had plenty of stops and starts to his development, but scouts have always remained at least a bit optimistic about him, as he always has been a contact machine and always had the potential for power. Still just 22, he's hardly an old prospect blooming too late, but he's definitely blooming, and there are few more wide-open positions and team combinations than third base for the Cubs.
What he can do: This is hardly Vitters' first hot streak, but his slugging percentage is currently at a career high, and he could be in line for a look as the club figures out which few players on its roster will play a role in its future. Third base has become a tough place to find offense, and while he doesn't look like a future star, Vitters should provide some batting average and power down the road.

9. /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="30629" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Corey Brown, OF, /">')">Washington Nationals (Last week's rank: 12)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Syracuse): 12-for-29 (.414), 2 HRs, 6 RBIs
Season totals: .304-18-48, 6 SB in 74 games
Update: Brown's biggest problem right now isn't his play, it's that of red-hot /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="30635" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Tyler Moore, who just went 7-for-17 with a pair of home runs and five RBIs in a four-game series at Colorado. To Brown's credit, he keeps hitting, and he'll eventually get another chance.
What he can do: It's hard to find players who can contribute power and a bit of speed, and Brown helps to make up for what should be a low batting average by drawing plenty of walks.

10. /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="31010" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Drew Pomeranz, LHP, /">')">Colorado Rockies (Last week's rank: 6)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Colorado Springs): 5.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K
Season totals: 4-4, 2.31 ERA, 1.520 WHIP, 50.2 IP, 50 K
Update: The Rockies keep getting hammered, and Pomeranz keeps lowering his ERA while pitching in one of the minors' best hitting environments. The Colorado front office is feeling plenty of heat as the team continues to slip in the standings, so bringing up the key player in the /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="28625" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Ubaldo Jimenez deal should help to temporarily satiate the masses.
What he can do: Pomeranz can get a little wild at times, but it's hard to find 6-foot-5 lefties with plus velocity and a power breaking ball. It will be tough for him to get wins with Colorado, but he can get strikeouts with a manageable ERA.

11. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies (Last week's rank: 11)

Last week's stats (at Double-A Tulsa): 5-for-13 (.385), 2 RBIs
Season totals: .293-7-38 in 75 games
Update: Another week for Arenado, another solid performance and another week waiting for a breakout. At this point, it's just looking like he might get nothing more than a September look, as /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="30156" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Chris Nelson has been hot in the big leagues of late.
What he can do: Everyone keeps waiting for Arenado's big step forward, but now that we've reached the midpoint of the season and we're still waiting, maybe this is just what he is: a high-average hitter who offers little else.

12. Shelby Miller, RHP, /">')">St. Louis Cardinals (Last week's rank: unranked)

Last week's stats (at Triple-A Memphis): 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K
Season totals: 4-6, 5.70 ERA, 1.648 WHIP, 71 IP, 81 K
Update: One of the biggest disappointments in the minors this year, Miller delivered a glimmer of hope in Wednesday's dominant start, and beyond the numbers he showed some of his best velocity of the year.
What he can do: Entering the season, Miller looked like a future No. 1 starter in the mold of /">')" content="tabs#ppc" tab="null" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="6202" instance="_ppc" cache="true">Matt Cain. He still has plenty of time to regain that status.

The biggest All-Star snubs.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Sunday's announcements of the All-Star rosters didn't produce as many shocks for me as past years' rosters did, especially since I've already accepted that the players and managers don't quite grasp the part about saves being a meaningless statistic. There were a few gross omissions, a few bad choices, but only a couple that should raise anyone's ire.

And, just to make sure we can get our usual batch of comments from people who didn't read explanation in the intro, here's my philosophy on the All-Star Game. It doesn't count. It's an exhibition, a single night for MLB to show itself off to the country on national television -- and for a lot of other countries as well. The biggest stars should be here. This should not be a list of the guys who had the best Opening Day-through-Memorial Day runs of anyone in baseball. It should include established stars, even if they didn't get off to the greatest starts this year. And there should be room for younger emerging stars, guys in their early 20s who have graduated from prospect status and are starting to perform up to (or even above) expectations. But the half-year wonders can wait until they prove it for more than just 60-70 games.

American League

The starters are mostly quite reasonable, especially since the voting usually takes the worst aspects of "popularity contest" and "who had the best April?" and produces a hybrid monster that is scarcely viable. In this case, the most egregious choice is probably taking Derek Jeter on career value over Elvis Andrus on present value, and I can't really argue that -- Jeter is one of the few players in MLB whose fame transcends the sport, and having him in the game (as long as he's not terrible) makes sense for an event aimed at the casual and potential fans, not the hardcore. I would have taken Joe Mauer over Mike Napoli to start behind the plate, and probably would have taken Miguel Cabrera (stone feet and all) at third base over Adrian Beltre, but both alternatives are on the bench anyway.

That bench, on the other hand, includes a few whoppers. If you're obsessed with current-season performance, Austin Jackson certainly belongs on the team over Mark Trumbo, a disaster with the glove whose early-season walk-rate spike has disappeared. And why do we have two reserve designated hitters in Billy Butler and Adam Dunn, neither of whom has any place on this team? Choosing Butler as the token Royal with Mike Moustakas, having a superior year but, more importantly, able to play a position and do it fairly well, is odd, and you could make a good case for Alex Gordon (who performed last year as well) over both guys. Dunn's selection seems to be a nod to homers and RBIs; with his lack of defensive value he's well behind guys like Gordon or Jackson.

Returning the original theme of the All-Star Game as a marketing event, however, why isn't Albert Pujols on the roster in lieu of either of those DHs or Trumbo? He's one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the history of the game, and after a slow start has started to resemble the Pujols of 2011. He's a name known to non-fans. He's headed for the Hall of Fame. He's certainly not a liability in this game, even if he's behind Paul Konerko on the depth chart. He should be here.

The starting pitchers on the staff are mostly strong selections. Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, and Jered Weaver have more than enough track record, not to mention name recognition. Chris Sale has been outstanding all year, after a strong year in relief last year, so even without the track record of the other starters he clearly belongs on merit. The worst starter selection, Matt Harrison, is having a good half-season, but has no track record and is almost certainly here because he has 11 pitcher-wins, not because there's anything about his case that justifies his inclusion over the superior Jake Peavy.

The joke here is that it seems like every closer in the American League is on the roster. Making Ryan Cook an All-Star on the basis of 34 fluky innings -- and making him the token Athletic instead of Josh Reddick, who has 18 home runs -- means Yu Darvish, not a top 10 starter in the AL but a good one who happens to represent one of MLB's biggest international markets, is relegated to the last-man ballot. (Including Darvish instead of Harrison would have made sense as well while keeping the team numbers in balance.) Never mind the obvious slight to dominant setup guys -- are the various constituencies involved in assembling these pitching staffs really that blinded by a useless fantasy stat?

National League

The NL lineup is far sillier than the AL one, primarily because of the voting push in San Francisco that put three Giants in the starting nine, none of whom belongs there. Buster Posey is a fine choice as an alternate behind Yadier Molina or Carlos Ruiz. Pablo Sandoval over David Wright, a long-time star having an MVP-caliber bounceback season now that he's healthy again, is atrocious. And I'm not remotely a fan of putting a BABIP-fluke hitter like Melky Cabrera in the game on that basis, let alone having him start over an established star like Andrew McCutchen; Cabrera's roster spot should have gone to Michael Bourn or, preferably, the reemergent Jason Heyward, who appeared in the All-Star Game as a rookie in 2010. Rafael Furcal is the other poor choice among NL starters, a shadow of the player he used to be, hitting .280/.346/.377 with fringy defense, chosen over Jed Lowrie, hitting .261/.347/.486 with average defense, or the now-injured Troy Tulowitzki.

Over on the pitching staff, Johnny Cueto's a pretty serious oversight, a funny one because advanced metrics indicate that he hasn't been as good as his 2.26 ERA indicates but that he's still more than good enough to be on the roster. Joel Hanrahan represents more slavish devotion to Jerome Holtzman's devil spawn, the save statistic, and a terrible choice over teammate James McDonald, who is sixth in the NL with a 2.44 ERA. I don't think there's a good enough case to put Cliff Lee on the roster right now -- there are enough established starters having great seasons ahead of him -- but it would have been spectacular to see a starter with zero pitcher-wins in the All-Star Game as a statement on how stupid that statistic is.

And then we come to the biggest omission, Zack Greinke, the current NL leader in wins above replacement ( per FanGraphs), and someone with a previous history of high-level performance. Even if we forgive the players for choosing Lance Lynn (their vote came before his last two outings) on his own merit, in what universe would you rather have Lynn than Greinke?

Huston Street might be the biggest joke of the year, though, selected for the All-Star Game after 20 innings of good but hardly great pitching in a paradise for flyball pitchers. Chase Headley would have been a much better choice for token Padre, but if you're pretending this game counts, why not ask for Andrew Cashner as a tactical weapon, someone who could come in and miss a bat in a critical late-game situation?

Finally, the failure to put Bryce Harper on the NL roster is either a lack of marketing awareness on the part of the powers-that-be ... or a craven attempt to juice interest in this "last man" voting nonsense by putting one of the dozen or so most recognizable names in MLB on the ballot. Harper has crossed over into popular culture -- I heard him name-checked on NPR's Talk of the Nation for his "That's a clown question, bro" quip -- and has produced enough that he'd be a reasonable selection to the game, ranking in the top 20 among NL outfielders in FanGraphs' WAR despite missing about 20 games before his recall. Harper and Darvish should boost ratings and media coverage all by themselves, and omitting them is hardly in MLB's best interests on a night when the biggest names and brightest talents should all be on display.


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Sticking with the 4-man rotation

10:16AM ET
Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies are more than 10 games into their grand four-man rotation experiment and the early numbers are far from encouraging. Rockies starters, working on a flexible 75-pitch limit for now, posted an 8.56 ERA in the first 10 contests, compared with a 6.28 ERA for the starters in the season's first 65 games.

While the plan has been panned by many in the industry, it's unlikely to disappear before the All-Star break, and could extend throughout the remainder of the season because of the youth of the staff, reports Troy Renck in Monday's Denver Post.

If the trend continues, Renck brings up an intriguing scenario that could unfold at the winter bargaining table. Starting pitchers starters are paid, beginning in the salary arbitration process, for logging innings and recording wins, something that is a lot harder to do with a 75-pitch limit.

- Doug Mittler

Francisco to return after All-Star break

9:56AM ET
Frank Francisco | Mets

Mets closer Frank Francisco is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday. Since that is the first-half finale, the July 13 resumption of play after the All-Star break seems a far more likely target date for his return, says Adam Rubin of

Bobby Parnell has filled in as closer and earned a save Thursday night in Los Angeles.

- Doug Mittler

Tribe's options without Chisenhall

9:37AM ET
Lonnie Chisenhall | Indians

Thre may be little left in the 2012 season for Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, who suffered a broken ulna bone in his right forearm after being hit by a pitch Friday night in Baltimore.

The Indians announced Sunday that Chisenhall will miss "10 to 12 weeks" while recovering from surgery, reports Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.

Hoynes says the Indians will turn to Jack Hannahan and Jose Lopez at the hot corner. If they were to seek outside help, they could inquire about Oakland's Brandon Inge. The Indians were among the teams linked to Kevin Youkilis before he landed with the White Sox.

- Doug Mittler

Lowrie a fit in Pittsburgh?

9:14AM ET

The Houston Astros are having trouble dealing first baseman Carlos Lee, who reportedly balked at a deal that would send him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Will they have better luck dealing shortstop Jed Lowrie?

Nick Cafardo recently suggested the Tigers could pursue Lowrie with the intention of moving him to second base.

Over the weekend, Phil Rogers said the Pirates were a likely trading partner for Lowrie.

Lowrie's value may have slipped after he hit .218 in June compared to .295 in April and .275 in May. The Bucs' current shortstop, Clint Barmes, is hitting a mere .204.

- Doug Mittler

ETA for Halladay

8:52AM ET

While the Philadelphia Phillies decide whether they are deadline buyers or sellers, Roy Halladay is eyeing a return to the rotation shortly after the All-Star break, reports Matt Gelb.

The 35-year-old pitched on flat ground on Sunday, two days after throwing 33 pitches during his first bullpen session since landing on the DL with a strained latissimus dorsi in his back. His next throwing session will be in New York this week.

If the Phillies are to have any chance of returning to the postseason, they need Halladay back sooner than later. Pitching coach Rich Dubee suggested Halladay could skip an official rehabilitation assignment.

- Doug Mittler

Avila happy behind the plate

8:40AM ET

Tigers catcher Alex Avila has been bothered by chronic tendinitis in his left knee, but treatment sessions with trainer Kevin Rand have been paying dividends, reports Steve Kornacki of the Detroit Free Press.

An All-Star in 2011, Avila has struggled at the plate for most of the season, but he has pushed his average up to .247 by going 7-for-20 this past week in series against the Rangers and Rays.

Avila played third base at the University of Alabama and there has been some talk that he and the Tigers would be better served by moving him out from behind the plate at some point. Avila discounts the idea, claiming his knee is healthy and he plans to be catching "for a long time."

- Doug Mittler

Orioles in Greinke chase?

8:14AM ET

Zack Greinke can become a free agent after this season and if the Milwaukee Brewers cannot extend his contract soon, they'll try and trade the right-hander, reported Ken Rosenthal of last week.

Rosenthal notes that the Brewers, who sit seven games out of first place in the National League Central and six back in the wild card race, have yet to decide whether or not to buy or sell.

In Sunday's Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo says the Orioles could be a wild card in the Greinke chase. The belief that Greinke would be better off pitching in a smaller market because of his past anxiety issues "is still very much in play," Cafardo writes.

Among the clubs that need a pitcher such as Greinke include the usual suspects -- New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers -- but the Detroit Tigers may need him the most.

After Justin Verlander and Doug Fister, the Tigers lack reliable starting pitching. Greinke could also be ideal in St. Louis if the Cardinals lose faith that Chris Carpenter will return in near-top form. The Toronto Blue Jays cannot be counted out, either.

ESPN Insider Jim Bowden explains why Greinke is likely to be moved:

- Doug Mittler and Jason A. Churchill

Jim Bowden

Greinke likely gone

"The Brewers will probably wait until the end of July to decide if they are buyers or sellers, but it seems pretty clear that Zack Greinke could end up being the prize of this trade deadline. The contract negotiations have not gone well between his agent Casey Close and the club. With Matt Cain's deal setting the market, this will not be an easy deal to negotiate. Greinke just has to wait three more months to be a free agent. Unless he suffers an injury, he would be foolish not to test the free-agent market."

Lee balks at LA deal

7:52AM ET

Trading first baseman Carlos Lee won't be an easy task for the Houston Astros.

Lee, who has a limited no-trade clause, said he will not accept a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.'s Jayson Stark reported that the Dodgers and Astros agreed on the framework of the trade before presenting it to Lee for approval. Although rumors have circulated about a 2-for-1 deal, the Astros would have received just one minor leaguer from the Dodgers, possibly righthander Garrett Gould.

Lee, a free agent after the season, is comfortable playing in Houston and may be reluctant to relocate. But he also is aware that a solid performance for a contender can enhance his value, just as it did for him in 2006 when he went from the Brewers to the Rangers and later landed a $100 million deal in Houston. Maybe he becomes more open to the idea the closer we get to July 31.

- Doug Mittler

Will Francoeur be dealt?

7:31AM ET
Jeff Francoeur | Royals

The minor league apprenticeship of Wil Myers is nearing a conclusion and the Kansas City Royals could call up the top outfield prospect at any time.

Myers, a third-round pick in 2009, is hitting .326 with 26 homers at two minor league levels. But Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star cautioned last week that a promotion is unlikely to happen before the All-Star break.

The promotion of Myers will only add to the speculation that Jeff Francoeur will be shopped, especially to a team like the Dodgers who are having truble scoring runs. In Sunday's Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo says the Royals could shop Francoeur in search of starting pitching.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney says there is no guarantee Francoeur will be a summer rental:

- Doug Mittler

Buster Olney
Francoeur staying in KC?

"Is this Kevin Youkilis II? Not at all. Because while Youkilis was generally unhappy, Francoeur has an important presence in the KC clubhouse. Why would the Royals simply give away a healthy player who they're already going to have to pay, anyway? And while some Royals fans are clamoring for Myers with the presumption he'll be an upgrade, consider what's happened this year with Eric Hosmer, who has had a tough season despite the fact that he continues to be regarded as one of the top young players in the majors. There's no guarantee that Myers will hit right away, which means that KC won't be in the giveaway business with Francoeur."

Hamels on the block?

7:19AM ET

We keep waiting for the Philadelphia Phillies to kick things into gear, but they aren't even in neutral as the calendar turns from June to July. The Phillies were swept by the Marlins over the weekend, extending their losing streak to five games and adding to the speculation they will be sellers and not buyers as the trade deadline approaches.

The Phillies dealt veteran Jim Thome on Saturday, so could ace lefthander Cole Hamels be next?

Jon Heyman of reported Sunday the Phillies recently began making calls to see about trade interest in Cole Hamels, adding there has been no progress in contract talks to retain the impending free agent.

Our Buster Olney tweeted Sunday night the Phils would make at least one more attempt to sign Hamels to a long-term contract before the team fully commits to dealing the left-hander. There is no indication the Phillies are anywhere close to dealing Hamels.

Olney tweeted earlier Sunday the Phillies would be asking for the steep price of "four to five prospects, some A-plus."

The steep price could limit the amount of serious suitors for Hamels. The Texas Rangers, who have the resources, were reportedly scouting Hamels last week. The Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers are other possibilities due to injuries to their staffs.

- Doug Mittler

Bundy to the big leagues?

6:39AM ET
Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, 19, is 14 starts into his pro career, but skipper Buck Showalter says the club has not ruled out the possibility that he could see the big leagues if the club stays in contention, tweets Roch Kubatko of

"The possibility is in place, but it's something that I think we're a long way from. One, we've got to [be in contention] and he's going to have to do his part," Showalter said via the Baltimore Sun.

Bundy started the year in Class-A Delmarva and has now spent six starts in Advanced-A Frederick. To get to the big leagues, he'd likely have to hit Double-A or higher fairly soon, though it's not out of the question that he could go from the Carolina League to the American League East.

The assumption here is that if Bundy was to get such a call, he would pitch in relief in order to keep his workload at a reasonable level.

- Jason A. Churchill

post #7134 of 72993
Originally Posted by dako akong otin

4 Angels in the all-star team smiley: pimp      

smiley: pimpsmiley: pimpsmiley: pimpsmiley: pimp

Ernesto smiley: nerd
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
post #7135 of 72993
LMAO @ Giants fans

Hopefully the ones on NT are better than that.
post #7136 of 72993
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Mez 0ne

Originally Posted by RaWeX05

Fan voting is a joke.

I mean, even fans voted Sandoval to start over David Wright, who has double his RBI and is 2nd in BA in the National League. laugh.gif

If these games determine home field advantage in the World Series, they need to get rid of fan voting period.

It's karma for 2009 smiley: laugh.
post #7137 of 72993
AJ should have been in the Mid-Summer Classic 30t6p3b30t6p3b30t6p3b

It's a funny world we live in



F/S 2010 DB 3 size 9 (worn 9/10)


It's a funny world we live in



F/S 2010 DB 3 size 9 (worn 9/10)

post #7138 of 72993
Originally Posted by Bean Pie Slanga

LMAO @ Giants fans

Hopefully the ones on NT are better than that.

As a die hard Giants fan, I am actually a little upset at what happened regarding All Star voting.  I understand its a popularity contest, and the correct players are voted starters roughly 0% of the time, but the way this was handled is just wrong.  In spite of us having 3 starting All Stars, I feel like this makes us fans as well as the organization itself look REALLY foolish.

Dont just blame the fans.  The Giants front office has as much to do with this as us fans do.  I have a close friend who works in the Giants executive marketing department and he sent out an email blast to all of his contacts telling people to vote for Pablo.  I actually pissed him off, because I clicked "reply all" and went on a full page rant as to why Pablo is not deserving of an All Star spot in general, let alone being a starter.  I also know  for a fact that the Giants had people internally that were doing nothing more than stuffing the ballot box for the last 3 days of voting.  Im not saying other teams dont do this, but for sure our team's front office did.

Now, when I make claims like "Vogelsong and Bumgarner were snubbed" it will be laughed off because of Pablo....which isnt right.

Those are my 2 cents.
post #7139 of 72993
I don't understand why Crasnick was hating on Melky for being an All Star but wanted Harper to be there? Yeah, Harper is the big name people want to see but he doesn't deserve to be there like Melky does.
post #7140 of 72993
Originally Posted by madj55

I don't understand why Crasnick was hating on Melky for being an All Star but wanted Harper to be there? Yeah, Harper is the big name people want to see but he doesn't deserve to be there like Melky does.

I never liked him.

"And I'm not remotely a fan of putting a BABIP-fluke hitter like

in the game on that basis, let alone having him start over an
established star like Andrew
; Cabrera's roster spot should have gone to Michael
or, preferably, the reemergent Jason
, who appeared in the All-Star Game as a rookie in 2010."

But did he really say Heyward deserves Cabrera's spot?

What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
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