Inside Baseball MLB Notes | Nimmo breakout rare positive for Mets
Inside Baseball from Jon Heyman brings you news, notes, rumors and more from all 30 MLB teams. For the latest on which teams could become sellers leading up to the trade deadline, click here.
And now, around the majors…
— Manny Machado would be a superb add, but they aren’t as well-stocked with prospects as some of the other interested parties.
— Paul Goldschmidt (1.404 OPS in June) is himself again. Which is huge for the D-backs.
— Daniel Descalso, former utility player, has a .900-plus OPS for the year. So the launch angle is working for him.
— Chris Owings is a darned good CF as it turns out.
— @JonJayU is a great twitter handle. While there is a John Jay University, named for the early Supreme Court justice, we’ll assume this refers to Jay’s own alma mater, the University of Miami, which is commonly called “The U” in Miami circles.
— The Braves checked in on Kelvin Herrera. They definitely have the prospects, but the Royals saw the Nats as a better match. It’s unfortunate for them that Herrera went to the Nats, the main competitor.
— Arodys Vizcaino has been a bit scary as closer, but he’s generally doing the job.
— The Braves, for the most part, would prefer to wait, as Braves people have noted how things keep changing. While it looked for a while like the bullpen could be their biggest need, at present they believe it may be offense.
— Folks are impressed by the Braves, and don’t think they are going away anytime soon. “Atlanta has good balance, and their pitching is really good,” one NL scout said.
— Johan Camargo has been “solid” in the word of one Braves person (four hits the other night), but third base still looks like a potential spot for upgrading.
— Mike Moustakas certainly makes sense, and perhaps the head start they have with the Royals, after Herrera talks, gives them a leg up.
— Mike Foltynewicz (triceps tendinitis) is expected back, if not Saturday when he is eligible, than shortly thereafter. Folty is one of many Braves starters thriving this year. His 2.16 ERA is third in the NL and his .199 BAA is second.
— Dan Winkler is having an exceptional year, with a 0.85 WHIP.
— The rotation looks pretty fabulous, with Sean Newcomb (2.70) thriving, Mike Soroka (2.57) and Julio Teheran (no-hit bid) back.
— Ronald Acuña is in Orlando working out, as Mark Bowman of MLB.com pointed out.
— Braves fans are doing great voting for their All-Star favorites, and many Braves do deserve a spot on the team, including Nick Markakis, who would be a worthy first-time All-Star.
— The Orioles’ rumor mill is out of control.
— The biggest hurdle in a potential Manny Machado deal – the ownership hurdle – may be close to being cleared, according to those in the know. If so, the chances for a deal for the superstar infielder would be near 100 percent. Orioles ownership, which now includes Peter Angelos’ sons John and Louis, according to one team source will “probably” sign off on a deal after years of blocking deals (i.e. Zach Britton last year). Meanwhile, the derby is said to be heating up.
— Zach Britton is in a weird spot. “I’m basically showcasing myself,” he told Orioles media. The Astros, who thought they had a trade for Britton at last year’s first deadline, remain interested, according to sources. The Indians, who were “heavy” on Britton last year, are, too.
— We may have figured out the Orioles’ issue. They need to play only on holidays. They had their first home win since Mother’s Day, and it occurred on Father’s Day.
— Richard Bleier, the fellow who was willing to pitch anytime after spending nearly a decade in the minors, went out with a shoulder injury, adding to their woes.
Boston Red Sox
— D.J. LeMahieu could be a trade target with Dustin Pedroia still nursing a knee injury, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported.
— Mitch Moreland, after his hot start, has cooled. He was on a 3-for-31 slide.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. has a .581 OPS, and Chad Jennings of The Athletic wonders whether he could be in jeopardy of losing playing time. He still is the best defender in center, however, and the throw he made to get Robbie Grossman at home was a sight to behold. It was clocked at 103.4 mph, easily the fastest from the outfield this year (there could be a small advantage with a running start, but this is by far and away the fastest throw of the year from out there).
— Steven Wright has been very good since his return, adding to an excellent rotation.
— Eduardo Rodriguez is hot. The whole rotation is looking solid.
— However, the Red Sox have hit their first mini slump, losing four of five, as their offense has cooled.
— The Cubs might be the one team Manny Machado would consent to a multiyear deal with ahead of free agency, writes Robert Murray in his latest notes column.
— Brandon Morrow landing on the DL with back tightness is a big blow. He had been excellent in his new role as closer.
— Manager Joe Maddon said they are as good as anyone in the NL. And that may be so. The four best teams by record are all in the AL.
— Mike Montgomery is pitching so well, he could well keep a rotation spot, GM Jed Hoyer hinted.
— Jason Heyward was back on his game. “Just found my hands again,” Heyward told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network on air.
— Heyward’s resurgence could lessen the likelihood of a Bryce Harper signing (which has been rumored due to Harper’s close relationship with fellow Las Vegas native Kris Bryant).
— Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ – the No. 1 picks from 2013, ’14 and ’15 – all homered in the same game, as @ckamka noted on twitter.
— The Cubs signed Stanford SS Nico Hoerner, as FRS Baseball first reported. Their judgment on college hitters has to be trusted considering the history. Hoerner’s known for excellent instincts as well as fine ability, but they also see power potential.
— RHP Anthony Bass earned his college degree 10 years after starting, from Wayne State, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reported.
— Albert Almora may be one of the more underrated players in the game.
Chicago White Sox
— Eloy Jimenez continued to rake. And Luis Robert was off to a hot start. So the future looks much better.
— Jimenez is expected to go up to Triple-A shortly after the minor-league All-Star games.
— The ChiSox should have something like 18 All-Stars between the Southern, Carolina and Sally leagues.
— On the other hand, Michael Kopech has some control woes lately.
— Also, Lucas Giolito has struggled, and Carson Fulmer also has not performed to hopes.
— Yolmer Sanchez is proving to be quite a useful player. He has eight triples, the first ChiSox player with that many before the All-Star break since Lance Johnson had 14 in 1994.
— Nick Madrigal, the No. 4 pick overall, is still expected to sign once his Oregon State team is out.
— The Reds have been much better under Jim Riggleman, who’s earned the right to stay.
— Jeter Downs not only has a great baseball name, but is looking really good with the bat, too.
— 3B Jonathan India, No. 5 overall pick, had a huge home run for the favored University of Florida in the College World Series, keeping them alive. The Reds have done a nice job with the draft in recent years.
— The Indians are still seeking relief, and have checked in on Marlins young bullpen arms Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough, among others.
— Some wonder whether the Indians could be a candidate to trade for a third baseman – Manny Machado and Mike Moustakas could be trade candidates this summer – with the idea of moving star Jose Ramirez to second base. If the Indians did acquire Machado, who they tried for in the winter, it would be a family affair. Their first baseman, Yonder Alonso, is his brother-in-law.
— Ramirez was on pace to become the first 3B to post a 10-WAR season, via Jay Jaffe of Fangraphs. (Of course, if he moves to 2B this won’t happen).
— According to Fangraphs, Darrell Evans (9.7) posted the highest WAR any season at 3B, followed by A-Rod and Ron Santo (9.6) and Mike Schmidt (9.4 and 9.2).
— Indians people expressed continuing faith in Jason Kipnis, who’s uncharacteristically struggled with the bat.
— Melky Cabrera didn’t get a very long look, just 19 at-bats (and five hits), but with Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin back, the need wasn’t there.
— The Indians could be looking for a righty bat to balance things, as Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis haven’t had their usual years.
— Ollie Perez was off to a decent start with the Tribe. One Indians person remarked that Perez and Neil Ramirez were saviors for their pen, which might surprise some folks. George Kontos, another reinforcement, was just called up, too.
— More relief reinforcements are needed. So they signed Mark Rzepczynski to a minors deal.
— Mike Napoli, who just had knee surgery, told Zack Meisel of The Athletic: “I’m going to train like I’m going to play next year.”
— Bradley Zimmer was struggling with the bat and is now on the DL (shoulder) in Triple-A .
— Anthony Castrovince had a nice Father Day’s story on Cody Allen and his wife Molly’s daughter after two previous pregnancies didn’t take.
— Shane Bieber has fun with his last name. Good for him.
— The Rockies spent $106 million to improve their bullpen, and it is currently the worst in the NL (5.48 ERA). Even big (record-setting) pickup Wade Davis is struggling.
— Ian Desmond (.933 OPS in June) is getting hot.
— Tom Murphy gives them a third catcher and a little more offense.
— They broke an eight-game home losing streak by beating the Mets, 10-8. Their play at home has been a real issue this year.
— We are expecting Auburn RHP Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick, to come in around $7.5 million, which would give him the highest bonus of the year.
— Nick Castallanos has heated up. But GM Al Avila said he wasn’t sure whether they saw Castallanos as a foundation piece for the rebuilding team. It could also depend on timing.
— Alex Faedo and Daz Cameron were promoted to Double-A.
— Kyle Funkhouser has looked very good, with 21 strikeouts (and only one run) in his last 18 innings.
— The Astros never tried for Kelvin Herrera despite the seeming match.
— The Astros, though, are still believed interested in Orioles closer Zach Britton, though it’ll be interesting to see how involved the Astros get. Baltimore canceled last year’s agreed-upon deal at the deadline, claiming multiple players who came from Houston failed physicals (one was 3B Colin Moran, who had just suffered a concussion after fouling a ball off his face; word is another player going was a minor-league OF but that name has not been revealed). Anyway, Astros people believe that deal was actually canceled because Orioles owner Peter Angelos got cold feet with the Orioles on the fringe of the race at the time. The Angelos sons have greater say now, so perhaps Houston will be OK with trying again. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe first mentioned the possible rekindling of Britton talks.
— GM Jeff Luhnow was extended through 2023, which we can’t say was undeserving. But it seems strange there’s no simultaneous extension for their excellent manager A.J. Hinch. Even if teams (not just this one) have come to believe the GM is more important than the manager, having a great manager is still a nice thing to have.
— The Astros’ winning streak was ended by the Rays.
— Marwin Gonzalez, free-agent-to-be, is starting to heat up.
— The Astros look like the team we expected them to be.
— Evan Gattis has stayed hot, and had 13 home runs and 38 RBI over 28 games.
— As if the Astros rotation isn’t good enough, one scout who saw Forrest Whitley recently said he should be ready to make an impact next year.
Kansas City Royals
— The Nats may have had a hidden edge in Kelvin Herrera talks; the Royals already knew Blake Perkins, who’s from Litchfield Park, a small town adjacent to their spring home in Surprise, Ariz. The key, though, is that the Royals believed that Perkins and CF Kelvin Gutierrez fit their interest in superb defensive players. “We liked the deal,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said by phone. “We’re going to do it from within. And we’re going to do it with pitching and defense.” Moore said they believe in these players as defenders, and in light of some criticisms about the hitting ability of the two position players expressed the view that it’s harder to know what kind of hitters they will become. The Royals are to be commended for becoming the first small-market team to win the World Series in this era (and having more Gold Glove winners than anyone from 2011-17, and more All-Stars than any AL team from 2013-17). But they know it’s time for change. “We have to get the system rebuilt, and we have to get the payroll to a manageable level,” Moore said.
— One scout told me the three players the Royals got for Herrera will all be major leaguers. But a more detailed prediction by a scout to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN wasn’t as exciting. That scout said CF Blake Perkins is athletic “but won’t hit enough,” 3B Kelvin Gutierrez is very good defensively but “won’t have enough offensive impact,” and noted that Yohanse Morel is 17 with 3.1 innings of pro ball under his belt.
— Generally, the deal isn’t getting great reviews, as other teams seem to have liked their own offers better (that isn’t that unusual). However, that’s the Royals history; they make great trades that aren’t immediately recognized as such.
— Remember that after the deal with the Brewers where they sent them star pitcher Zack Greinke (after Greinke declined to go to the Nats), many didn’t love that deal. And the Royals, in retrospect, got a haul. KC received Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress back in the deal. Not bad at all.
— After trading Jon Jay and now Herrera, the Royals are now looking to find takers for Mike Moustakas. While he is quite a good player (and in better shape), the issue is that 3B isn’t a position many contenders need to fill.
— The Indians, Braves, Dodgers and Angels were among many teams interested in Herrera. Bob Nightengale of USA Today mentioned the two LA teams.
— Rustin Dodd of The Athletic did a recent in-depth piece on Herrera.
Los Angeles Angels
— The Angels talked to the Royals about Kelvin Herrera before he was traded to the Nats, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today pointed out. There’s no belief they ever got close, but perhaps it’s a sign they aren’t nearly ready to sell yet.
— Mike Trout was 12-for-19 with four home runs in one six-game stretch. Th Angels were 1-5 in that time. As Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com pointed out, he is “the Jacob deGrom of position players.”
— Trout hit .696 last week with four homers, and he again did not win Player of the Week honors. He has a streak going there. He hasn’t won since 2015.
— In June, Trout has a .448/.554/.770 slash line.
— First-round pick Jordyn Adams, an incredible athlete who is choosing to try to be an Angels OF rather than play WR at the University of North Carolina, where his dad is a coach, signed for an over-slot $4.1 million at pick No. 17, the initial first-rounder to go over slot. His football option probably didn’t hurt. Jim Callis of MLB.com was first with that figure.
— The Angels’ system looks a lot better now than it did a few years ago, opined one rival. It has plenty of athletic outfielders, including other recent top draftees Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh.
Los Angeles Dodgers
— The Dodgers retain interest in Manny Machado, and plan to stay in touch on that score.
— They talked a bit to the Royals about Kelvin Herrera (though like the Angels, never were close), and like last year are expected to be involved again for Zach Britton and Brad Hand.
— Clayton Kershaw is “trending in the right direction” and expected back soon.
— Matt Kemp continues to stay hot, and he is a worthy All-Star choice. (He is currently running third.)
— Three of Kemp’s first 12 home runs of his career came against Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, according to @cmkamka on twitter.
— Pedro Moura of The Athletic wrote about Kemp’s fabulous comeback.
— Joc Pederson started June 13-for-33 with seven home runs (1.576 OPS). He’s homered in eight of his past nine starts.
— Max Muncy is yet another surprise star for the Dodgers. Asked who could have seen this coming, one scout answered: “Nobody.” To be fair, it was GM Farhan Zaidi who knew him from his A’s days, so he gets the credit.
— The Dodgers are still working on deals for their top two picks. One, J.T. Gunn, a high school pitcher from Mississippi, has a Mississippi State scholarship. They have offered $2M-plus to the Scott Boras client. The Dodgers had the lowest bonus pool of any team, so they have limitations.
— Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times had an interesting story on the father of Erik Goeddel, who developed a synthetic HGH.
— Goeddel, doing it naturally, had 13 straight scoreless outings to start his year.
— Kiké Hernandez continues to be the one and only MadBum killer. He tied Carlos Gonzalez and Paul Goldschmidt for the all-time lead with nine extra-base hits vs. MadBum. But he did it in about half the at-bats as the two bigger stars.
— Ex-Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who is currently doing work for Dodgers TV and is teaching at Pepperdine, was reported to have had contact with the Orioles about an executive position there, though that report was later denied.
— The Marlins are said to be “open for business.” Which means, not much has changed.
— They are getting calls on hard-throwing relievers Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough – not a shock there (though they aren’t anxious to trade their young, cheap, talented guys).
— Starlin Castro remains less-than-coveted.
— The Nats, who are dead serious about improving, are the last known team to have checked in on star catcher J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto, by the way, is nowhere to be found on All-Star voting even though he may be the best catcher in the big leagues. Of course, the attendance (not to mention his delayed start) may be behind this.
— The Marlins went eight years without coming back to tie three times in a game, then did it twice in three games. (h/t Clark Spencer). That shows you the kind of fight they are playing with under Don Mattingly.
— The Marlins, at least briefly, tied the Mets for wins.
— The Marlins’ immense patience is paying off with Lewis Brinson, who has looked much better lately.
— Marlins first-year play-by-play announcer Paul Severino was an excellent choice for the Marlins. He brings a light, upbeat touch that really works for a rebuilding team.
— Something just heard: Before signing Wei-Yin Chen, who got $80 million and has been hurt a lot, John Lackey was the team’s No. 1 pitching choice that year. Of course, they knew their chances were slim since Lackey wanted another ring; he wound up signing with the Cubs, where he won his third ring (Angels, Red Sox).
— David Crowson, longtime scouting director Stan Meek’s right-hand man, is the latest Marlins exec to be reassigned (Meek himself took a new job as adviser to Michael Hill). We detailed the changes coming last week since Gary Denbo, Jeter’s choice from the Yankees, came in to run scouting and player development.
— Rookie of the Year Brian Anderson candidate has hired CAA to represent him. He leads NL rookies in G, AB, R, H, BA, OBP, rWAR, fWAR.
— With Jesus Aguilar performing, and Brad Miller in the fold, could Eric Thames become available? Robert Murray of FRS Baseball asked that question in his latest notes column.
— Lorenzo Cain looks like one of the best free-agent signings of last winter.
— The Brewers probably need a starter. But they continue to be good at making small moves that help them. Jhoulys Chacin has been terrific lately.
— Brewers pitcher Adrian Houser was really throwing up in the pen. (Actually, it was on the mound.) And give him credit, as Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said; he tried to stay in the game the first time he vomited on the mound.
— Boone Logan was DFA’ed after he struggled getting lefties out.
— Eduardo Escobar, with 31 doubles already, is on pace for 73, which would be a major league record, points out Dustin Morse, Twins PR man. (Earl Webb had 67 in 1931, so the record’s stood for 87 years).
— Escobar will stay at third until Miguel Sano returns, but will continue to play somewhere even after that.
— In addition to everything else he’s accomplished this year, Escobar (1.311 OPS in June), broke Corey Kluber’s streak of not walking anyone at 179 batters.
— According to Twins people, Sano was sent to Class-A Fort Myers because their facilities are better for conditioning – hint, hint.
— Jorge Polanco was about ready to go on his allotted 15-day minors assignment to ready himself for play when he slammed a door on his finger, and suffered an infected finger.
— Ervin Santana is throwing fastballs and changeups but still has to feel comfortable throwing sliders before he returns.
— The Twins are going to let Joe Mauer decide whether he returns next year, and no surprise, he’s been private about his plans to date.
— Eddie Rosario continues to be a Tribe killer. Rosario seems to love a big stage.
— They love Royce Lewis, not only for his play but also his personality.
— Nick Gordon has been quite good in the minors. The brother of Dee is said to have more power than Dee (most are) but isn’t quite as fast as Dee (few are).
New York Mets
— People see a trade of one of the Mets’ two star starters – especially ace Jacob deGrom, with the other being Noah Syndergaard – as a major, major long shot.
— Brandon Nimmo is not only the guy with the great attitude. He is emerging as a star (with a smile, of course).
— After his big game in his “hometown,” he actually led the league in OPS.
— Michael Conforto seems to be back on his game. There are those who believe he rushed back, and missing spring may have cost him.
— Nimmo looks like a star. His OPS was up over 1.000 after a two-homer game at Coors Field, with 75 family and friends (mostly from neighboring Wyoming) in attendance.
— Nimmo started a game in front of his homies with an inside-the-park home run, joining Charlie Neal (1963) and Angel Pagan (2007) as the only Mets to do so.
— There were some worries about Amed Rosario’s slow start. But he seems to be coming around now.
— Jay Bruce was finally put on the DL with a sore left hip, which might explain all those balls that wound up dying at the warning track.
— Dom Smith looks like he’s in better shape. He still could learn a thing or two. He cost an out when he tried to get fancy and go between his legs on a recent play.
— A Mets selloff was deemed “very remote” by GM Sandy Alderson only a few weeks ago. But is no longer remote at all.
— The return of Jeurys Familia has been something Mets people are looking forward to. But Mets manager Mickey Callaway said they would still be “one man short” in the pen.
— Noah Syndergaard is said to be closer to a return.
— Yoenis Cespedes, who played the first six weeks of the year without missing a game, didn’t seem much closer, however.
— Good to see Jose Reyes doing something. “It means a lot to me because I feel like I contributed today,” Reyes said after starting a winning rally with a bunt hit.
— Peter Alonso was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he might hit even more home runs (he had 15 at Double-A Binghamton).
— Asdrubal Cabrera, who’s been the best Met much of the first half, was in an 0-for-22 and 4-for-54 slump.
— Robert Gsellman praised the ride on the bullpen cart after becoming a rare reliever to use it, giving it three of five stars while extolling the cushions.
— As Noah Syndergaard said on twitter, his “ass was in the jackpot.” Syndergaard has one of the best twitter accounts going. It’s so good we are wondering if he has professional help on it. Either way, It’s really terrific.
— We miss the account of @MetsGM, though. He was good, too.
— Zack Wheeler was hitting 99 in his last outing.
— Steven Matz has looked much better, as well (2.51 ERA over his last eight starts).
— The problem was been the offense.
— Todd Frazier, a funny guy and one of two great New York baseball figures from Toms River, wanted it known that Al Leiter really isn’t from Toms River (apparently, he is from a suburb slightly south of Toms River). Frazier understood the distinction probably isn’t important to those of us not lucky enough to be from Toms River, but he seemed to enjoy making it (as he enjoys most everything he does).
— Frazier has a wonderful baseball bond with his son Blake, as Matt Ehalt of the Bergen (N.J.) Record writes.
— A.J. Ramos is out for the year after finding out he needs shoulder surgery to repair a labrum. This ends any hopes to trade him, and unfortunately for him, severely impacts his free agency. Ramos, the roommate of Giancarlo Stanton (who for better or worse will presumably be more present now), is making $9.2 million this year.
— Nimmo has hired CAA to rep him. Joel Sherman of the NY Post and MLB Network had it first.
New York Yankees
— Of course the Yankees are interested in J.A. Happ, as are many others. But Jon Morosi of MLB.com made the connection official by reporting it.
— Robert Murray of FRS Baseball has some ideas for Yankees trades in his latest notes column.
— They were said to be just getting started on their pitching search as of Tuesday.
— Yankees fans were booing Giancarlo Stanton (who’d dropped to a .678 OPS at home) though you’d think they’d be in a better mood. But Stanton’s walkout home run off Seattle’s Ryan Cook has been deemed his “signature moment” and should garner support. Stanton should get credit for handling the boos. After the homer, he said, “It’s just cool, man.” Stanton himself is the one who’s played it cool
— Some are suggesting that perhaps Aaron Boone should move up Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in the lineup (and move down Stanton). But so far Boone has resisted doing that to the reigning NL MVP.
— Meanwhile, Torres leads No. 9 hitters with 12 home runs. Aledmys Diaz and Johnny Field were tied for second with four.
— Brian Cashman invoked the name Mariano Rivera when talking about surprise rookie Jonathan Loaisiga.
— CC Sabathia had 10 strikeouts and 10 hits allowed in a game. He is one of only two Yankees pitchers to do that in the last 30 years. He’s done it three times, and current YES broadcaster David Cone once.
— Greg Bird was on a 6-for-34 stretch. Yankees people continue to talk him up. Scouts do, too.
— Brett Gardner told Brandon Kuty he’d like to play “two or three” more years. The Yankees hold a $12.5-million option for next year, which is a close call (the buyout is $2M).
— Jacoby Ellsbury went to see a back specialist. Some in the NY media are making predictions about who returns first between him and Yoenis Cespedes (we’ll still take Cespedes at this point).
— David Lennon of Newsday noted that Mickey Rivers (thanks to the Old-Timers game) has played more than Ellsbury this year at Yankee Stadium. My own thought: The old-timers game has lost some luster. And no one who’s 37 should be playing in an old-timers game.
— Clint Frazier, who keeps getting called up for doubleheaders, showed a sense of humor when he said, “I’m up for 26th man of the year.”
— The Yankees actually do have a few players in the minors who should be playing somewhere in the majors, starting with Brandon Drury who’s tearing it up at Scranton, to his credit.
— Ken Davidoff had a very nice look back at Ron Guidry’s 18-strikeout game.
— Billy Witz of the New York Times wrote a portrait of that great character Goose Gossage, and he is a character.
— Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a story suggesting it’s possible Billy Beane won’t be running the A’s after next year and also wondering about the futures of GM Dave Forst and manager Bob Melvin. Interesting, well done and thorough story. But it’s hard to see Beane leaving. From the movie “Moneyball,” at least, we know he’s not likely leaving California. In the story, Slusser reveals that the Yankees contacted Melvin about their managerial opening, and the A’s declined to let him interview (but also didn’t extend him).
— The Beane-Melvin relationship has never been better, people around the team say (and Slusser’s story bears this out).
— It has been suggested Blake Treinin could become available. If so, he’d require a haul.
— True pro Jed Lowrie didn’t complain when he went from second base to play third base.
— Khris Davis was up to .247 after a home run off Justin Verlander. He hit .247 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and is a threat to do so again.
— Credit to Jonathan Lucroy for his twitter handle @OurBoyLucroy (h/t The Jetsons).
— The A’s have a way of attracting fans, against the odds, writes Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle.
— The interest in Manny Machado could even increase after rookie shortstop/third baseman J.P. Crawford suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch.
— Zach Britton was also a favorite of the Orioles execs who drafted him and now are running the Phillies. Might be something to keep an eye on.
— It’s great for them to have Rhys Hoskins back. The broken jaw doesn’t seem to have fazed (or affected) him.
— The Pirates could become sellers, but one insider shot down any Jameson Taillon speculation. “No chance,” he’s dealt is the word.
— More likely candidates for trades are Jordy Mercer and perhaps Josh Harrison, Corey Dickerson and Ivan Nova.
— The oft-criticized Gerrit Cole deal has yielded what they’ve hoped. Colin Moran has been solid at 3B, Joe Musgrove is in the rotation, and while Michael Feliz has generally struggled, there’s another plus, and that is OF Jason Martin, who’s hitting .326 at Double-A Altoona. Looks like a good deal for both clubs.
— They didn’t get quite as much for Andrew McCutchen, which makes sense, but Kyle Crick has taken over eighth-inning duties.
— The Pirates briefly engaged McCutchen in long-term contract talks shortly after his MVP season, and those ended when the name “Votto” was invoked. At the time, that was an understandable mention, and sources say McCutchen has had some regrets about an early long deal that included the MVP season.
— McCutchen was extremely popular in Pittsburgh, so many fans are still upset. But the reality is, Corey Dickerson is having a comparable season (.794 OPS to .791 for McCutchen).
— Trevor Williams looks back on track.
— Former No. 1 pick Will Craig had five homers in six games for the Altoona Curve, Liz Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted.
St. Louis Cardinals
— Jack Flaherty looks very good. The Cardinals continue to draft and develop pitching. If the Cardinals and Cubs ever merged, you’d really have something.
— Jose Martinez had three straight outings with five walks. With a 1.400 OPS in June, he’s been remarkably hot.
— Greg Holland is back.
— Congrats to Yadi Molina, who tied the record for games caught for one team, with Gabby Hartnett, who did it with the Cubs.
— Dexter Fowler, Kolten Wong and others are hitting below expectations.
— Manager Mike Matheny had to calm folks, saying the team will deliver more.
— Martinez was on paternity leave for Father’s Day. His own father, Carlos, a former major league player (who may be best recalled for hitting the home run that bounced off Jose Canseco’s head), died much too young, reportedly of cancer.
— Paul DeJong was ready to start hitting, according to Jenifer Langosch.
San Diego Padres
— The Padres are a surprise entry in the Manny Machado Derby, sources tell FRS Baseball.
— The Padres are expected to ask for haul for Brad Hand. And why not? In the words of one Padres person, he’s been as good as anyone except Josh Hader out of the pen. (Don’t forget, the Padres sought big pieces last year for Hand, and if anything, he’s pitching even better).
— Hand signed a $19.75-million extension in the winter, and perhaps the Padres believe the added control will add value. It might, but one rival exec said he believes the contract is “net neutral.”
— The Padres aren’t exactly known for their cycles, but Carlos Asuaje just got one — in the minors, unfortunately.
— Mackenzie Gore will be a future ace, folks are predicting.
San Francisco Giants
— The Giants have a big chance now with only six road games over the next five weeks, as their beat writers point out. (They lost their first game back home in a heartbreaker to the Marlins, who have hurt them.).
— Hurting them worse was rockhead reliever Hunter Strickland breaking his pitching hand after punching a wall after he blew the lead and game vs. the Marlins. He is in line for Rockhead of the Year honors after previously being known mostly as the guy who held a grudge over nothing against Bryce Harper for years.
— Fortunately for the Giants, they have two excellent candidates to close – Tony Watson and Sam Dyson. Both are having extremely good seasons in San Fran.
— Being off the road should help. They had failed to score more than two runs 11 straight games at Dodger Stadium before salvaging the final game of their recent series there.
— Evan Longoria is out six to eight weeks, which hurts.
— Back in the Bay Area, Pablo Sandoval was back on his game (.900-plus OPS in June). He also received praise from Giants beat writers for responding to a “question” from an L.A. media person that asked him to “tell us about your home run,” by saying, “It was a home run.”
— Tyler Beede has been moved to the pen in Triple-A. Lots of twists and turns in that career.
— No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart’s bonus was $7.025M, as Jim Callis of MLB.com reported. Bart is seen as the heir apparent to Buster Posey.
— Jordan Schafer, the speedy outfielder turned lefty pitcher, has been released.
— Don Mattingly paid Giants fans a big compliment. Speaking of AT&T Park, Mattingly said, “It’s the closest thing to the East Coast energy wise – a little on the edge.”
— The Mariners continue to be one of the most pleasant surprises in MLB – though some wonder whether a great record in one-run games makes them slightly vulnerable.
— In any case, they appear to be in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001 – the longest such streak in not just MLB, but the big four North American pro sports.
— GM Jerry Dipoto jumpstarted the Mariners with the trade for Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger. Interestingly, Segura played just one game for Dipoto in Anaheim before he shipped him to Milwaukee. Tyler Kepner of the failing New York Times has a nice story in the deal for Seattle.
— Nelson Cruz is heating up — and, no surprise — he’s planning to play next year.
— Veteran journeyman Wade LeBlanc blanked the Red Sox.
— Ichiro hasn’t given up the idea of playing next year.
— Scott Miller of Bleacher Report suggested there was a playoff atmosphere in Seattle lately. Nice.
Tampa Bay Rays
— The price tag is expected to be “very high” for Chris Archer, one rival said. Even though Archer’s track record doesn’t match the hype, there is always hope that this very smart, dedicated young man will put it all together.
— With the Rays “falling apart,” even Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, one of the more positive people around, admitted he found it “tough to see the positives.”
— Developing star Blake Snell did stop the Astros’ winning streak at 12, out-dueling Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander, 2-1.
— The Rays’ idea to start a reliever has a fan in Brian Kenny of MLB Network, but others don’t think much of it. Team owner Stuart Sternberg told Rays writers, “I don’t think anybody is rooting for us to have it work, put it that way.” He is probably right, as some see the Rays as a group that thinks they will outsmart everyone.
— Big plus: Kevin Kiermaier is back.
— Shin-Soo Choo is available, as was mentioned here last week, and the Rangers would be willing to pay down his deal, for the right take. Now he has a 34-game streak of games reaching base, so perhaps they’d have to pay down a little less of the contract.
— Rookie left-hander Yohander Mendez was sent down after a night of revelry in Kansas City went a little too far for the team’s liking. Other veterans from both teams were said to have been involved, and one became clear when Rougned Odor was scratched from that night’s lineup and manager Jeff Banister declined to say whether Odor was with Mendez. There was no police involvement, according to the team, so that’s a plus.
— Rangers rookie Jose Trevino, who became a father earlier in the week, after hitting a game-winning home run on Father’s Day, said, “I wish my father was here. I knew he was going to help me.” Trevino lost his dad in 2014, the year he was drafted.
— Yovani Gallardo is back up with his hometown team. Maybe this is where the Ft. Worth product belongs.
— Odor continued to struggle, so much so some fans are calling for Jurickson Profar, once considered MLB’s top prospect, to take the second base job. Profar is also hot, with five homers in 11 games and a .659 slugging percentage in that time.
— The Rangers personally challenged Odor a couple weeks ago, and he’s done a bit better since then.
— Elvis Andrus has an out after the year, but Rangers people seem to think there’s only a small chance he’ll exercise it after missing two months with a broken arm.
— With his 244th win, Bartolo Colon became the winningest pitcher in Dominican history. He’s only one win behind Dennis Martinez, the all-time winner from all of Latin America.
— Rangers management recently talked to Hall of Fame-bound Adrian Beltre, who has a full no-trade, about what he wants to do. Beltre told them that, while he loves the Rangers organization, he’d consider teams if he felt the fit was right.
Toronto Blue Jays
— The Jays expect Marcus Stroman back soon.
— Jays star closer Roberto Osuna received a July 9 trial date when he appeared in court this week on a spousal abuse charge, but he may not be on the mound for a lot longer than that in a situation that’s frustrating the Jays.
— The Jays’ pen actually has done quite well in his stead, with Seung-hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, John Axford and others doing the job.
— Yangervis Solarte has proven to be a valuable piece. He homered on Father’s Day, which was beautiful. He has three little daughters with his late wife.
— Devon Travis is coming on. So is Randal Grichuk, who has come back strong in recent days after a slow start.
— Curtis Granderson is having a very nice year.
— The Nats’ big move to acquire Kelvin Herrera, first reported here on FRS Baseball, gives the Nationals a terrific one-two punch at the back-end of the bullpen, with also Sean Doolittle, who was acquired last year at almost exactly this time.
— Credit to Nats GM Mike Rizzo, who aggressively moves to fill holes.
— If there was any concern about Herrera’s physical condition, well, he threw 97-98 mph in his Washington debut.
— Great story on the awesome Juan Soto from Danny Knobler of Bleacher Report.
— One scout on Soto: “He has a good plan and doesn’t chase.”
— The new timetable for Victor Robles (elbow), the other great OF prospect, may be August.
— Michael A. Taylor is showing signs of getting back to last year’s performance. He’s hitting .400-plus in June and had four stolen bases in a recent game.
— Ryan Madson hadn’t allowed a home run as a Nats pitcher since coming over a year ago, but gave up homers to two batters in a row.
— Justin Miller was making a big impact in the pen, as some Nats people figured he would.
— Bryce Harper’s batting average is dipping, thanks to the shift, pitchers not throwing him strikes (and possibly also his own frustration). But he still had a 92-mph average exit velocity, the highest of his career.
— Some are wondering whether his shaved beard is a message to the Yankees.
- Chief Operating Officer, Foundation - Washington Nationals July 2, 2018
- Sales Associate, Corporate Partnership Sales - New York Mets June 25, 2018
- Human Resources Intern - Milwaukee Brewers June 25, 2018
- Baseball Data Specialist - Chicago - STATS June 25, 2018