A few links from around the NL East and AL East, where the Yankees and Nationals reside in first place at the All-Star break …
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman has no plans to acquire a catcher despite Russell Martin's struggles, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. "We have our catching," Cashman said. "I believe in Russell Martin, period."
- The Phillies are flirting with exceeding MLB's luxury-tax threshold of $178MM, which could affect their dealings with impending free agent Cole Hamels, who's also a potential trade candidate, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The looming threat of a luxury tax stifling a player's contract negotiations is something union chief Michael Wiener said he wouldn't be "happy about," but he understands it's part of the the collective bargaining agreement.
- The Blue Jays will have to pay a tax after overshooting the $2.9MM cap for signing international free agents that kicked in on July 2, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Toronto inked three of BA's top 20 international free agents.
- Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said his Boston tenure all but ended when ex-manager Terry Francona's 2012 option was not picked up, leaving a managerial void the club would not fill till December, according to ESPNBoston.com. The Sox never made the right-hander an offer, Papelbon confirmed: "(The Red Sox) wanted to see if I could go out and test the market and maybe come back. I don't know if they would (have countered), but I don't go back. I go forward."