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Inside Baseball MLB Notes | Could Harper join the Yankees?

Jon Heyman



Jun 9, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) watches the fans react to the home run ball hit by New York Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew (not pictured) during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Inside Baseball from Jon Heyman brings you news, notes, rumors and more from all 30 MLB teams. For the latest on which 2018 free agents have seen their stocks rise and fall, click here.

And now, around the majors…

Arizona Diamondbacks

— Paul Goldschmidt looks to be back. Which is huge for the D-backs.

— Jon Jay, known for his great on-base percentage, was brought in to lead off. In his first three games he was 0-for-11 with two walks and two hit by pitches (h/t Nick Piecoro of

— I saw one high school game this year, and Blaze Alexander hit three home runs in that game. Bonus: He is said to be a great kid. The D-backs somehow got this supreme talent from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. in the 11th round and signed him for $500,000. He had been ticketed for the University of South Carolina. Anyway, great deal for the D-backs.

— They also signed OF Alek Thomas, the son of the White Sox’s strength coach, for $1.2 million.

— Clay Buchholz looks like a savior. GM Mike Hazen told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “familiarity” helped with the call to take a chance.

Buchholz praised Donald Trump in this article by Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

— Shelby Miller had some struggles in his rehab starts.

— Robbie Ray could be exactly what they need.

— The Diamondbacks showed what they are made of, coming back to win 9-5 after Chris Owings was drilled in a retaliatory strike by Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove in a game the Pirates once led 5-0.

Atlanta Braves

— Mike Soroka is already a star.

— Wunderkind Ronald Acuña could be back by the weekend (h/t Mark Bowman of

— The Braves continued to struggle on the West Coast. They are 4-14 in their last 18 at Dodger Stadium, and an even more surprising 3-19 in their last 22 at PETCO Park (h/t David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution).

— Ozzie Albies was in a 4-for-38 tailspin before the Mets came to town.

— Freddie Freeman continues to beat up on the Mets (and just about everyone else). He leads the NL in BA, OBP, OPS, fWAR, and wRC+ (h/t Mark Bowman).

— Nick Markakis is in position to make his first All-Star Game. He’s second in career hits among players to never make one in the modern era, trailing only Juan Pierre.

Baltimore Orioles

— The bad news is extending to the minors. Hunter Harvey was sidelined with posterior shoulder instability (via Dan Connolly of

— The Orioles have now been swept six times on the road.

— Said Buck Showalter: “It’s the time to be pointing fingers. It’s pretty obvious where we’re struggling.” While he didn’t say it, it’s the offense (especially first base), and maybe the defense and starting pitching.

— Zach Britton is back, just in time to try to enhance his trade value. Remember, there are two advantages to being traded: 1) He’d no longer be on the Orioles, and 2) He wouldn’t be eligible to receive the qualifying offer and have a draft pick attached in free agency.

— Adam Jones has heated up, and while he hasn’t been mentioned much in trade, there’s no great reason why he wouldn’t be a candidate to go as well (though he did recently buy a large house in Maryland).

Boston Red Sox

— As if J.D. Martinez isn’t valuable enough, now word comes that he may have found a flaw in Rafael Devers’ swing that he helped the 3B fix.

— There have to be concerns about Dustin Pedroia after yet another injury.

— Triston Casas, from the vaunted American Heritage Academy in Plantation Fla, is said to have had a chance to sign for more with the Rays earlier in the first round, but decided he’d rather go with the Red Sox, who wound up taking him and signing him for a slot deal (Evan Drellich of NBC Boston reported the deal first).

— The AL All-Star leaders in the OF – Mookie Betts, Mike Trout and Aaron Judge – look imposing. Andrew Benintendi is a worthy candidate as a backup.

Chicago Cubs

— The Cubs are looking much better than they did last year, when they admit now they were suffering from a hangover from an all-time World Series win, as Jon Lester pointed out.

— Lester will go down as one of the best free agent signings ever. He is still at the top of his game.

— Enough with all the experimentation at the top of the order, Albert Almora has been terrific this year. Joe Maddon even tried Kris Bryant there. He had a career worst 20-game homerless streak. But he has too much power to be wasted at leadoff, at least from here.

— NFL legend Joe Namath’s visit with the Cubs (and talk with GM Jed Hoyer) that was played on MLB Network was very interesting. Namath seems like a terrific personality, and he seems fortunate to be in better condition than most 75-year-old former NFL players, which means he’s living and relatively upright.

— Yu Darvish may not be back until after the All-Star break.

— Anthony Rizzo has now homered in every inning through 13, according to Christopher Kamka (@ckamka). The shot in the 11th vs. the Brewers filled in a gap there.

— Jason Heyward looks like his old self now, which would seem to lessen the need for Bryce Harper. Perhaps new hitting coach Chili Davis helped there.

Sometimes there’s a draft story that warms the heart. Itamar Steiner’s selection on the Cubs’ very last pick is one of those stories.

— Their first-rounder, Nico Hoerner, Stanford infielder, was a natural for the Cubs, who seem to thrive with college hitters. Hoerner will also fit well with Kyle Hendricks (Dartmouth), Theo Epstein (Yale), Jed Hoyer (Wesleyan) and Scott Harris (Northwestern).

Chicago White Sox

— Give the ChiSox credit for going into Boston and winning two of three, including a 1-0 win over former White Sox legend Chris Sale.

— On the other hand, the fundamental mistakes are confounding. In a recent game they trailed 7-0, they had someone thrown out at home – by a lot. Not good.

— Reynaldo Lopez looks like he’ll be a viable starter for years to come.

— Meanwhile, there are still worries about Lucas Giolito.

— Carson Fulmer is having a season to forget. It isn’t getting much better in the minors.

— Joakim Soria is an under-the-radar trade candidate.

— Daniel Palka had a game where he hit four balls in play, with the lowest velocity being 107 mph (via @CKamka on twitter).

James Fegan of The Athletic wrote on Palka’s relationship with the new-age stats.

— Carlos Rodon was back, which should help.

— Nick Madrigal, the diminutive Oregon State infielder and No. 4 overall pick, is getting big praise (he was the Phillies’ second choice after Alex Bohm). He is expected to sign once the Beavers are out, perhaps for slot ($6,411,400), though no deal can be discussed before his team concludes play.

— Jose Abreu leads all 1B in All-Star votes; he would be the first White Sox player voted as a starter since Frank Thomas in 1996.

Cincinnati Reds

— Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall pick from a year ago, was going through some growing pains.

— Ex-Red Mat Latos sparked a bench-clearing brawl in an independent league game.

— The Reds ended their 13-game losing streak against the hated Cardinals.

— Billy Hamilton had four of the five fastest times on triples. Unfortunately, his low on-base percentage significantly limits his trade value.

Cleveland Indians

— While the bullpen has fallen precipitously this year, they can’t have regrets about not holding onto Bryan Shaw, who’s struggling in Colorado, and Joe Smith, who just went on the DL.

— Corey Kluber hadn’t walked anyone since May 8 (168 batters). He also had 26 straight starts with no more than three earned runs (h/t Jordan Bastion,

— Rajai Davis hit his first home run for the Indians since the unforgettable one, as Jayson Stark of The Athletic pointed out.

— Top prospect Francisco Mejia was promoted. They already have two professional catchers (Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez), so perhaps one of the vets could be used in trade.

— Oral arguments were heard Wednesday in a Brooklyn court in the dispute between Juan Carlos Nunez, the former employee of the ACES agency, one of baseball’s biggest agencies. Nunez is suing for $2-plus-million in back pay and expenses for the work he did for them. ACES is attempting to have the case thrown out on the grounds that Nunez was convicted of a drug offense while working for them. But he explains in great details in his case that he was only acting on their orders. Erik Groothuis of Schlam, Sloane and Dolan, who represents in Nunez, said, “We are encouraged by the fact that the judge is looking hard at the legal arguments, and hopeful Juan Carlos will have his day in court. Everyone else in this has repaid the benefits. And he’s paid his debt to society. There’s something unjust about that.” Here’s where we wrote about Nunez’s case when it was filed. From here, it would seem a bit ridiculous that the employers (and players) all benefited while Nunez was only punished for what he says was following orders. I mean, does anyone really believe it was Nunez who concocted that phony website designed to help Melky Cabrera beat a drug ban?

Colorado Rockies

— The bullpen, which was rebuilt in the winter, has been an issue. However, the Rockies are loath to trade the prospects they are most-often asked about (middle infielders Brendan Rodgers, Garrett Hampson) for pen help.

— With D.J. LeMahieu a free agent at year’s end, that makes Rodgers and Hampson even more untradeable.

— LeMahieu, for the record, told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that he’d like to remain a Rockie. (People do like playing there, especially hitters). LeMahieu is terrific, so if they could work that out, that would make sense.

— Bryan Shaw doesn’t seem to have taken to Coors.

— Adam Ottavino, who had been one of the most dominant relievers (maybe second after Josh Hader) before going out with an oblique, seems close to returning. He said on MLB Network the other day that he feels healthy.

— Jon Gray hasn’t duplicated his magic from a year ago.

— Ian Desmond is looking more like himself. Which is a big plus.

— The Rockies’ great perennial strength — playing at home — isn’t such a strength this year.

Detroit Tigers

— No. 1 overall draft choice Casey Mize, the Auburn RHP who was the logical pick all along, will sign once Auburn is out of it. It’ll be interesting to see whether he or No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart of the Giants ($7.5 million) gets the bigger deal.

— Shane Greene looks like a nice trade candidate. The first one with him didn’t work out so well (the Diamondbacks got Robbie Ray and the Yankees Didi Gregorius) but in this market they should be able to get something good for Greene.

— Doug Mientkiewicz’s Mud Hens had the best record in Triple-A at 38-23 (h/t Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).

— The loss of Miguel Cabrera for the year hurts. But it probably doesn’t jeopardize his chances to get to 3,000 hits. He has 2,676 (and four more years left on his contract, with $141 million to go counting this year). Remember, he started as an 18-year-old with the 2003 World Series-winning Marlins.

Kansas City Royals

— Gold star to trade candidate Mike Moustakas, who has 13 home runs and 42 RBI but bunted his way on to quash the shift.

— Moustakas can play first base, which should increase his trade value.

— Ned Yost advocated an expansion of replay.

— The Royals had a pitching haul in their draft, assuming they get them all signed. Brady Singer was a gift at No. 18, and they gathered a few other good ones.

Houston Astros

— Ken Giles was quietly demoted from closer. Hector Rondon appears to be the new guy.

— Seth Beer, their first pick, a first baseman from the University of Tennessee, has signed, Mark Berman of FOX in Houston reported.

— Manager A.J. Hinch won a game by challenging a non-balk call (it was a balk by Keone Kela).

— Evan Gattis is heating up, and so are the Astros.

Los Angeles Angels

— The Angels seemed to do everything right for two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, but sources say the Grade 2 tear found is a new tear, unrelated to the Grade 1 tear he was reported to have when he picked the Angels.

— Mike Trout is right. Shohei Ohtani’s elbow injury is a “bummer” for all concerned.

— Trout himself was in a rare “slump,” however briefly. He had been 2-for-19 with no RBI in a stretch before a two-homer game. Which only means for the moment he took a small hit in his effort to become the first player ever to post a 15 WAR.

— Via Adam Chodzko of the Angels: Trout is one of three American Leaguers to post seven 20-homer seasons before his age-27 season. The others were Alex Rodriguez and Mickey Mantle.

— Mariners soft-tossing starter Wade LeBlanc planned to stay away from him, but Trout reached over the plate to hit a homer, as David Adler of related.

— The Angels would love to extend Trout (of course). But he isn’t willing to commit – at least not publicly. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times asked Trout whether the lack of postseason appearances could deter him from signing a second long-term deal. And Trout said, “I don’t have the answer. I want to get to the playoffs. That’s my mindset. I can’t predict the future. So I must take it one day at a time now and see what happens.”

Los Angeles Dodgers

— Leading the Dodgers’ quick comeback are three surprise players: Ross Stripling, Max Muncy and old friend Matt Kemp. Stripling has pitched like an ace (53 strikeouts and only four walks in his last seven starts), Kemp is an All-Star candidate and Muncy has 12 home runs (same as he hit last year in more than twice as many games in Triple-A).

— Walker Buehler has a side injury, adding to their pitching injury woes, which are extensive, starting with Clayton Kershaw.

— Justin Turner (.668 OPS) may not be fully recovered from wrist woes following his untimely break, according to Dodgers reporters.

— Interesting interview in the Boston Globe with Tommy John. Jim Kaat tweeted that he should be in the Hall. “He won 288 games! Wake up Voters!” The same could really be said for Kaat.

Miami Marlins

— When the new Marlins’ management team took over after the 2017 season following the purchase by iconic Yankee Derek Jeter and principal investor Bruce Sherman, unlike a lot of new groups, they didn’t immediately make wholesale changes – though there were a few notable firings and force-outs that created headlines. For the most part, though, they kept folks out of necessity and expediency (contracts were about to expire, and there was no way to replace everyone) and they did so out of fairness (there was no time to make proper evaluations, especially since it was hard to tell who did what since the chain of command was ill-defined in many cases). Instead, the Marlins are experiencing turnover as they go.

— The Marlins’ twitter handle jinxed Clayton Richard’s no-hit bid by tweeting the definition of a no-hitter while Richard’s bid was in progress. But considering it was the Padres, was that really even necessary?

— D.J. Svihlik, one of the new guys from the Yankees, was promoted to amateur scouting director right after the draft. But sadly, just a week before this draft, he lost both his parents in a car accident. Jo Ann Svihlik, 65 died at the scene of the accident in Danbury Township, Ohio. Dennis Svihlik died of injuries from the accident a couple days later. Best wishes to the entire Svihlik family.

Milwaukee Brewers

— Brad Miller’s trade to the Brewers gave him a chance to do something few players have done, which is to play in a home park named for him (Miller Park). Erik Bremer on twitter named Toronto’s Esmil Rogers, Seattle’s Kevin King, Arizona’s Chase Anderson and the Brewers’ Damian Miller.

— Hard to believe you could get Miller for Ji-Man Choi. Good for the Brewers. Miller (110 OPS+) gives them another 2B option.

— The deal made a lot of sense from a Brewers standpoint considering Eric Thames was coming back. Miller gives them much more flexibility, and another 2B option down the road. Even better, according to AP, the Rays will still pay the bulk of Miller’s salary.

— Left-handed hitters were 2-for-36 vs. Josh Hader before Jason Heyward made it three hits.

— The Brewers won perhaps their two biggest games of the year over the Cubs after they had fallen to 1-8 vs. their arch-rival.

Minnesota Twins

— Joe Mauer could return Friday after a head/neck injury suffered while diving for a ball in Anaheim a month ago. Mauer was said to have been understandably “spooked” since he has a history of concussions, so the Twins took it slow. People close to him say he has a love for the game and expect he’d have interest in playing another year but likely only for the Twins. Nice thing: His grandparents still come to every game.

— Ervin Santana, whose return has been pushed back a few times, is believed to be about four weeks away, which could mean the All-Star break. Manager Paul Molitor told Twins writers the grip wasn’t feeling right due to the finger injury.

— Byron Buxton has improved from pain to “soreness,” and he’s close to going on a rehab assignment. He may have rushed a bit the first time.

— The Twins could become a candidate to sell should they not start to play better. While they look like the main threat to the favored Indians, they can’t let Cleveland pull too far away since the top wild card winner will obviously not come out of the AL Central. That said, there should be a decent number of wins in that division since 75 percent (three of four) of the other teams are rebuilding.

— Eduardo Escobar leads the majors with 39 extra-base hits and 26 doubles and has earned the right to play every day. He could become a super-utility player once Jorge Polanco returns after his 80-game ban, which could include games all around the infield. Or he could possibly move to third base, where Miguel Sano has struggled badly with the bat and was recently sent down to Single-A.

— Escobar is a free agent but he’s said to want to stay in Minnesota. The Twins have a lot of players who are free agents at the end of the year, but Escobar is really the only one outperforming expectations.

— About a half-dozen players were given the opportunity to sign long-term over the winter but all declined. Those players are believed to include almost all of Jose Berrios, Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, Sano and Jorge Polanco.

— Matt Belisle, who did a fantastic job for the Twins closing last year, was quickly scooped up on a major-league deal after the rival Indians surprisingly let him go.

New York Mets

The Mets need to seriously consider a trade for superstar starter Jacob deGrom.

— They are hoping Jeurys Familia won’t take much longer than the 10 days.

— The Mets didn’t seem quite ready to demote Michael Conforto, who they need to get going. Conforto told Joel Sherman of the New York Post and MLB Network that he doesn’t think it’s needed. Someone inside the organization suggested the idea that they might demote Conforto was perhaps floated as a trial balloon.

— There’s been speculation about a release of Jose Reyes for weeks, and SNY’s Andy Martino reported Mets people were trying to convince him to make an announcement along those lines. Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post wrote that Reyes is being treated with too much deference considering the complete history here. However, Mets people deny the story on their own network. It would seem odd. He didn’t seem beloved by ownership when he left for the rival Marlins, and he was only brought back because he was willing/happy to do a minimum deal, and then a low-dollar deal. He was very good in the second half last year, so his fall has been somewhat startling (though Mets people are excusing it as a result of sporadic opportunity; last year Terry Collins, a huge fan, stayed with him, but this year with Amed Rosario given the starting job, it’s been quite a different situation).

— Seth Lugo is developing into quite a pitcher, and he’s a conundrum for the staff, which loved him in the swing role (but he’s out-pitched that role). Previously, he was mostly known for having the top spin rate on his curve.

— Jose Bautista proved me wrong. In this space in spring I ruminated about whether Joey Bats might have to retire. And he’s gotten two jobs since then, first with the Braves and now the Mets. Good for him.

— David Wright wants to give it one last try and has started doing baseball activities again, as friends say he feels guilty about the big contract (and of course would love to play). It just shows what a terrific person he is to give it this much effort.

New York Yankees

— While Bryce Harper is believed to like the Yankees (if he can’t work it out with the Nats), Yankees people seem to think that’s a long shot (not that they don’t love Harper). With star corner outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, plus the possibility of a Brett Gardner return (there’s a club option) and Clint Frazier waiting in the wings, they’d need to make room for him. They have set themselves up nicely for a big move by getting below the luxury tax threshold, so it can’t be ruled out entirely. Since they are the biggest and richest team, and Harper’s dad was a Yankee fan, he’s long been linked to them. But to make it happen, they’d probably have to make some other major moves first.

— Masahiro Tanaka may be a few weeks away. Which heightens their interest in obtaining a starting pitcher.

There’s getting to be a buzz in New York already about a potential Jacob deGrom-to-the-Yankees trade – though there’s no evidence of any talk yet, and a belief on the part of some (or even many) that there’s no way the two sides could ever agree to such a blockbuster.

— Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and even Aaron Judge aren’t matching last year’s output, and the Yankees are still on a historical pace. Scary.

— A surprise rotation candidate is Jonathan Loaisiga, as Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and The Athletic first reported.

— Gleyber Torres has to be the best No. 9 hitter in baseball.

— It isn’t only the money, but the Yankees have done a better job than the Mets finding talent, Joel Sherman of the New York Post and MLB Network wrote.

Oakland A’s

— They are playing like a buyer. But the issue is their division, where the surprising Mariners have joined the stacked Astros at the top. So obviously, they could still sell.

— If they do sell, Jed Lowrie would be a valuable piece for several teams. Back to the Red Sox would make sense.

Philadelphia Phillies

— The Phillies have made the most sense for Manny Machado, as we mentioned here and here. And Todd Zolecki of suggested as much.

— The thing is, they haven’t gotten much to this point from anyone on the left side of their infield, from J.P. Crawford to Maikel Franco to Scott Kingery. The Phillies are said to be willing to appease Machado by playing him at shortstop, where he looks fine despite so-so metrics.

— Henderson Alvarez has been dominating for Cancun of the Mexican League, and the Phillies (who employed him last year), Nats and Twins have considered him.

— Aaron Nola is All-Star worthy.

Pittsburgh Pirates

— Joe Musgrove once again showed spunk, plunking Arizona’s Chris Owings in retaliation for Josh Harrison getting hit high by Braden Shipley (the ball hit Harrison’s shoulder but was inches from his head), so he gets points here. But Pittsburgh wound up losing the game they once led 5-0 by a 9-5 score. It seems like the Pirates have been in more than their share of scraps.

— It’s a positive that Harrison is back.

— Jung-ho Kang has been moved up to Triple-A after a hot start.

— Francisco Cervelli once again leads the league in bumps and bruises. He has proven to be a very valuable player.

St. Louis Cardinals

— The Cardinals continue to be very up and down. The loss of Alex Reyes for the year is a major blow. And Carlos Martinez had a rough start in his return (seven walks).

— Speaking of Reyes, best luck to him and his family after he revealed his young daughter is battling cancer.

Rick Hummel (aka “the Commish”) has a good story in Martinez searching for consistency.

— Manager Mike Matheny implored pitchers to be honest with him.

Brett Cecil talked to Hummel about his limited role.

— Daniel Poncedeleon was back a year after suffering a brain injury that necessitated surgery following an inadvertent beaning by a line drive in a minor-league game. Great story Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote on him.

Goold also did a story on the late great Red Schoendienst.

— Miles Mikolas looks like a smart deal at $15.5 million. Several teams offered around $10 million over two. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe identified the Padres and Twins as two of the other teams in on Mikolas.

— Power-hitting 3B Nolan Gorman got a slot deal. Gorman was a high school star in the Phoenix area, like his best friend Matthew Liberatore, a LHP, who was picked three spots ahead and got $3.5 million from the Rays.

San Diego Padres

— Craig Stammen looks like a very nice gamble at $4.5 million over two years and is a solid trade piece, if the Padres go in that direction. Here last week we wrote about San Diego’s trade possibilities.

— The Padres are heating up. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they are in a division where everyone’s within a few games of .500. So they may delay that sale awhile.

— Eric Hosmer is paying dividends.

— While Marlins twitter jinxed Clayton Richard during his no-hit bid, Dennis Lin of The Athletic pointed out that the Padres have played 7,881 games without throwing a no-hitter (and no jinx was ever needed). Richard is also the pitcher with the highest groundball rate (also from Lin) so a no-hitter isn’t too likely anyway.

— The Padres did well in the draft. LHP Ryan Weathers, the son of former big leaguer David Weathers, has a big future. They also considered a semi-local, Cole Winn of Orange Lutheran in that spot.

— Owen Miller, the third-rounder, succeeded Paul DeJong as Illinois State’s shortstop. He once had two cycles in three days playing for the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League (as pointed out, the Padres have a total of two cycles in their history). Miller has agreed to a deal, as FRS reported. According to his agent Burton Rocks, Miller was a three-sport star from Ozaukee, Wis., as he also starred in basketball and is an expert in ping pong as well (which also happens to be very popular in most spring clubhouses, including the Padres).

San Francisco Giants

The Giants look like a very likely player for Bryce Harper, and maybe even a main player.

— Brandon Crawford looks like an MVP candidate. Which is interesting because his brother-in-law Gerrit Cole has been a Cy Young candidate. While neither can be considered the favorite, both are having magical years.

— Johnny Cueto is shooting to return around June 30, reports Chris Haft of

— Derek Holland looks like a fantastic sign. He is also a great personality.

— Hunter Strickland in response to boos he received from Nats fans: “I don’t blame them.” (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle).

No less than Pedro Martinez endorsed their chances in twitter.

— Joey Bart, the Georgia Tech catcher, was a terrific choice, as they will need to replace the great Buster Posey at some point. We hear they considered RHP Cole Winn at No. 2. Though Winn lasted until No. 15, that is a big endorsement, since Giants pitching guru Dick Tidrow has been right about pitchers as often as anyone.

— Bart is close to signing, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronical.

Seattle Mariners

— Seattle is on an amazing streak of good play in one-run games, going 21-9 in their first 65 games. That’s the most one-run games Baseball Reference could find in a team’s first 65 games since 1908 (h/t Greg Johnson of – Johnson, incidentally, is the brother of Washington Sen. Patty Murray).

— GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais probably saved their jobs and earned extensions.

— Dee Gordon looks much better at second. Dipoto publicly proposed a job share with Robinson Cano once Cano returns.

Tampa Bay Rays

Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, who’s terrific, has an inside look at two-way star Brendan McKay, who’s pitching in particular has been fantastic.

— Kevin Kiermaier (torn thumb ligament) is shooting to return around June 20.

— Tyler Frank, their second-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, has a deal said to be for $1 million.

Texas Rangers

— Shin-Soo Choo has been productive since early May, and the Rangers would be willing to pay down some of his salary in the right deal.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wrote about “five landing spots” for Cole Hamels.

— The Rangers as of Tuesday had yet to ask Hamels about his willingness to waive a no-trade clause that includes 20 teams. Hamels’ agent John Boggs said by phone that Hamels is willing to be “open-minded” and that the 2008 World Series MVP wouldn’t mind playing for a winner. He probably wouldn’t mind having his $20 million option for 2019 picked up (it won’t vest as it was based on cumulative innings, and an oblique kept him out last year) but it’s doubtful that’s determinative. Before accepting the trade to Texas, Hamels had declined a deal to Houston (of course, no one knew they would win the World Series!).

— Adrian Beltre has been cited as a trade possibility. But there are a few reasons that may not work. 1) the $18 million salary, 2) his assortment of nagging injuries in recent years, and 3) a lack of need at third base among contenders. He’s obviously great for a team and can play first as well as third. But Texas’ position is this: “Somebody’s going to have to really want him.”

— The Rangers bullpen has been a surprising success, and with Jake Diekman, Jesse Chavez and Tony Barnette free agents after the year, they (and others) are all candidates to go.

— Cole Winn, a RHP from Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, was a surprise to last until No. 15 after posting a 0.20 ERA in a tough league. The Giants (at No. 2), Padres and Orioles were said to have seriously considered him. According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB, he signed for $3.15 million, which was well under the $3,738,500 slot.

— Texas did the right thing extending GM Jon Daniels. Though the past two years haven’t been their best, this has been the most successful stretch in the organization’s history. Texas is one of the teams that doesn’t announce the length of GM deals. That will have to be found out later.

Toronto Blue Jays

— Curtis Granderson has been a terrific signing for the Jays.

— Deck McGuire, who was once drafted No. 6 overall (ahead of Matt Harvey and Chris Sale) was designated for assignment.

— Vlad Guerrero Jr. has temporarily put the long-running debate about why he isn’t getting promoted on ice thanks to a knee injury (patella tendon) that will keep him out a month.

— It was nice that the Jays were able to sign high school teammates Jordan Groshans and Adam Kloffenstein, from Magnolia, Texas. The RHP Kloffestein received an above-slot $2.5 million after being picked in the third round; 3B-SS Groshans was expected to be below the $4,200,900 slot as pick No. 12.

Washington Nationals

MLB people are concerned about a potentially depleted Home Run Derby field this year and would love Bryce Harper to participate in the All-Star Game, which is in Washington next month.

— First-year manager Dave Martinez told his troops “don’t panic” and the team responded.

— Stephen Strasburg is on the DL again. And so, the Nats could be in the starting pitching market this trading season.

— Three of the seven home runs Max Scherzer has allowed came on cutters, a pitch he throws only 11 percent of the time (via Mark Zuckerman).

— Robert Murray’s notes column that contained an unnamed quote from one NL executive saying Harper is “overrated” and “not a winning player,” created quite a stir, with an assist from feisty Nats GM Mike Rizzo. My position on this is, while I disagree with the one unnamed person (Harper’s team has won as many games as anyone since he came into the league, up there with the Dodgers) and Harper is plainly not a losing player, and I understand Rizzo sticking up for his player, the note – which was balanced by another unnamed person calling Harper a “generational” player and Murray’s assessment that Harper would receive a record $350 million plus – shouldn’t upset anyone since it was just the wrongheaded opinion of one unnamed person (yes, Murray did have real quotes) and Harper might actually have scored some points by laughing it off.

— Juan Soto is amazing. He’s here to stay.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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