National League All-Star starter Matt Harvey has become a well-known name around baseball…though not necessarily a well-known face. Harvey personally explored his relative anonymity in a comedy bit tonight on The Late Show With Jimmy Fallon (YouTube link). If it makes Harvey feel better, I rarely hear, "Hey, are you Mark Polishuk from MLB Trade Rumors?!" when I'm strolling around New York. Here's some news from around baseball on the eve of the All-Star Game…
- Jeff Wilpon promised that the Mets are willing to spend in 2014, the team COO said in an interview on WFAN radio (and partially transcribed by Newsday's Neil Best). The Mets will be helped when the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts expire this winter, which will by themselves free up $43.625MM in payroll space. "We haven't set a payroll for next year, but I can tell you we're ready to invest with those big contracts coming off the books," Wilpon said. "We have the money to invest. We're going to invest it prudently. Sandy [Alderson] is going to set a path."
- The Rangers could avoid giving up top prospects for White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, depending on how much of Rios' contract Texas is willing to eat, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. Rios is owed roughly $4.85MM for the rest of 2013, $12.5MM in 2014 and a $13.5MM club option for 2015 that can be bought out for $1MM. The Rangers are one of several teams interested in acquiring Rios, though his trade stock has dipped due to a six-week slump.
- “A lot of teams you think might normally would be breaking things up aren’t,” Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There just aren’t a lot of players that are truly available. That could change. That’s my observation today.” The Cardinals are known to be interested in acquiring starting pitching and have recently been connected to Matt Garza, though the Cards aren't too keen to trade within the NL Central and are unlikely to make a deal that would cost them one of their top prospects.
- Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Cecil all tell Sportsnet's Shi Davidi that the Blue Jays already have the talent to turn their season around. Bautista, for one, doesn't think GM Alex Anthopoulos necessarily needs to make any further roster additions. “Alex is not out on the field playing for us, we’re totally capable of playing a lot better baseball than we’ve shown, we just need to play better as a team,” Bautista said. If the Jays don't make any moves, Bautista "wouldn’t look too much into it" since Anthopoulos “made plenty of moves in the off-season to make our team the best team that he could put on the field.”
- The three prospects acquired by the Nationals in the Michael Morse trade have performed well for Washington thus far, MASNsports.com's Byron Kerr observes. Right-handers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen have pitched well at high A-ball and Double-A, respectively, while southpaw Ian Krol reached the Majors and delivered a 1.80 ERA, 13 strikeouts and just one walk over 15 relief innings for the Nats.
- Chase Lambin turned 34 years last week and has played 12 years of professional baseball in the minors and in Japan, but the veteran has still yet to reach the Major Leagues. Kent Babb of the Washington Post profiles Lambin, who currently plays for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate.
- The Mets' infamous long-long-term deferred contract with Bobby Bonilla is actually a pair of contracts that will pay the retired slugger $42MM between 2004 and 2035, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. While the Orioles are paying part of Bonilla's ongoing salary, the Mets are solely responsible for another 25-year deferred payment plan, this one to Bret Saberhagen. The former two-time Cy Young Award winner has received $250K per year from the Mets since 2004.