San Francisco Giants Pay Tribute to Robin Williams with Moment of Silence

The San Francisco Giants observed a moment of silence for Robin Williams before Tuesday night's game with the Chicago White Sox:

The Giants also showed a video tribute of the comedian that included a clip from Mrs. Doubtfire, which was both filmed in and took place in San Francisco.

Upon the actor's passing, team president Larry Baer released a statement:

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Robin Williams. Robin was a true artist who brought joy to the world through his brilliance, humor, talent and love for our community. We lost one of our greatest fans today and he will be deeply missed by the Giants family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Robin's family and the entire community during this difficult time.

Williams was a huge Giants fan, appearing before Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series to pump up the crowd at AT&T Park.

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Jayson Werth Charged with Reckless Driving: Latest Details and Reaction

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was reportedly charged with misdemeanor reckless driving in Virginia stemming from an incident over the summer, per NBCWashington.com.

Court documents from Fairfax County, Virginia, revealed that the 35-year-old was driving 105 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. Werth was originally due in court on Aug. 8, but that has since been moved back to Nov. 12.

John Dever, who serves as the senior director for baseball information for the Nationals, released a statement on behalf of the team.

"The Washington Nationals have been in communication with right fielder Jayson Werth regarding this situation for multiple weeks," it read. "Jayson is cooperating with the authorities. As it is an ongoing legal matter, the team has no further comment."

Jesse Spector of Sporting News questioned whether it was a wise move to drive 50 mph over the speed limit in Virginia:

Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe viewed this through the narrative surrounding Bryce Harper and his supposed inability to follow the baseball norms:

For Werth, this is another blow in an already tough week. MASN's Dan Kolko reported the veteran had an MRI on his ailing shoulder earlier in the day:

"He is not reacting well. We'll try to treat him again, get him going again. He feels sore today," Nationals manager Matt Williams said, per Bill Ladson of MLB.com. "I don't think it's a DL-type situation. I don't think there isn't any major issue. I think it's inflamed and sore."

Through 112 games this year, Werth is hitting .279/.370/.430 with 12 home runs and 63 runs batted in. Those numbers are almost all down from where they were at the end of last year. His shoulder injury, coupled with his age, is likely to blame for much of that regression.

Once he and the team know the severity of his shoulder issue, they'll have a better idea for how to handle him for the rest of the regular season to ensure he remains an offensive threat.

After Tuesday night's win over the New York Mets, Washington holds a five-game lead over the Atlanta Braves. Missing Werth won't necessarily signal a Nationals decline, but in the event they make the postseason, they'll certainly want him on the field.

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Hanley Ramirez Injury: Updates on Dodgers Star’s Oblique and Return

Updates from Sunday, Aug. 10

MLBRosterMoves announced Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been placed on the disabled list:

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times provides an update on Ramirez's timetable for return:

Andrew Grunman of Fox Sports Wisconsin provided the Dodgers' lineup for today's game:

Mike Petriello of Dodgers Digest comments on the team's decision to put Ramirez on the DL:

 

Updates from Saturday, Aug. 9

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register confirmed that Hanley Ramirez is not in Saturday's lineup:

Don Mattingly spoke about Ramirez's health before Saturday's game (via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times):

 

Original Text

Hanley Ramirez left the Los Angeles Dodgers' game Friday night against the Milwaukee Brewers after suffering from tightness in his right side. The team announced that he was removed for precautionary reasons:

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported that the three-time All-Star hurt himself during batting practice but wanted to see if he could play through it:

According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Ramirez will have an MRI Saturday to determine the severity of the injury:

In 100 games this year, Ramirez has hit .277/.367/.455 with 12 home runs—fourth on the team—and 58 runs batted in, which ranks second on the team.

Taking a bat like that out of the lineup won't help Los Angeles maintain its stranglehold on the National League West. The Dodgers hold a 3.5-game lead over the San Francisco Giants through Aug. 8.

Since Ramirez's injury isn't considered to be too serious yet, his absence shouldn't become a major issue for L.A. If he is forced to miss a few weeks, though, the Dodgers might watch the gap between themselves and the Giants begin to close.

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Mike Trout vs. Clayton Kershaw: Reaction, Stat Lines and Recap from Epic Matchup

The baseball world saw the unstoppable force meet the immovable object on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Los Angeles Angels. For the first time, Mike Trout collided with Clayton Kershaw in a regular-season game.

Rarely do matchups between hitters and pitchers create this kind of buzz. Due in large part to interleague play, most top hitters and pitchers have faced one another. But not L.A.'s two best players.

ESPN Stats & Info posted where each player does his most damage:

"This game is more than just Clayton Kershaw against Mike Trout," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, per Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register. "You're talking about two of the young, bright megastars."

Tuesday's game was also the 200th start in Kershaw's Dodgers career. ESPN The Magazine compared the 26-year-old with another Los Angeles legendary ace:

They say that good pitching beats good hitting, but that wasn't the case on Tuesday, with Trout besting the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner in their individual battle. He finished 2-for-3 against Kershaw, scoring one run.

That being said, Kershaw's team won the war, so to speak, with a 5-4 victory. 

You can see Trout's game stats below. 

In the first inning, Trout legged out an infield single. Juan Uribe made an impressive diving stop, but his throw wasn't in time.

Dodgers legend Vin Scully used his typical lyricism to describe Trout's speed, via ESPN's Adnan Virk:

The Angels star followed that up with a double in the top of the third down the third base line. He came around to score on a Albert Pujols double, which tied the score at 3-3.

Trout's last at-bat against Kershaw came in the fifth inning. After quickly getting into an 0-2 hole, the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year struck out looking on a fastball that clipped the outside corner:

Early in the game, Kershaw looked nothing like the best pitcher on the planet. He surrendered three runs in the first three innings.

Designated hitter Adam Dunn, who pitched one inning in relief for the Chicago White Sox, had a similar stat line, meaning the end of times must be near:

Kershaw eventually settled down and returned to his usual level of excellence, failing to give up another run. He exited after the seventh inning. You can view his final numbers below.

Although the Kershaw-Trout matchup was over, the drama was only beginning in Dodger Stadium.

Brian Wilson came on to pitch in the top of the eighth inning. After getting Trout to fly out, he surrendered a game-tying solo home run to Albert Pujols, which made it 4-4.

But in the bottom of the ninth, Uribe scored on an error from third baseman David Freese to give the Dodgers a split of the two-game series. 

Unless the Angels and Dodgers meet in the World Series, this could be the last time we see Kershaw vs. Trout in a meaningful game for a little while, at the very least until next year.

For many baseball fans, that won't be soon enough.

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Matt Cain to Undergo Season-Ending Surgery on Injured Elbow

Matt Cain's disappointing 2014 campaign is officially over, with the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher set to have season-ending surgery on his injured elbow.     

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the news Monday:

The 29-year-old has been on the disabled list since July 21 after dealing with lingering elbow trouble throughout the year. His last start of the season was nearly a month ago, July 9, in a 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.

As the San Jose Mercury News' Alex Pavlovic pointed out at the time, Cain had been no stranger to the DL, which led many Giants fans to expect the worst this time around:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy alluded to the fact that the decision to undergo season-ending surgery is the result of Cain's sustained injury problems. The team was left with no other recourse than to have him go under the knife.  

"It’s been frustrating for him," said Bochy, per Pavlovic. "Matt’s been battling this for a while. It’s time. He could keep trying to push it but it’s inevitable, it looks like. Let’s have this done and get him ready for spring training."  

This season was Cain's worst in his decade with San Francisco. In 15 starts, he posted career highs in ERA (4.18) and FIP (4.59) and a career low in ERA+ (82), according to Baseball-Reference.com. His WAR was 0.0. 

The good news for the Giants is that they have Jake Peavy, who they acquired via trade with the Red Sox on July 26, to take Cain's spot in the rotation. The bad news is that he's gone 17 starts without a win, per ESPN Stats & Info:

In two starts with San Francisco, Peavy has gone 13 innings, giving up eight runs—seven earned—on 10 hits. Now that Cain is officially out for the season, the Giants will be calling upon the former Cy Young Award winner to help close the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. San Francisco sits two games back heading into Monday night's games.

For Cain, the focus is strictly on 2015. He's not that far removed from being one of the NL's best pitchers. With months to rehab from surgery and get ready for spring training, Cain may be able to find that magic again and reassert himself as a dominant starter.

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Matt Garza Injury: Updates on Brewers Star’s Oblique and Return

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Matt Garza left Sunday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals with a left oblique strain.

The team confirmed the injury on Twitter:

Before exiting the game, the 30-year-old had been on a roll, giving up one hit and striking out four in six innings, so the timing of his departure left many Brewers fans scratching their heads.    

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that Milwaukee kept the reason private for some time, leading many to question manager Ron Roenicke:

According to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, Garza made the final decision, and that was the end of that:

The timing of the injury couldn't be much worse. With the Brewers' 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, St. Louis moved to within a game of the lead in the National League Central. Losing a starting pitcher, even if only for a start or two, can make a difference in the stretch run.

As Haudricourt pointed out, oblique strains can be hard to predict in terms of recovery time:

Garza's absence won't necessarily mean that Milwaukee will suddenly collapse and tumble down the standings. The longer the Brewers are without him, though, holding off the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates becomes that much more difficult.

The veteran has made 23 starts this season (7-7) and sports an ERA of 3.58 and 104 strikeouts. If he can avoid an extended absence, he should be able to continue his quality campaign.

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Yasiel Puig Injury: Updates on Dodgers Star’s Hamstring and Return

Updates from Sunday, August 3

MLB Lineups confirmed Yasiel Puig's return to the Dodgers:

Original Text

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced outfielder Yasiel Puig will sit out Saturday night's game against the Chicago Cubs with soreness in his left hamstring:

The 23-year-old is one of three Dodgers players who will be absent, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reported later that Puig made a pinch-hitting appearance:

This is another added to the list of minor injuries Puig's picked up in 2014. A strained right hip flexor cost him time in June, and then in July he missed a little bit of time after he was hit on the hand with a pitch.

Since taking him out of the lineup for Saturday is more precautionary than reactionary, the injured hamstring shouldn't make him miss too many games, which is good news for the Dodgers.

They can ill afford to lose one of their biggest stars as they look to remain on top in the National League West. Puig leads Los Angeles in batting average (.319) and sits second behind Adrian Gonzalez in homers (13) and runs batted in (55).

Heading into Saturday night, the Dodgers held a 2.5-game cushion over the San Francisco Giants. As long as Puig returns after a game or two, that small lead shouldn't be in danger.

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Eric Hosmer Injury: Updates on Royals Star’s Hand and Return

Thursday keeps getting worse for the Kansas City Royals. First they failed to make any major moves on deadline day, and now they'll be without Eric Hosmer for as much as a month, per Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star:

Hosmer suffered a hand injury earlier in the season; this is a reaggravation of that previous issue.

After Thursday night's win over the Minnesota Twins, Hosmer is hitting .267/.312/.377 with six home runs and 46 runs batted in. He's fourth on the team in homers and third in RBI.

While the 24-year-old's numbers are, for the most part, down across the board, he's still an important piece of the Royals offense.

This is compounded by the fact that Kansas City did little to improve the team's playoff positioning before the non-waiver deadline. Put that together with Hosmer's injury, and the future isn't looking too good at Kauffman Stadium.

Perhaps this could lead Royals management to action, though. The waiver trade deadline expires on Aug. 31, so the team still has time to pull something off to help compensate for Hosmer's absence.

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Cliff Lee Injury: Updates on Phillies Pitcher’s Elbow and Return

It turns out those fears about Cliff Lee's elbow were a bit justified. The Philadelphia Phillies ace left Thursday night's game against the Washington Nationals with an apparent elbow injury, per ESPN's Buster Olney:

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reveals it is the same injury Lee previously suffered:

The Phillies reported Lee will head to the disabled list:

Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News and Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal have more on Lee's injury:

Whatever the extent of the injury, it appears to be serious, per Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

This is the second elbow-related injury for the 35-year-old in 2014 after suffering a mild strain back in May that kept him out until the middle of July.

Although that in part turned many teams off of a potential trade before the non-waiver deadline, Lee would've been a prime candidate to be moved in August, if he could prove to be less of an injury risk.

As ESPN's Eric Karabell tweeted out, that's almost certainly not going to happen now:

It couldn't get much worse for the Phillies. Not only did nobody bite on Lee before Thursday, but now they're likely going to be stuck with him for the rest of the season. Getting out from under his massive deal would've allowed Philly a little more financial freedom heading into the offseason.

With Lee in his mid-30s, any sort of elbow injury is an immediate cause for concern, especially a second elbow injury within the span of a few months.

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Emilio Bonifacio to Braves: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Emilio Bonifacio has been dealt to Atlanta Braves according to MLB Roster Moves:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports initially reported the deal:

Bonifacio's future has been hotly discussed over recent days, which ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick was as sure a sign as any that the trade deadline has reached the point of no return:

The San Francisco Giants were one of the teams rumored to be in for the 29-year-old. ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported that the 2012 World Series champions wanted to get some help against left-handed pitching:

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle threw a wet blanket on the Bonifacio-to-SF rumors but did add that the outfielder would be on his way out of Chicago:

This certainly won't go down as the most earth-shattering deal wrapped up ahead of this year's deadline. At the time of writing, Bonifacio was hitting .279/.318/.373 and had stolen 14 stolen bases. His 1.3 WAR isn't otherworldly, but it's not terrible, either, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Since returning from the disabled list earlier in the month, Bonifacio has been on a tear, likely driving up his price tag and making him a more attractive option:

Bonifacio still boasts plenty of speed on the basepaths, is hitting for a high average and is a free agent at the end of the season. Not to mention he's a Swiss Army knife defensively. Atlanta could've done much worse at the deadline. 

You can understand why the Cubs dealt Bonifacio. Chicago isn't contending any time soon and Bonifacio's contract is up at the end of the season. The Cubbies gambled a bit when they offered him a minor-league deal. Now they've turned that minor-league deal into a return that can hopefully help the franchise going forward.

Meanwhile, Atlanta gets a piece to help during the critical stretch run to come.

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Andrew Miller to Orioles: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

The Boston Red Sox continue to be sellers ahead of the MLB trade deadline, moving left-hander Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Eduardo Rodriguez.   

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first reported the news:

Peter Gammons confirmed the report:

Many speculated that Miller would be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, and this isn't a situation foreign to him. The 29-year-old was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the then-Florida Marlins in 2007 as part of the Miguel Cabrera deal. Three years later, the Marlins sent him to Boston for Dustin Richardson.

"It’s different this time because I’m older and more established," Miller said, per The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham. "But that’s the life of a reliever. You could be traded pretty quickly. I’m aware of it but I don’t spend a lot of time reading the stories or worrying about it."

For most of his career, Miller failed to follow through on the promise he showed coming out of North Carolina. He was the sixth overall draft pick in 2006 and looked like somebody who could anchor a team's rotation for the next decade.

Instead, Miller flamed out as a starting pitcher, compiling a 20-27 record and a 5.70 ERA in 66 major league starts, according to Baseball-Reference.com. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was a paltry 1.40.

Since moving to the bullpen, Miller has had a career resurgence. His ERA has dropped roughly two full runs, and his SO/BB ratio has risen to a much more respectable number in 165-plus relief appearances. The lefty has been particularly filthy this year, so the interest in his services was unsurprising. 

Fox Sports' Gabe Kapler thinks that Miller has performed equally to if not better than the much higher-regarded Koji Uehara this year:

With the Red Sox last in the American League East and Miller's contract up at the end of the year, it made sense that they traded him despite all of his success on the mound.

ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes thinks Miller could almost single-handedly propel a team to the Fall Classic:

That may seem like an overstatement, but Uehara was among Boston's most important players as it won the 2013 World Series. Having a trusted arm for late-inning, high-pressure situations can be an invaluable asset in the postseason.

The Orioles still have plenty of work to do if they're going to make the playoffs, but getting Miller only furthers that goal. Meanwhile, the Red Sox traded away an impending free agent for a couple of pieces that could help them down the line.

It's a logical deal for both sides in that regard. As for Miller, he joins his fourth MLB team riding a nice wave of success that he'll look to continue with an eye on his next contract.

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Yankees Trade Rumors: Recent Rumblings on New York’s Last-Minute Deadline Deals

What tricks does New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman have up his sleeves in the next few hours?

The Yanks are in an interesting position. At the time of writing, they're 5.5 games out in the American League East and 3.0 back in the wild-card race. Doing something before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline would be great and all, but New York doesn't have much to offer in terms of assets.

How much can it get done?

Instead of dictating the market, the Yankees will more likely let the market play itself out and then figure out workable trades. ESPN's Buster Olney believes that New York will take advantage of teams hoping to offload unwieldy contracts:

For the most part, money isn't much of an issue for New York. Now, the team isn't going to be trading for Ryan Howard anytime soon, but it could take on a veteran or two who are slightly overpaid but productive pieces.

One such veteran could be Josh Willingham. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees are interested in possibly acquiring the 35-year-old outfielder. His contract is up at the end of the year, and with the Minnesota Twins unlikely to bring him back, he likely can be had for a low price.

Willingham's having a tough year, batting .222/.363/.422 with 10 home runs and 30 runs batted in. Nobody's expecting him to return to his 2012 self, when he hit 35 homers and drove in 110, but he could be a nice situational bat.

With Willingham's contract expiring, the Yankees wouldn't be stuck with him for the future, either, in the event they're not satisfied with his contribution.

Another outfielder in New York's cross hairs is Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported that the Yankees are interested but slightly turned off by the vesting option in his contract for 2016:

Byrd would arguably be a better fit following Kelly Johnson's injury. The 36-year-old is a much more natural right fielder than the converted infielder, who is out with a sore groin. Byrd would fill the corner outfield spot, which is where the Yanks are having a lot of problems. He's also hitting .270/.318/.477 with 20 homers and 60 RBI.

When asked about the possibility of getting traded, Byrd responded that it's all out of his hands, per George A. King III and Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

That’s something I can’t control. I don’t have a no-trade [clause], So if [general manager] Ruben [Amaro] makes a trade with them and gets something back in return, it’s like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to trade Marlon,’ there’s nothing I can do. I’ll pack my bags and move on.

In a perfect world, the Yankees would add Byrd to solve their problems in right and add a little more power. Between his contract and the Phillies' asking price—which is likely more than nothing—the deal will be hard to pull off before the deadline.

Another area New York is looking to bolster is the bullpen. Stark reported that Philadelphia's Antonio Bastardo, San Diego's Joaquin Benoit and the Chicago Cubs' James Russell are only a sampling of the names the Yanks are considering.

They aren't desperately in need of relievers, but you can never have too much bullpen depth with as much as relief pitching has grown specialized. None of those players will move the needle, but they could come in handy come playoff time.

That's the umbrella the Yankees' deadline business will likely fall under. Chase Headley was New York's semi-big bit of business, and now the team is looking to fortify a few problem areas.

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Derek Jeter Surprised by President George W Bush During Rangers Pregame Ceremony

It's not every day that you get to meet an American icon. Former President George W. Bush must have been honored when he got to rub shoulders with Derek Jeter.

Throughout the season, the retiring New York Yankees shortstop has received the Mariano Rivera treatment, as he's been showered with gifts at every road ballpark. What he hasn't done is shake hands with the 43rd president of the United States.

Before the Yankees took on the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, Jeter was presented with a plaque by "Dubya" himself that commemorated Bush's first pitch before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.

The Rangers just set the bar for the Jeter farewell tour.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Rumblings on Cole Hamels, David Price and More

We are another day closer to the trade deadline, and the three biggest arms available remain with their current teams.

Rumors have been flying recently regarding the futures of David Price, Cole Hamels and Jon Lester. All three starting pitchers would be fantastic acquisitions for teams harboring World Series hopes.

However, no significant plays have been made on any of the three aces. That could change in the coming days.

Here are updates on two of the top three left-handers in addition to one veteran who's a slightly cheaper— but still effective—option.

 

Cole Hamels

You'd think Hamels would be viewed as the consolation prize for teams unable to grab either Lester or Price. However, the way the Philadelphia Phillies are valuing Hamels, it would appear the veteran lefty is the most prized asset at the trade deadline.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Philly is asking for a king's ransom in return for Hamels:

Yet, according to one-ranking official directly involved with the talks, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently asked for Hamels. They were told the price would be three of their top prospects - center fielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias.

Sorry, the Dodgers said, but no interest.

The Phillies haven't dropped their price tag, and are insisting on three top prospects and a mid-tier prospect in any deal for Hamels. Yet, since no one else has come forward, they could lower the asking price if Hamels is packaged with bad, bloated contracts like ones belonging to Howard and Papelbon, clearing more than $150 million off the books.

Another potential hang-up is the Phillies' insistence that whoever trades for Hamels will have to foot a lot of the bill for his remaining contract. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported that Philadelphia will only pay $10 million toward his deal, meaning his new team would be paying out $20 million a year for his services.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted out that the 30-year-old is less likely to be traded than Price or Lester:

If the Phillies reach a point where they want to trade Hamels, they'll have to settle for one of two scenarios: They eat a ton of money but get great prospects, or they don't pay much of his deal and get a slightly lesser trade return.

They can't have it both ways.

For now, though, Philadelphia looks content to hold onto Hamels.

 

David Price

The Tampa Bay Rays' resolve won't be shaken. They're content to hold onto David Price if they feel the return isn't good enough.

In fact, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported that their asking price—no pun intended—has actually risen:

'I believe so,' one person familiar with their thinking said when asked whether they'd likely hold onto their stars. 'Simply put, it will take more than it would have a few weeks back'

Most folks believe the price will be too high for a trade now. They've come from 18 games below .500 to two below, at 52-54, following their 10th win in 11 games. They are only four games out of a wild-card position.

'Guessing Price is sold at 200 percent markup or not moved,' one rival GM said.

Heyman added that the Dodgers were one of the biggest players for Price. With Hamels and Lester on the market, Los Angeles will likely decide that the Rays ace costs too much.

Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported that Price will start today's game against the Milwaukee Brewers unless something earth-shattering happens:

Since the 28-year-old isn't a free agent until after next season, you can understand why Tampa is holding out for the best deal possible. Price is also among the hottest pitchers in the majors. He's won his last five starts, posting a 1.36 ERA (per Baseball-Reference.com).

The Rays are smart to wait until next season. The market might not be as flush with starting pitching, and it's possible teams would be more desperate to get him.

 

Bartolo Colon

If Lester, Price and Hamels all fall through, why not go after baseball's version of Benjamin Button, Bartolo Colon?

As entertaining as he is to watch, Colon would be a nice addition for a team hoping to finish strong in the stretch run and make the playoffs. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported that the Kansas City Royals are interested in both he and A.J. Burnett:

A new possibility has emerged for the Mets’ Bartolo Colon, although it remains to be seen how serious it is. According to major league sources, the Kansas City Royals are considering making a run at one of Monday night’s starters in New York, Colon or Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett.
 
This nugget comes with the significant caveat that the Royals might not be able to add the payroll necessary to acquire either pitcher. That will be determined over the next few days, but the team’s evaluators are said to like both veterans.

The playoff door isn't completely closed on the Royals. They may be five games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central, but they're only 3.5 back in the wild-card race at the time of writing.

Taking on Colon's contract would be an issue, but if Kansas City is serious about improving, it will make the finances work somehow.

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Pete Rose Discusses Ban from MLB with Rachel Nichols in CNN’s ‘Unguarded’

MLB's all-time hit king Pete Rose opened up with CNN's Rachel Nichols about his lifetime ban from the game in an interview for Unguarded.

With next year's All-Star Game scheduled to take place at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Rose was asked about Bud Selig's recent comments indicating Rose could take part in the week's festivities, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The 73-year-old responded in the interview that they'll let him on the field one day, but "then it's back in prison the next day." He added that his family has also been affected by the aftermath of his indefinite leave from the game.

Although Rose remains banned from the league, it hasn't precluded him from taking part in official MLB events in the past.

He was honored as part of the All-Century Team during the 1999 World Series, which was his first major appearance in an MLB stadium since his ban was handed down a decade earlier. In 2010, Rose was on hand in Cincinnati when the Reds celebrated the 25th anniversary of his record-breaking 4,192nd hit.

Selig spoke to the Baseball Writers' Association of America about Rose's possible involvement in next year's Midsummer Classic:

That'll be up to the Cincinnati club, and they know what they can do and they can't do. They've been very good about that. We haven't had that discussion. It's sort of subjective, they've done some things with Pete, but they've been very, very thoughtful and limited. That's a subject that I'm sure they'll discuss in the next year.

The outgoing commissioner also made a statement about possibly overturning Rose's ban.

"It's a matter under advisement. That's my standard line," said Selig. "I'm the judge and that's where it'll stay. There's nothing new."

If Rose does attend the 2015 All-Star Game, it would appear that it will only be a momentary reprieve.

Catch Unguarded with Rachel Nichols on CNN this Friday night at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Justin Masterson, Cole Hamels and More


With the non-waiver MLB trade deadline days away, the rumors are beginning to ramp up in volume.

Teams are furiously working behind the scenes to hammer out the details before July 31 comes and goes. There are a few big names who could be on the move, only adding to the intrigue. Who doesn't love an All-Star changing uniforms midseason?

Read on for some of the most recent updates surrounding this year's trade market.

 

Justin Masterson

The Cleveland Indians are probably a little happy those extension discussions with Justin Masterson went nowhere. Whatever term or phrase describes the opposite of a contract year, that's what the 29-year-old is enduring.

His 5.51 ERA is the highest of his career. That's not all chalked up to bad defense, either, because his 4.08 FIP is less than impressive, while his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second-lowest (1.66) of his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

With Masterson's deal set to expire, the Indians are looking to cash in. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported Cleveland hopes to bolster its starting pitching depth:

Trading away Masterson is a sign from management that making the playoffs this year is too lofty a goal, and it would be hard to argue with that belief. The Indians were 6.5 games out entering Monday night and have been too inconsistent to be considered a possible postseason team.

Masterson's value has dropped since his impressive 2013 campaign, but Cleveland could probably find somebody to bring him on for the stretch run.

 

Cole Hamels

Would you like to have Cole Hamels in your starting rotation? Of course.

Would you like to pay Hamels $20 million to be in your starting rotation? Cue the slow backtrack into the bushes Homer Simpson-style.

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported that the Philadelphia Phillies are open to trading the 30-year-old but expect another team to eat a ton of the remainder on his contract:

Teams continue to ask the Phillies about Cole Hamels, and report that A) they will listen but B) the price is astronomical. Hamels has four years left on his contract after this season, at $22.5 million a year. And the Phillies have told teams they're willing to take on $10 million of that. But that still means any team dealing for him would be on the hook for $20 million a year.

'That has to count for something,' [one] exec said [of Hamels' contract], 'if you're assuming all that salary. But Ruben wants his doors blown off in order to trade him. And you don't get your doors blown off if this kind of money is attached. It doesn't work that way.'

Hamels is having a good year, but for $20 million a year, you should be paying for an ace, not to mention that you'll have to pay an arm and a leg to get him in the first place. Nobody will meet the Phillies' asking price if they're only going to eat $10 million of his deal.

If Philadelphia is serious about trading the left-hander away, then it will have to decide whether it wants to get prospects or be completely off the hook from Hamels' contract. The team can't have it both ways.

 

Troy Tulowitzki and Noah Syndergaard

Troy Tulowitzki caused a bit of a stir when he was shown at a New York Yankees game on Sunday.

"It’s a short drive from Philly," the All-Star shortstop explained, via Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. "I’m with my family. I wanted to see (Derek) Jeter play one more time."

Rumors that Tulo followed with "I've made a huge mistake" are unconfirmed.

The timing of his appearance at Yankee Stadium seems awfully coincidental, considering his status with the Colorado Rockies remains up in the air. Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported that the Rockies aren't considering a trade now, despite plenty of interest from potential suitors:

David Lennon of Newsday reported that the New York Mets might be out of the running and that, for the moment, Noah Syndergaard is off-limits:

Syndergaard is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Mets organization and 13th overall by MLB.com. In 19 Triple-A starts this year, he has an 8-5 record with a 5.16 ERA.

New York is smart to value Syndergaard so heavily. Despite his struggles in the minors, he has the stuff necessary to become a No. 1 starter in the majors.

Still, if Tulowitzki's made available to the Mets, they should seriously consider throwing the 21-year-old right-hander in. Pitchers are so unpredictable in terms of career trajectories, especially with the rash of Tommy John surgeries.

Tulowitzki is a known quantity and is the best shortstop in the league by a somewhat wide margin.

At least the Mets look like they'll have plenty of time to think it over, with Colorado sticking with its star, at least for now.

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Jon Lester Rumors: Recapping Latest Buzz Surrounding Boston Red Sox Ace

If David Price is out of your price range, could I offer you Jon Lester?

With the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching, offers for the Boston Red Sox ace are in abundance. Since he's a free agent at the end of the season and the Sox are out of the playoff race, the team might as well unload him now and collect a hefty trade haul.

Lester's having his best season in the majors, posting a 2.52 ERA and 2.62 FIP, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He also boasts a healthy 155 ERA+ and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.66.

Even if he's a rental, the left-hander would be a sizable addition to a postseason contender. Think back to how large a role CC Sabathia played in the Milwaukee Brewers' 2008 stretch run. He made 17 starts, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, and the Brewers made their first postseason since 1982.

Price is viewed as the big fish in this year's trade market, but the Tampa Bay Rays have been patient up to this point and won't accept what they feel is a lesser deal.

For that reason, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark wrote that Lester could be the more likely pitcher to move this year:

So just take all those Price-to-the-Dodgers/Mariners/Cardinals rumors and substitute Lester's name, and you'll be right on target. But while the asking price remains monstrous, it isn't quite what the Rays were asking for Price, either. "In the end, it has to be less," one rival executive said, "just because he's a free agent, and the other guy [Price] is not."

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Seattle Mariners are one team that may look to Lester as a Plan B in the event Plan A (Price) doesn't work out:

ESPN.com's Buster Olney and Joel Sherman of the New York Post both tweeted out that the consensus, however, put Lester on the Los Angeles Dodgers:

This is where you shudder in fear about a potential Dodgers rotation that has Lester, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Dan Haren and Zack Greinke. The San Francisco Giants might as well give up the NL West right then and there.

The Dodgers have everything to make this trade work: plenty of top prospects and a setting/playing situation in which Lester would look forward to playing.

In June, the writers at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) proposed hypothetical trades for Price and determined which team would "win" the Rays ace. Los Angeles ended up with the best trade package, which include Joc Pederson, Zach Lee and Chris Anderson:

You can go ahead and slot both Pederson and Lee into your starting lineup and rotation, respectively. Both are major-league ready and have high floors. Anderson needs some time, but he has the raw stuff to become an innings-eating starter as well. That's one top-25 prospect, one top-100, and another who could qualify for a top 100 very soon. We laid the groundwork for this trade last year, actually. Make sure Astro brings his Ray-Bans for the LA sun.

You could essentially substitute Lester in place of Price and reach the same outcome. If the Dodgers go all-in on their target, that's pretty much the end of it.

The interesting part of this scenario is that Lester could end up being dealt and then sign with Boston in the offseason, similarly to how Cliff Lee was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Mariners before the 2010 season and then signed with Philly a year later.

Lester has already signaled that he'd be open to signing with the Red Sox even if they trade him, per the Boston Herald's Joey Knight:

Why not? This is what I know, this is what I love and like I’ve said plenty of times, this is where I want to be. And if they trade me I completely understand. No hard feelings; I know what they have to do for their organization. If that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep running out there every five days and pitching. Like I said, hopefully in November we’ll get something done.

Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan noted that Boston would have the money necessary to bring him back if it decided to do so:

Stark was a bit skeptical that the Red Sox would in fact make a serious attempt to sign Lester:

But what people around the sport really think is that this is a front office that already knows ownership isn't willing to commit to Lester for the years and dollars he's looking for. So it's time to make the best deal that's out there. And that time, stunningly, has arrived -- in the final hours of Trade Deadline Week 2014.

The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham also threw a wet blanket on the Lester-to-Boston offseason rumor:

The Red Sox, a major league source said Monday, have been informed what kind of contract lefthander Jon Lester is seeking and that has led to the team putting its ace on the trade market.

[...]

A team source said the Red Sox have not received a specific contract offer from Lester’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson. A contract that reflects the market value for a pitcher of Lester’s experience and accomplishments would be approximately $22 million-$24 million a year over five or six years.

If Boston's plans for 2015 don't involve Lester, then the incentive to trade him is even greater. Why let him walk at the end of the season and get nothing back when the team could trade him now and get something in return?

Whatever's gonna happen with Lester, expect a lot of movement very soon.

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Derek Jeter Passes Carl Yastrzemski for 7th on All-Time Hits List

Before leaving this game for good, Derek Jeter decided to dig the knife a little deeper into Boston Red Sox fans. The New York Yankees shortstop went 3-for-4 in a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night and in doing so passed Carl Yastrzemski for seventh place on the all-time hits list.

The decisive knock came in the top of the seventh inning with a single to right center.

Fans in Arlington gave Jeter a standing ovation after reaching the milestone, and Rangers manager Ron Washington said a few words about the retiring star following Texas' win, per Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe joked that Yastrzemski hasn't had the best of weeks, with David Ortiz also passing him on the all-time home run list last Monday:

Barring an injury or unforeseen catastrophe, Jeter shouldn't be in seventh for very long. With 3,420 hits, he's only 10 away from Honus Wagner for sixth place and 95 away from Tris Speaker in fifth, according to MLB.com. At the very least, sixth place is realistic, and fifth could be doable if he hits a hot streak during the stretch run.

If Jeter wants to track down Stan Musial for fourth (3,630), he'll probably have to play another season.

This is just another accolade to add to the 40-year-old's legendary career resume. He can't really do anything more to embolden his legacy at this point, but he might as well overtake as many Red Sox players in the record books as he possibly can.

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Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2014: Speech Highlights and Recap

Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas and Joe Torre all went from legends to immortals on Sunday. The sterling six were officially enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Few classes can boast this kind of quality from top to bottom. Thomas, Glavine and Maddux were among three of the most successful stars on the field in the 1990s, while Cox, La Russa and Torre all won World Series titles en route to incredible careers from the bench.

The ceremony kicked off with Maddux. The four-time Cy Young Award winner was one of the more humble aces of the 1990s, and that came across in his speech. You can view it in its entirety below, courtesy of MLB.com.

Along with Maddux's humility came a dry sense of humor.

In one of the lighter moments of the afternoon, he revealed that he and his brother, Mike, the Texas Rangers pitching coach, experimented a little bit with methane and fire. NBC's Chuck Todd didn't expect topics of this nature to be on the docket Sunday:

Maddux also managed to have a little fun at John Smoltz's expense, via MLB.com's Mark Bowman:

The Chicago Cubs weren't spared either, via Zach Klein of WSB-TV in Atlanta:

The 48-year-old will go down as one of the best pitchers of the modern baseball era. His continued success throughout the Steroid Era is an even bigger testament to his ability.

Cox, Maddux's former manager, was up next. He led the Braves to one World Series title and five National League pennants. In his 25 years with the Atlanta organization, Cox compiled a 2,149-1,709 record. His overall managerial win total of 2,504 (he had a four-year stint with the Toronto Blue Jays) ranks fourth all-time.

Cox said during the ceremony that he owed part of his success to the Braves' Cy Young trio of Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz. There's no question that having three pitchers that good can make a manager look a lot smarter, but Cox's sustained success went deeper than Atlanta's elite rotation.

Among his most infamous accomplishments are his 159 ejections, an all-time record. Cox made light of this achievement, via CNN.com's Jill Martin:

Near the end of his speech, Cox also talked about Chipper Jones' legacy with the Braves and said that the third baseman/outfielder will be making the trip to Cooperstown sooner rather than later.

Glavine spoke next to wrap up the Braves portion of the ceremony. He started off by talking about his childhood, when he launched snowballs at oncoming traffic. Hitters of the '90s surely wish he would've never graduated to baseballs, via David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune:

In his 22 years in the league, Glavine won 305 games and two Cy Young Awards. He also won 20 or more games in five seasons, including three in a row from 1991 to 1993. Glavine's best asset was his ability to pinpoint pitches just off the plate out of the strike zone but not far enough to be called balls by home-plate umpires.

Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News joked that Glavine's HOF plaque would reflect that:

La Russa was next up and somehow managed not to call upon a single reliever in the 17-plus minutes he spoke, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer:

Only two managers—Connie Mack and John McGraw—own more wins than La Russa's 2,728. He collected three World Series rings in his time with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, in addition to six league titles.

Having managed the A's, Cardinals and Chicago White Sox, La Russa goes into Cooperstown without a team logo on his hat.

Like Cox, La Russa alluded to one of his best players and future Hall of Famers, saying that he can't wait to see Albert Pujols inducted into Cooperstown.

Thomas took the podium following La Russa and delivered by far the most emotional speech of the day. He was fighting back tears as he thanked his family, coaches and team executives for helping him become one of the most feared hitters in the game for over a decade.

ESPN's Kevin Negandhi spoke on behalf of everyone on Twitter:

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander also offered his congratulations to Thomas and admitted that the Big Hurt is the reason he wears the No. 35 on the mound:

Some baseball fans forget that Thomas went to Auburn on a football scholarship before he became an American League MVP and offensive colossus. Despite all of his success on the diamond, he made sure not to forget former Tigers football coach Pat Dye, via NFL.com's Bryan Fischer:

In addition to paying tribute to various White Sox players, Thomas still found the time to give a small lecture condemning performance-enhancing-drug use. In terms of scope, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better induction speech:

The ceremony wrapped up with Torre, which is appropriate given how much he's given to the game and how successful he was as both a player and a manager.

He was a nine-time All-Star with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals and National League MVP with the Cardinals in 1971. After his time as a player was over, he managed for 14 years before joining the New York Yankees.

Torre admitted that the 12 seasons he spent in the Bronx are the biggest reasons he's entering the Hall. In those 12 years, Torre won 1,173 games, four World Series and six AL pennants.

You couldn't have put it any better than MLB did on Twitter:

The Hall of Fame voting is one of the more contentious issues throughout baseball every year, but nobody could argue the merits of the six newest Cooperstown inductees.

Sunday was a great celebration of their careers and the sport in general.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Kemp and More

With the non-waiver trade deadline rapidly approaching, Major League Baseball teams are getting their affairs in order and trying to wrap up whatever deals they're working on.

A few big names have already been moved, but a few top players could still be headed for new destinations between now and July 31. Plenty of deadline deals have gone right down to the wire in the past, and that could be the case this summer.

Below are some of the most recent updates surrounding three teams that may or may not be active in the next week.

 

Troy Tulowitzki

The future of Troy Tulowitzki has been a hotly discussed topic for a few years now. The Colorado Rockies haven't made the playoffs since 2009 and don't look to be getting there again anytime soon. With that in mind, do they possibly trade their All-Star shortstop and begin the rebuild?

For team owner Dick Monfort, the answer remains "no."

MLB.com's Thomas Harding reported that the Rockies aren't pursuing a deal involving Tulowitzki before the trade deadline and that Colorado might feel the same way once the season ends. Harding also refuted a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post about Tulowitzki possibly having a no-trade clause in his contract.

Covering all of his bases, Harding also threw a wet blanket on any talk that Carlos Gonzalez will be moved:

By the way, Major League sources say the Rockies aren’t anywhere close to dealing outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a sublime talent who has dealt with injuries the last two years.

Given that, current trade rumors are to be seen as laying the groundwork for talks after the season.

Hitting the reset button is never easy for a franchise, but the Rockies might be better off jettisoning at least one of the two and making what's an above-average minor league system one of the best in the major leagues.

Plus, the longer Tulowitzki's out of the playoffs, the more he's likely to grow discontented with the organization's future. John Perrotto wrote in USA Today about the shortstop's future and provided this very telling quote:

I remember my dad saying, 'You see this right here? That is one of the best quarterbacks ever and only one time did he make it to the Super Bowl.' So he tried to compare it to me making the World Series my rookie year, and sure enough, eight or nine years later we haven't made it back and that gave me a reminder of how special that time was. So I never took it for granted.

You can understand why Colorado would want to hold onto Gonzalez and Tulowitzki through the end of the season, but the team will have to do some soul-searching in the offseason.

 

Matt Kemp

On July 16, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that Matt Kemp isn't agitating for a trade, but if one comes, he's not gonna stand in the way.

Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, is quoted as saying:

Whatever they want to do we’re favorable to, as long as it gives him an opportunity to play every day. He’d like to eventually go back to center field. He’s not opposed to right or left. But his hope at some point is to get back to center.

On Saturday, Rosenthal reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers have no trades imminent for the two-time All-Star:

Kemp struggled mightily out of the gates this year, hitting .225/.493/.814 from March through April. He's since raised his average to .273. The power numbers aren't there, but Kemp is at least giving Los Angeles something offensively.

The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck thinks that Kemp will remain with the Dodgers for business rather than performance reasons:

Kemp is still owed approximately $118 million on that eight-year, $160-million contract he signed with the Dodgers. No team is going pick that up, given the way he’s played the last three years. And the Dodgers are not going to eat half of it just to move him.

Kemp is owed a ton of money, and at 29 years old, there's little chance that he returns to the five-tool star who lit up Dodger Stadium in 2009 and 2011. With that in mind, there are few teams willing to acquire Kemp unless LA ponies up some dough.

Los Angeles will likely have to make the most of a tough situation.

 

Boston Red Sox

Jake Peavy is reportedly on his way to the San Francisco Giants, per CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman:

The Boston Red Sox might not be done, either, per ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes:

With five days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, however, a Sox source acknowledged 'we’re working on a lot of things,' and with the team sinking fast in the AL East, Boston’s willingness to part ways with other players on the big-league roster is increasing exponentially.

It's hard to believe that the Sox are less than a year removed from a World Series title.

Edes mentioned that Jon Lester could be one of the team's biggest names on the move. Lester sounded a bit cryptic after Boston's 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

"I don’t think anything, especially in Boston, can surprise," he said, per Joey Knight of the Boston Herald. "I think we all understand where we’re at. We understand it’s a business."

The 30-year-old also added that, in the event that he's traded, he'd consider signing with the Red Sox once he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. That wouldn't be a bad deal for Boston. It trades Lester, gets prospects in return and then goes ahead and brings him back.

Considering this is a lost season, the Red Sox might as well get what they can for some of their fringe players who won't play a big role down the line.

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