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The much vaunted sellers market could soon favor buyers – at least for starting pitchers, observes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal figures GMs with players like Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto should be motivated to act quickly. As he notes (tweet), Hamels and Cueto are already joined by Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, and four Padres hurlers. Closer to the deadline, we could see Jeff Samardzija, Yovani Gallardo, and David Price join the trade block among others. If there is any point in the sellers’ favor, it’s that every club feels like it needs more pitching.
- Agents prefer for their star players to be traded, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Players with expiring contracts become ineligible for a qualifying offer. As we’ve seen in recent seasons, clubs can be very deliberate about signing a top free agent with a qualifying offer attached. The bonus pool rules instituted in the last collective bargaining agreement ensure that some teams will carefully guard their access to young talent rather than ink an expensive veteran.
- A “rival evaluator” tells Buster Olney of ESPN (Insider only) that he expects the Padres to trade Shields. The source put the odds anywhere between 75 and 90 percent. Of course, that’s just the opinion of one anonymous source. Shields’ market is liable to be complicated, and I could see it extending into August.
- In other Shields-related news, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune thinks it could be a mistake to trade the veteran righty. While the Padres may desire to get out from under his back-loaded deal, it would send a confusing signal to the next class of free agents. For what it’s worth, I think this could be overthinking it. The Padres don’t have the same stigma as the Marlins. The Friars could easily market such a trade as comparable to the Red Sox dump of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
- Per Olney, multiple teams have engaged the Phillies regarding Hamels. Sources have also indicated that Jonathan Papelbon could be dealt very soon. Philadelphia has long been expected to dump pricey veterans at the deadline, but recent rumors have suggested the club could also stand pat until the offseason.
The Marlins will be without All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon for at least two weeks, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Gordon dislocated his thumb sliding headfirst into first base. There was no ligament damage or broken bones per Rosenthal. Gordon will be replaced on the All-Star roster by Troy Tulowitzki. Fellow Rockie DJ LeMahieu will now start for the NL All Stars.
Here’s more from the East divisions:
- Miami is weighing trades ahead of the deadline, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. The club is 10.5 games back in the NL East and 14 games below .500. They will probably have to get hot in the next couple weeks to change the current plan. As MLBTR readers are well aware, pending free agents Mat Latos and Dan Haren are trade candidates. The Marlins have also received interest in former closer Steve Cishek and swing man Brad Hand.
- The Orioles could be primed for a quiet trade deadline, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. The club already has a host of impending free agents. It could be ill-advised to deal controllable assets like they did last season. Dan Duquette dealt Eduardo Rodriguez for Andrew Miller, a trade he may now regret given Rodriguez’s success in Boston. Additionally, top prospects Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey are sidelined with injuries. Mike Wright showed some promise but ultimately struggled in two stints with the club.
- It’s imperative that the Phillies trade Cole Hamels before the end of the month, opines Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. While the club could find it easier to swap Jonathan Papelbon or Ryan Howard over the offseason, a robust group of free agent starters will hurt Hamels’ value in the winter. In my opinion, it would be quite shocking if the Phillies held Hamels for the rest of the season. If they did fail to find a deal to their liking, they could position Hamels as a cost effective alternative to aces like Johnny Cueto and David Price.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is excited about the state of the farm system, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “I would put our farm system up against anybody’s,” said Amaro. He specifically mentioned Aaron Nola and Aaron Altherr, both of whom are finding success at the Triple-A level. It’s widely assumed that Nola will soon join the club. Trades could also open the door for Altherr. Nola is not on the 40-man roster, but Altherr already has a spot.
- The Yankees and Mets should consider adding Athletics closer Tyler Clippard, suggests Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Even though neither club technically needs relief help, Martino references the Royals dominant trio of relievers from last October. Their ability to shorten the game is critical in October. Particularly with the Yankees, a trio of Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Miller would be intimidating.
GM Ruben Amaro’s recent declaration that Chase Utley might not be the Phillies‘ everyday second baseman when he returns from injury is a tough one for fans to take, David Murphy of the Daily News writes. For those unfamiliar with Amaro’s comments, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal provided a good summary earlier this week. “Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman,” Amaro told reporters, including CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. “I would assume that Cesar would be our second baseman.” After getting off to a poor start this season, Utley is currently on the DL with ankle inflammation, and Hernandez has performed well in his absence, but Amaro’s remarks understandably haven’t sat well with Phillies fans, who don’t want to see a franchise icon pushed off the stage. The core of the problem, as Murphy sees it, is that Phillies fans have to endure the marginalizations or departures of players who were key to the Phillies’ run of successful seasons several years back, while the team’s front office can continue to use that same run of successful seasons to justify its own continued employment. Rosenthal, meanwhile, wonders whether Amaro — who had already appeared to be a lame duck — might be hastening his departure with his tone deaf comments. Here’s more from the NL East.
- The Nationals have placed outfielder Denard Span on the disabled list, Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider writes. Span, who had not played since Sunday, has been dealing with back tightness. The injury means the Nationals are down yet another position player. They currently also have Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman on the DL.
- The Giants have had at least a bit of interest in acquiring Michael Morse from the Marlins, but the Giants would need to take on a significant portion of the approximately $11MM remaining on Morse’s contract for the Marlins to consider the deal, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes (scroll down). The Marlins would seem to have somewhat less use for the right-handed Morse with today’s addition of fellow righty corner infielder Casey McGehee, and Justin Bour has taken over the bulk of the Marlins’ playing time at first base anyway. The Giants surely have fond memories of Morse from his solid performance with their 2014 World Series team, but Morse has hit a disastrous .210/.273/.304 with his usual poor defense in 2015, so it’s doubtful the Giants would be willing to take on much salary to acquire him. Morse would serve as a right-handed bench option in San Francisco.
- The Marlins have also received “several” calls regarding starting pitcher Mat Latos, Jackson writes. That’s not surprising — Latos is a free agent at the end of the season, and as MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently noted, Latos’ velocity has returned lately, seemingly making him a more attractive trade candidate than his overall numbers suggest he should be.
The Marlins are telling teams that they are prepared to field offers for a variety of short-term assets, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Specifically, Miami is prepared to find deals for pitchers Mat Latos, Dan Haren, and Brad Hand as well as utilityman Jeff Baker.
Each of the players listed above, with the exception of Hand, is set to hit the open market after the season. With the Marlins sitting behind every team in baseball except for the woeful Phillies, Spencer says the organization has “reached the jumping-off point” for acting as a seller.
Latos and Haren obviously have the most potential appeal of the players listed. The starters have had rather different seasons thus far, Latos underperforming generally promising peripherals (4.90 ERA, 3.84 SIERA) and Haren doing just the opposite (3.34 ERA, 4.11 SIERA). The 27-year-old Latos is said to have shown a promising velocity uptick in recent starts, though he’s owed the balance of a $9.4 salary this year and has an unsettling injury history. Haren, 34, continues to see his average fastball drop towards the mid-80s and has benefited from a low BABIP and high strand rate, but he still doesn’t walk anyone and the Dodgers are on the hook for all of his salary.
While Miami might hope to achieve some real value for those pitchers, it is not clear that there’s much to get back for Hand or Baker. Working mostly as a reliever, the out-of-options Hand has scuffled to a 5.80 ERA over 40 1/3 innings, though he has suffered from the exact opposite BABIP/LOB rates that have aided Haren. As for Baker, the 34-year-old rates at or below replacement level for the last several years. He’s not very highly regarded for his glove, and is mostly useful against lefties, but has not really even hit them all that well this year.
One other player that Spencer notes could be moved is former closer Steve Cishek. He’s been much better since returning to the big leagues, but still looks like a non-tender candidate after the season and is hardly the most certain relief asset a contender could find on the market. Cishek is playing on a $6.65MM salary this year, so Miami will likely need to pay a good chunk of that to find a taker.
An offseason trade that sent Mat Latos from Cincinnati to Miami in exchange for young righty Anthony DeSclafani and catching prospect Chad Wallach was supposed to be one of the key moves for a Marlins team that was making a push to contend in 2015 on the heels of a record-setting Giancarlo Stanton extension. Things have not gone according to plan in Miami, however.
The Marlins currently sit at 34-46, a disappointing 9.5 games back from both the division lead and a Wild Card playoff berth. Mike Redmond has been fired and replaced as the on-field manager by former GM Dan Jennings. Stanton is on the disabled list with a broken hand, where he’s joined by Opening Day starter Henderson Alvarez as well Opening Day starters Mike Morse and Martin Prado. Miami has yet to throw in the towel according to multiple reports, but their starters are drawing interest from pitching-hungry teams. All of this brings us back to Latos, whose own 2015 shortcomings have contributed to the Marlins’ sub-par start.
Latos, 27, entered the season with a career 3.34 ERA at the Major League level despite spending three seasons with the Reds, whose home park is among the most hitter-friendly environments in the game. However, as of this writing, Latos is sporting a 5.27 ERA with the highest BB/9 rate he’s posted since debuting with the Padres in 2009. He’s earning $9.4MM after losing an arbitration hearing to the Marlins this winter and is slated to hit free agency at the end of the year. Of that $9.4MM, about $4.83MM remains, and Latos has already missed time this season due to inflammation in his left knee.
None of this paints Latos as a very flattering trade candidate, but there’s still a compelling case to be made that says he can help a team in need of pitching. Latos opened the 2014 season on the DL as he recovered from spring surgery on his left knee — the same knee that sidelined him in 2015. From the time of his activation in 2014 to the time he was placed on the DL in 2015, Latos averaged about 90.7 mph on his fastball — two full miles below the 92.7 mph he averaged from 2011-13.
However, since he’s come off the disabled list, Latos’ missing velocity has suddenly returned. A look at his velocity stats on BrooksBaseball.net indicates that his four-seamer is averaging 93.66 mph over his past four starts, and his sinker is averaging 92.95 mph. Both marks are two miles per hour faster than he averaged prior to hitting the DL. In fact, if you break down his average velocity on a game-by-game basis, his slowest average fastball in a start since coming off the DL is 92.42 mph. That mark is still better than even his best pre-DL days, in terms of radar readings.
Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be surprising to see that Latos has worked to a much more palatable 3.86 ERA in his small sample of work since being activated. He’s whiffed 24 hitters against just six walks in 25 2/3 innings — each a significant improvement over his K/9 and BB/9 rates earlier in the year when working with diminished velocity. Latos has seen significant jumps in his whiff rate on both pitches since adding velocity, and the same holds true for his splitter as well.
It’s not known for certain whether Latos’ knee will hold up, nor can we definitively say that his velocity increase is sustainable. However, interested clubs will be able to watch another four weeks’ worth of his starts in order to make that determination for themselves. If Latos is back to the form that most came to expect of him from 2010-14, then suddenly, committing $4-5MM to him over the remainder of the season no longer looks to be an unreasonable undertaking.
The Marlins, in fact, could have good reason deal Latos even if they don’t otherwise act as sellers on the upcoming market. Aside from the obvious up-front financial savings that hold more value to a tight-budgeted team like Miami than a larger-payroll club, the Marlins may be reluctant to extend a qualifying offer to Latos following the season. The value of last year’s QO was a hefty $15.3MM, and that number figures to increase in 2015. A payroll-conscious team such as Miami could be reluctant to roll the dice on Latos remaining healthy for the rest of the season. If he re-injures the knee, the Fish would likely be too apprehensive to make a QO to an injured pitcher. Even if Latos remains healthy and looks like a good bet to reject the QO, Miami might find the small chance that he accepts somewhat risky. Trading him now, especially in a market that is currently tilted in favor of teams willing to sell assets, would be one way to ensure that they receive some long-term value in exchange for their relatively significant offseason investment in Latos.
The Marlins have the depth to replace Latos, as Jose Fernandez is now healthy and joined in the rotation by Dan Haren, Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart and Latos. Even if Latos is dealt, David Phelps and Brad Hand both have experience starting in the Majors, and Alvarez is expected off the DL later this season. Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino represent rotation options in the upper minors.
The Tigers are said to have scouted Miami’s starters recently, though no interest in specific pitchers was mentioned, so it’s probably best not to read too much into that bit of info. (Multiple teams, after all, figure to be scouting Miami’s starters.) In addition to Detroit, though, plenty of other clubs are interested in adding to their rotation. The Blue Jays, Dodgers, Astros, Royals, Rangers, Yankees and Pirates are among teams that have been connected to pitching upgrades or speculated to eventually be in the market for rotation help.
Though he admitted that he’s not privy to the front office’s discussions, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he expects ace Cole Hamels to be traded. “We’re not involved on the field,” said Mackanin. “But the whole point of this year basically is to see young guys, help us get ready for next year and beyond. If we can get good deals for Hamels and good deals for whomever else there might be out there, (Jonathan) Papelbon.” Hamels recently told Salisbury that he’s open to a trade to any club, including the Blue Jays and Astros. Previous reports had indicated that Hamels would block a deal to either club.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- The Tigers are scouting the Marlins‘ starting pitchers, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). There could be very little to read into here, as multiple teams are likely scouting the Marlins, and the Tigers of course are scouting other clubs. Nonetheless, a pitching matchup, at least on paper, does seem to exist between the two sides. The Tigers have seen Shane Greene lose his spot in the rotation and received little from Justin Verlander to this point. A solid addition to the rotation would make some sense, and the Marlins have a surplus now that Jose Fernandez is healthy. Fernandez joins Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart in the rotation. Latos and Haren, though, are free agents at season’s end, and the team has internal replacements capable of slotting into the rotation in the event of a trade.
- Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears that the Marlins are indeed willing to listen to offers on Latos and Haren. He adds Steve Cishek to that list as well and unsurprisingly says that the fallen closer likely will be non-tendered this offseason. Jackson, like other reporters, hears that the team isn’t entertaining the idea of moving Martin Prado at this point.
- Mets captain David Wright is “extremely optimistic” that he can begin baseball activities next week, tweets ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Wright won’t begin hitting in that time, however. Previously, the Mets have expressed hope to have the third baseman back by the All-Star break, though that timeline is fast approaching and Wright is still quite a ways from a rehab assignment.
The Marlins have received multiple trade inquiries on free-agents-to-be Mat Latos and Dan Haren, as well as controllable young pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). As Morosi notes, with the return of Jose Fernandez looming, the team could potentially afford to part with a starting pitcher. (Hand, a lefty, is currently in the bullpen but has started at the Major League level previously.)
Fernandez will join Latos, Haren, Koehler and one of Justin Nicolino or Jose Urena in the current rotation, though the team also has other options. As noted, Hand is capable of starting, and the Marlins currently have Opening Day rotation member Jarred Cosart in the bullpen. Henderson Alvarez, projected to be one of Miami’s best starters, is on the mend from inflammation in his shoulder, and swingman David Phelps could step into the rotation if needed as well.
A previous report from MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro indicated that the Marlins have at least discussed both Koehler and Hand with an unknown team. Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, has previously heard that Haren is very unlikely to be traded, although that certainly doesn’t preclude teams from calling and inquiring on the veteran right-hander.
Latos, in my eyes, makes some sense as a trade candidate. He’s looked better since returning from his most recent start on the disabled list. While his 4.12 ERA in three pot-DL starts isn’t particularly exciting, his increase in velocity since activation certainly is. Latos dealt with diminished velocity in 2014 and early in 2015, but since coming off the DL, he’s averaged 92-93 mph on his heater as opposed the the 90-91 he showed when his velocity was down. In 19 2/3 innings since his return, Latos has struck out 20 hitters — a significantly better rate than the 7.6 K/9 he averaged prior to his most recent DL stint. It’s a small sample, to be sure, but it’s a source of optimism in what’s been a difficult season for Latos.
From the Marlins’ point of view, if they hang onto Latos for the season and he performs reasonably well, they’ll be in a tough spot in deciding whether or not to make a qualifying offer. The value of a QO could jump to more than $17MM this winter, in which case Latos would be far too pricey an asset for the club. As such, trading Latos and the remaining $5.03MM (as of today) on his salary likely holds some appeal. With another few weeks of improved velocity and results, Latos could become a desirable enough trade chip to outweigh the potential value that Miami would receive from a QO anyhow.
Koehler, 29, is controllable through the 2018 season and will be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter. He sports a lifetime 4.03 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate. His 3.66 ERA is better than in recent seasons, but xFIP and SIERA view him as more or less the same pitcher, pegging him in the low-4.00 range. Koehler’s proven himself to be a durable arm, never having spent time on the DL and pitching 191 innings in 2014.
The 25-year-old Hand is struggling more in 2015 with a 5.95 ERA, but he’s controllable through the 2019 season. Hand is having somewhat of the opposite season that Koehler is, from a statistical standpoint. Despite the high ERA, xFIP and SIERA peg him at 3.77 and 3.85, respectively, thanks in large part to a rebound in his strikeout rate and improved control. As a controllable lefty with velocity that sits around 93 mph, it’s not hard to see why some clubs would have interest.
Haren, of course, has had a nice season for Miami after quite a bit of seemingly overblown talk surrounding his possible retirement this offseason. He’s notched a 3.38 ERA with his typically stellar command (1.7 BB/9), and he’ll be a free agent season’s end. The Dodgers are paying the entirety of Haren’s $10MM salary this season, making him a very appealing chip, though as previously noted, reports have said he won’t be moved. That line of thinking may change as the trade deadline nears, of course. Interestingly, his former team (who is already picking up the tab on Haren anyway) is on the hunt for reliable rotation arms.
Whether or not the Marlins become serious sellers isn’t known, as GM-turned-manager Dan Jennnings has told reporters recently that the team still plans to try to content. Of course, the loss of Giancarlo Stanton for four to six weeks due to a broken hamate bone in his hand further dampen’s Miami’s chances to climb out of a substantial hole in the NL East.
The Marlins, of course, have possible trade chips beyond just the pitchers listed here. MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth recently examined the club’s trade chips at greater length.
As others have noted today, the news that Giancarlo Stanton will miss four to six weeks with a broken hamate bone increases the likelihood that the Marlins will reach a conclusion that they might have reached anyway: 2015 doesn’t appear to be their year. Under owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins have never been shy about change — they’ve traded players, replaced managers and changed organizational directions far more rapidly than other franchises might. Their 31-45 start already seemed likely to lead them to sell, even before Stanton’s injury.
In fact, this year’s Marlins team bears certain similarities to their 2012 club. The 2012 team headed into the offseason intending to make a splash. Instead, they flopped, and in July, they dealt Carlos Lee, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica and Gaby Sanchez.
What do the 2015 Marlins have to sell, though? This year’s team doesn’t appear to be primed for a complete rebuild, and thus it doesn’t have many top-quality trade chips like Ramirez or Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins still have Stanton and Christian Yelich signed to long-term deals, and Jose Fernandez is cost-controlled and is clearly an elite pitcher when healthy. The Marlins seem highly likely to keep those players, even though Yelich is having a disappointing season and Fernandez is only on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery. Here’s a look at who the Marlins could consider trading.
- Dan Haren and Mat Latos are eligible for free agency after the season, so they seem like obvious trade candidates. The question is what the Marlins will be able to get back. Haren is having a solid season, but he seemed mostly unwanted as of last winter, and his age (34) and stuff (Haren’s admirably self-effacing “Ithrow88″ Twitter handle isn’t even accurate anymore, since his fastball has averaged 86 MPH this season) suggest he won’t fetch much now, either. Still, useful starting pitching is useful starting pitching, and the Marlins might try convincing a team in a homer-suppressing ballpark to give up a prospect or two for Haren. The Phillies got two fairly good lottery tickets in Victor Arano and Jesmuel Valentin for Roberto Hernandez last year — that might provide a good template, even though the stock of both players has slipped in 2015. The Marlins might also have to convince Haren to play for the team they trade him to if it’s not a West Coast team, given that he considered retiring last offseason rather than heading to Miami.
- Latos currently has a 5.49 ERA and missed time due to a knee injury, so his trade value would appear very limited. Since he would only be a rental, there would be little point in a contending team taking him on as a project, even though his peripherals suggest he should be somewhat better than that ERA. The curse of struggling teams trying to become deadline sellers is that they typically mostly have disappointing players to sell, and Latos is a case in point. It’s not impossible, though, that Latos could raise his trade value by pitching well over the next month.
- As the New York Post’s Joel Sherman pointed out today, Martin Prado‘s versatility could make him an interesting trade chip next month, since he can play third base, second base and both outfield corners. First, though, he’ll have to show he’s healthy — he’s currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. He’s owed $11MM both this year and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM in each of those years.
- Pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand were both recently the subject of rumors. Koehler missed a start last week with neck and back pain, but his successful return today should help the Marlins’ cause if they choose to trade him. The problem is that neither Koehler nor Hand are the kinds of difference-makers most appealing to contenders — a contending team likely wouldn’t want either one of them starting a playoff game. And since they’re also cheap and capable of eating innings, they could have value to the Marlins as they retool. David Phelps, who has been solid but not outstanding in his first season in Miami, falls into the same category.
- Mike Dunn isn’t having a good season by traditional measures, with a 4.68 ERA, but his strikeout rate (9.0 K/9 in 2015) and velocity remain intact, so a contender might view him as a sneaky way to upgrade the left side of its bullpen, especially since his contract is reasonable. He’s signed through next season, though, so the Marlins could also decide the better route might be to keep him around for another year and hope he rebounds.
- Like Dunn, Steve Cishek has a poor ERA this year. Unlike Dunn, though, Cishek isn’t cheap, at $6.65MM, and his control issues are a key reason for his downturn in performance. It would likely be hard for the Marlins to deal Cishek without taking on salary, despite his closer pedigree.
- Infielder Jeff Baker is a career .297/.352/.513 hitter against lefties, so he could conceivably help a contender in need of a right-handed bat. He’s mostly limited to first base at this point, however, so his utility is limited.
Other Marlins veterans, like Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki, probably have even less trade value than most of the players mentioned above. The Marlins could, of course, make outside-the-box trades involving some of their better, younger players (Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria, Marcell Ozuna), and given the Marlins’ history, it would be unwise to discount that possibility. (Relievers A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps would make very interesting trade pieces if the Marlins were to make them available.) Unlike the 2012 team, though, the 2015 Marlins don’t have many veteran trade candidates who appear likely to command a significant return.
Giancarlo Stanton‘s injury is a loss for baseball as a whole, and the first domino likely to fall as a result is that the Marlins will become sellers, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The team should trade free-agents-to-be Dan Haren and Mat Latos. Infielder Martin Prado is also worth watching if he can prove his shoulder is healthy by the deadline, and he might make sense for the Mets, since he can play multiple positions and provide an insurance policy at third base. Prado’s versatility could make him an attractive target for many other teams as well, Sherman suggests. Here’s more from the National League.
- Dee Gordon has blossomed with the Marlins, but the seeds of his growth this season had already been planted before his 2014 season with the Dodgers, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. “I was terrible for two years. No one has to provide any fire for me. The chip on my shoulder is self-inflicted,” he says. After struggling in 2012 and 2013, Gordon seemed to hit his stride last season, but this year, he’s been outright brilliant, currently leading the NL in batting average (.356) and hits (110). Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says he thinks Gordon might have been somewhat motivated by the Dodgers trading him to Miami last winter, but that doesn’t bother Mattingly. “He doesn’t seem vengeful or anything,” says Mattingly. “I hope when he plays San Francisco or Colorado or Arizona or San Diego that he’s really motivated to show us.”
- More than four months after the FBI seized computers from the Cardinals while investigating their hacking scandal, the team is still waiting for the fallout, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. At this point, there’s no indication that owner Bill DeWitt, GM John Mozeliak, or any other top brass were involved. “I’m not beating myself up, because I feel I haven’t done anything wrong,” says Mozeliak. “I beat myself up because I feel the organization has taken a black eye and I feel bad for that. And I feel bad because the (front-office) team we’ve assembled might be broken up.” Commissioner Rob Manfred could punish the Cardinals with fines, suspensions or lost draft picks, Strauss writes, although there’s little to no chance the team would be denied postseason eligibility.
A bone bruise in his right wrist has landed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman on the DL, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is hopeful that Freeman won’t miss too much time, but Bowman adds that it would be “optimistic” to expect that he will return on July 3 when he is first eligible to be activated.
A few more items pertaining to the NL East…
- Though they’re 11 games under .500, the Marlins are not yet thinking of selling, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The team could revisit that thinking if things don’t improve after facing the Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants on the upcoming homestand, he says. Still, the team could soon have a surplus of starting pitching on its hands, once Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart and Henderson Alvarez are all activated from the disabled list. Mat Latos could end up being the odd man out, Rosenthal speculates, adding that veteran righty Dan Haren isn’t likely to be moved.
- While reports of scouts watching a certain team/player can sometimes be overblown, there are a pair of NL East clubs scouting possible trade pieces tonight. The Nationals have a high-level scout watching the Athletics tonight, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, noting that Washington has been linked to Ben Zobrist recently. Additionally, Jared Sandler of the Rangers Radio Network tweets that the Phillies have a scout in attendance for Chi Chi Gonzalez‘s start tonight. Gonzalez’s name has been floated in rumors connecting the Rangers to Cole Hamels.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News joined SNY’s Mostly Mets podcast to discuss possible upgrades for the Mets‘ offense (audio link). “They’re moving cautiously, because my understanding is that they have payroll flexibility, but essentially, Alderson has one big bullet to fire that way,” Martino said. Alderson may have the ability to either add a few lower-cost pieces or pursue one more expensive player, but Martino points to Alderson’s history of not parting with significant prospect packages to outbid other clubs in speculating that the ultimate result of the Mets’ trade efforts will be adding a few lower-profile pieces.
- The Mets announced today that Travis d’Arnaud has hit the DL with a sprain in his left elbow (Twitter link). At this time, there’s no immediate timetable for d’Arnaud’s return, though it’s at least positive that the injury is in his non-throwing elbow.
- In the wake of Maikel Franco‘s scorching hot streak and his third homer in two games at Yankee Stadium, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that the Phillies beat the Yankees‘ offer to Franco by a mere $5,000 back in 2010. Philadelphia offered Franco a $100K signing bonus, whereas the Yankees’ top offer was $95K. That’s probably another $5-10K that the Yankees wish they’d spent, though there’s little certainty when dealing with players of that age. (Franco was 17 at the time he signed with the Phils.)