Ranking the 10 Least-Deserving MLB All-Stars of the Last Decade

The idea of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is sound. It's designed to gather the best players in the league in one place, and it mostly succeeds at doing so.

But not always. On occasion, players who have no business being called "All-Stars" end up at the Midsummer Classic. It's our duty as honest, baseball gods-fearing citizens to not forget them.

With the rosters for the 2014 All-Star Game due to be announced Sunday night, there's no time like the present to do a bit of not forgetting by looking back at the 10 least-deserving All-Stars of the last decade (2004-2013).

For the record: No, we're not going to concern ourselves with things like past performances and reputations. We're only targeting players who didn't deserve to be All-Stars based strictly on how they were performing at the time. And the worse the performance, the higher the rank.

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.

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Ranking the 10 Least-Deserving MLB All-Stars of the Last Decade

The idea of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is sound. It's designed to gather the best players in the league in one place, and it mostly succeeds at doing so.

But not always. On occasion, players who have no business being called "All-Stars" end up at the Midsummer Classic. It's our duty as honest, baseball gods-fearing citizens to not forget them.

With the rosters for the 2014 All-Star Game due to be announced Sunday night, there's no time like the present to do a bit of not forgetting by looking back at the 10 least-deserving All-Stars of the last decade (2004-2013).

For the record: No, we're not going to concern ourselves with things like past performances and reputations. We're only targeting players who didn't deserve to be All-Stars based strictly on how they were performing at the time. And the worse the performance, the higher the rank.

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.

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Biggest Takeaways from This Week’s MLB Action

The marathon feel of Major League Baseball's 162-game season can be broken down into easily digestible and debatable segments. As the 2014 campaign enters the stretch run of the first half of the season, let's take a look back on the last week of action.

While making long-term evaluations or declarations based on one week of play can be a fool's errand, each small sample does provide perspective on the season. As the months pass and each game becomes more important in a season full of pennant chases, day-by-day results take on extra meaning.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the last week of MLB action.

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Re-Grading the Impact Deals of MLB’s 2013 July Trade Season

The month of July is here, and with it comes the start of another MLB trade season, as contenders look to shore up their rosters for the stretch run and also-rans look to add young talent for the future.

Last year's trade deadline was relatively quiet compared to years past, but it still saw a handful of impact players on the move before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

A year later, we have a much clearer idea of who got the better end of each trade, so it's time to revisit each of those deals and regrade both sides.

Taking into account things like the progression of prospects included in each deal, whether or not the players acquired by contenders helped their teams reach the playoffs and who benefits most long-term from the deal, the grades for each trade were adjusted compared to last July's grades.

Keep in mind, guys like Alex Rios (CWS-TEX), Marlon Byrd (NYM-PIT), John Axford (MIL-STL), Justin Morneau (MIN-PIT) and Michael Young (PHI-LAD) were not traded until August, so their deals will not be included here.

 

*Note: Quotes and grades for the "What I Said Then" section taken from a live tracker I wrote last July.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Bartolo Colon, Dayan Viciedo and More

The MLB trade deadline is July 31, but that doesn't mean general managers will sit on their hands and wait until the last second to make a deal.

There is plenty of baseball to be won in July as teams battle for supremacy in their respective divisions, and the earlier a team jumps on the players it wants, the better.

The Oakland Athletics took this ethos to heart. They picked up two high-caliber starters in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a deal with the Chicago Cubs. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported the news:

This means some other teams have to make moves to keep pace, right?

Let's take a look at the latest buzz surrounding some of the more interesting trade pieces out on the market.

 

Mets Willing to Hear Offers for Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon has enjoyed a bit of a late-career resurgence over the past couple of seasons. He's boasts a 3.88 ERA this season with 76 strikeouts in 106.2 innings pitched for the lowly New York Mets.

It's a wonderful output from a 41-year-old veteran, but the Mets could still be interested in shopping him before the trade deadline. According to the club's sources for the New York Post's Mike Puma, the Mets will listen to offers for Colon. Puma went on to give some background on the Mets' line of thinking, per his sources:

Though Colon is owed $11 million for next season, the view within the industry is that contract won’t prohibit the Mets from making a deal with a contender in need of rotation help. An AL executive called Colon’s contract “relatively friendly.”

But sources indicated general manager Sandy Alderson has no pressure to deal Colon, and the Mets could wait past the July 31 non-waiver deadline in attempting to maximize their return.

Colon would be an ideal rental for a big-market team looking to make a playoff push. The New York Yankees are in need of pitching help, as manager Joe Girardi believes CC Sabathia could be done for the remainder of the season.

"I think that's probably fair to say," said Girardi, via The Star Ledger's Dave Hutchinson.

If Mets general manager Sandy Alderson holds on to Colon into August, he could unload his contract for a team dealing with an injury bug before the postseason.

 

Dayan Viciedo Drawing Interest

According to ESPN's Gordon Edes, the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants have approached the Chicago White Sox about acquiring outfielder Dayan Viciedo.

Viciedo is a Cuban slugger who can play both in both right and left field. He's not especially quick nor is he a standout on defense. His most tantalizing trait is his power, although this aspect of his game has dwindled in recent years.

At just 25 years old, his best years could still be ahead of him as a hitter, provided he finds the right situation to regain his 2012 form. The Mariners would give him the best opportunity because of their desperate need for a right-handed hitter.

Edes notes, per his sources, that the Mariners are considering trading right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer in a potential deal.

Seattle does not have a single right-handed outfielder on the current 25-man roster, severely handicapping manager Lloyd McClendon's lineup choices against lefties. Catcher Mike Zunino leads the team with home runs off lefties with three, as per MLB.com. If Viciedo can regain some of his mojo, this would be an excellent situation for both parties.

 

Blue Jays Looking for Infielders

The Toronto Blue Jays are currently neck-and-neck with the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East, no thanks to the production from the hot corner. ESPN's Jim Bowden reports, rather pessimistically, that the team is scouting two third baseman and a second baseman in an attempt to improve production in the infield:

Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco have been rather disappointing at the hot corner this season for the Blue Jays. Both players are batting below .250 and have combined for just 25 home runs and 70 RBI on the season.

Lawrie is currently on the DL with a finger injury, leaving the light-hitting Francisco to hold down the fort until reinforcements arrive.

Of the three players Bowden mentioned, Martin Prado fits the team's needs the best. He's batting .268 with three home runs and 34 RBI and can also provide cover at shortstop. However, Aaron Hill may be more attainable at 32 years old. He's batting .248 on the season and notched 42 RBI and would provide cover at second base since Maicer Izturis is likely done for the year. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks could be willing to sell either Prado or Hill considering they are 36-52 and entrenched in the NL West cellar.

If the Blue Jays don't pull the trigger on any one of the three guys, Bowden's report is at least an indication they will continue to push for greater success this season.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Analyzing Dan Straily’s Impact on the Chicago Cubs’ Future

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein showed he isn't afraid to take big risks when he dealt his two best pitchers late Friday night. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the details of the trade:

As one might expect, the Cubs weren't short-changed in the deal. Experts such as Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus were quick to point out that the Cubs did a good job of adding talent to an already strong farm system:

While most of the attention in this deal might shift to center fielder Billy McKinney and Addison Russell, the real success of the trade hinges on Dan Straily

Make no mistake, McKinney and Russell should turn out to be instrumental pieces in the Cubs' rebuilding effort. Both are recent draft picks and offer tremendous upside at the plate and in the field. However, neither will address what the Cubs' farm system needs—pitching. 

That's where Straily comes in. The 6'2", 215-pound 25-year-old will be expected to help out in that department right now. Rob Neyer of Fox Sports speculates that the Cubs will be bringing up Straily sooner rather than later. 

Neyer's pessimism is warranted. Straily made seven starts for the Athletics this season, and the stats weren't pretty. He went 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA before getting sent back down to Triple-A ball. 

Fortunately for Cubs fans, there is an upside to Straily. For all of his struggles last season, his rookie season should offer fans a glimmer of hope. In 27 starts for the Athletics last season he went 10-8 with a respectable 3.96 ERA and finished fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. 

Speaking to MLB Network Radio, Straily spoke about the excitement of moving to a new team:

With the change of scenery and, more importantly, a switch to the National League, Straily could be in for a turnaround playing for the Cubs. 

After all, one only has to look at the now-departed Jason Hammel to be encouraged that Straily can turn a corner. When the Cubs acquired him before the 2014 season he was coming off a year as a Baltimore Oriole in which he went 7-8 with an ERA of 4.97. 

It might be a little unrealistic to believe that Straily will make that drastic of a turnaround this season, but he's definitely a promising piece in the Cubs rotation moving forward. 

 

All statistics and awards voting references via baseball-reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Analyzing Addison Russell’s Impact on the Chicago Cubs’ Future

The Chicago Cubs landed a top prospect in shortstop Addison Russell in a trade with the Oakland Athletics, one that is bound to have ripple effects throughout the team's farm system while simultaneously setting up the big league club for future success.

The Cubs sent starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's for Russell, outfield prospect Billy McKinney and right-handed pitcher Dan Straily.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the deal: 

The Cubs have to be bullish on Russell's chances of blossoming into a future star to give up both Samardzija and Hammel, both of whom feature sub-3.00 ERAs and are striking out more than 8.5 batters per nine innings, despite mediocre win-loss records on the season.

Baseball Prospectus writer Jason Parks commented on just how flush the Cubs' farm system is with Russell in the fold:

The addition of Russell is exciting for Cubs fans, but it has created a bit of a logjam at shortstop. See, the Cubs already have one of the bright young shortstop prospects in Javier Baez, not to mention the 24-year-old two-time All-Star Starlin Castro holding down the fort at this position in the majors.

MLB.com's Teddy Cahill had Baez and Russell at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively, in his rundown of the top 10 shortstop prospects back in January. Here is Cahill's analysis of Russell:

He has erased some Draft-day questions about his long-term future at shortstop with his play. Now scouts are convinced Russell has the tools to be an above-average defender, capable of highlight-reel plays. He is a consistent performer in the batter's box as well, and is moving quickly toward the Major Leagues.

If Russell is truly a future defensive marvel, then it is possible they could move the powerful Baez to third base.

Then again, he would just run into Kris Bryant, one of the preeminent minor league sluggers. 

Bryant is a 22-year-old masher who's hit 28 home runs and notched a .707 slugging percentage split between the Cubs' Double-A and Triple-A minor league teams in 2014. Prior to Russell's arrival, the argument for the Cubs' best prospect centered around Bryant and Baez.

I like both of them, but I think Baez's upside is higher," said an American League scout, via CSN Chicago's David Kaplan. "Bryant will have more success early in his big-league career but long-term, I think Baez will put up bigger numbers if he stays healthy."

Try to move a player in the opposite direction of third and you find 22-year-old Arismendy Alcantara, a speedy second baseman ranked as the fourth-best prospect at his position by MLB.com.

Of course, the two shortstops then generate a discussion regarding which one makes it to the majors first. Russell is a year younger than Baez, is currently playing Double-A ball and has dealt with hamstring issues.

This gives an edge to Baez, who has struggled making solid contact in Triple-A but is much closer to a late 2014 call-up or fighting for a spot on the 25-man roster next season.

Athletics assistant director of scouting Michael Holmes admitted earlier in June that Russell and some of the A's other prospects weren't necessarily on a quick path to the MLB.

"These are guys that aren't quite on the so-called fast track that maybe certain college guys might have been that we've taken in past years," said Holmes, via MLB.com's Aaron Leibowitz. "But these are guys that are progressing at a very good rate through our system and have done very well."

The Cubs clearly aren't worried about today's numbers or tomorrow's record at fifth place in the NL Central, so they could be inclined to hoard these infield prospects and see which ones—if not all—reach their full potential. With two young prospects in the pipeline behind Castro, who is currently batting .290 as the everyday shortstop, the Cubs have All-Star potential in spades.

It's possible the Cubs flip one of Russell, Baez or Castro in order to shore up other areas of the team. General manager Theo Epstein has done a fine job of restocking the farm system, but the team could go for more starting pitching at the big league or minor league level to deal with the repercussions of giving up Hammel and Samardzija.

After all, once these burgeoning minor league prospects start racking up hits at Wrigley Field, the team is going to want to give them the opportunity to win while they carve up major league pitching.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Analyzing Billy McKinney’s Impact on the Chicago Cubs’ Future

It looks like the Chicago Cubs are loading up for the future.

On Friday night, it was announced the team parted ways with some valuable trade chips when it sent pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics for Addison Russell, Dan Straily and Billy McKinney.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report the trade:

So, with the future now looking a little brighter for the Cubs, how exactly will the addition of McKinney impact the team?

At just 19 years of age, McKinney was selected in the first round of last year's draft by the A's at No. 24 overall out of Plano West High School.

Listed at 6'1" and 195 pounds, McKinney doesn't have as much power as you'd expect, but his mechanics alone make his upside tremendous.

He has a compact swing which is highly repetitive, leading to a two-year minor league batting average of .282. During that span, he appeared in 139 games and accumulated 152 hits, 23 doubles, six triples, 14 home runs and 65 RBI, according to The Baseball Cube.

Here's a great look at his consistently smooth swing:

One surprising stat regarding McKinney is his 14 stolen bases in the minors. You'd expect more from a center fielder due to the typical speed of players at the position.

McKinney certainly isn't a burner, and he won't tear it up as a baserunner, but that doesn't mean he is without useful speed.

In the outfield, he shows off some nice instincts and gets a good jump on the ball, reading the flight path correctly and getting himself into good position.

Take a glance at his pro-player comparison from the 2013 draft:

McKinney may not stick at center field with the Cubs in the long run, but he does have enough arm strength to possibly play either left field or first base as well.

His instincts on defense and consistency at the plate will certainly allow McKinney to become a big part of the Cubs' future plans in one way or another. He still needs some time to develop, but he has the ability to be a solid starter roughly three or four years down the road.

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Twitter Reacts as Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel Are Traded to Athletics

The Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs wasted no time in getting the MLB's trade season underway. 

The two clubs have agreed to terms on a blockbuster deal that will see the Athletics rotation get a major boost. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the deal:

Keith Law of ESPN provided more information on who the Cubs have acquired as part of the deal:

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports shed some light on the timeline of the trade:

The deal is seen as an immediate game changer for the Athletics. Personalities such as Rich Eisen were quick to heap praise on Athletics general manager Billy Beane:

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports speculated on what events may have led to the Athletics making the move:

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports proclaimed the Athletics as AL favorites in light of the new additions:

For the Cubs—who are obviously looking to improve their team beyond 2014—the prized prospect received in the deal will be Addison Russell. JJ Cooper of ESPN provides some insight into just how important he was to getting the deal done:

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus breaks down just how loaded the Cubs' farm system is with the addition of Russell:

However, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wonders what Chicago will do with their sudden logjam at the shortstop position:

Not everyone was sold on the move for the Cubs, though. Rob Neyer brought up some reservations about the Cubs pitching staff going forward:

The sacrifice is obviously worth it for the A's in the short term. While they were forced to give up Russell, Samardzija has been lights-out this year. Despite his 2-7 record, his 2.83 ERA says he will have a much better record in Oakland. 

His ability to produce ground balls won't hurt either, as noted by Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info:

In fact, the addition of Hammel and Samardzija gives the A's arguably the deepest starting rotation of anyone, as ESPN Stats & Info can attest:

In the end, Jim Bowden of ESPN sees this trade working out well for both teams:

With the MLB All-Star Game just around the corner, it's going to be hard for teams to top this deal in terms of 2014 World Series implications. The A's have become serious contenders while the Cubs have made a strong investment for the future. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel Sent to Athletics in Multi-Player Trade

The Oakland Athletics are sitting atop the American League West as the 2014 MLB season approaches the All-Star break. After reportedly acquiring Chicago Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on Friday, their grip on the division may only grow stronger.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Keith Law of ESPN updated fans on the proceedings, while the MLB itself noted that the deal was official:

The Cubs and A's both took to Twitter to confirm the deal, as well:

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports there will be a player to be named later sent to Chicago as well:

Joe Stiglich of Comcast SportsNet reports Tommy Milone has been sent down as a result of the trade:

MLB.com reports when we can expect Samardzija to make his A's debut:

John Hickey of Bay Area News Group confirms that expectation:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes that the Yankees were in the hunt for the Cubs' talented pitchers:

The Cubs may be in last place, but it is of no fault of Samardzija and Hammel. Samardzija sports a sparkling 2.83 ERA despite his 2-7 record, while Hammel comes to Oakland with a 2.98 ERA and an 8-5 record.

Both pitchers will likely be thrilled if and when they receive more run support in Oakland. The A’s lead the MLB in total runs scored, which will be a nice change for the two hurlers. For perspective, Chicago ranks an abysmal 25th.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports and Rosenthal provided some more updates:

The addition of Samardzija and Hammel makes what was already one of the league’s best pitching staffs all the more dangerous. The A’s already feature the likes of Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray and rank fourth in the league in team ERA and fifth in quality starts. A starting rotation that possibly include those four names will be difficult to beat in the regular season and in any future playoff series.

Good luck to the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners trying to catch Oakland now.

As for the Cubs, this move was clearly made with the future in mind. Ever since Theo Epstein took over on the North Side, there has been a clear effort directed toward building a formidable farm system and solid foundation. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus noted just how many talented prospects the Cubs have now, including the young and talented Addison Russell:

Interestingly enough, relief pitcher James Russell didn't seem too keen on the idea of the Cubs trading Samardzija recently, via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

It’ll definitely be different if a guy like Jeff leaves. He’s been one of the staples around here. You just kind of put his face with the Cubs team. It’d be definite culture change.

It’d be like taking one step forward and 10 steps back.

Additionally, Javier Baez and Starlin Castro are assumed to be key pieces in the middle infield for years to come in Chicago, so the inclusion of shortstop Addison Russell in this trade is sure to raise some eyebrows. However, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports answered any possible questions that would arise from that logjam:

As for why the Cubs would want to trade for a shortstop when they have All-Star-caliber Starlin Castro in the majors and another top-10 prospect in Javier Baez at Triple-A, it's rather simple. First of all, sometimes prospects (Baez?) end up as busts. If they don't, position changes could be in order. And if there's a true logjam -- if no one is a bust and no one fits as a position change guy -- trades could be made to shore up other holes at that time. Essentially, if you can get a top-10 prospect, you get him without regard for where he plays.

For as loaded as the Cubs’ farm system is in the offense department though, they could use some more talented pitchers if they hope to one day snap their World Series curse.

Otherwise, Chicago may have to beat everyone 10-9 if it hopes to make its way back to the playoffs sooner rather than later.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for Cincinnati Reds’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 12

The Cincinnati Reds' top 10 prospects received a little bit of a shakeup since my last version of this recurring article. The MLB draft brought along newcomer Alex Blandino, while some other players either worked their way into the top 10 or found new homes on the list.

Much like previous installations, we'll go through each of the club's top 10 prospects, analyze their past week of play and issue a stock-up or stock-down grade based on their performance.

As previously mentioned, the top 10 looks a little different than previous versions of this piece. So, if you want to refresh yourself on who the team's top-10 prospects are, and why they rank where they do, feel free to visit my post-draft top-10 piece published back on Jun. 11.

We'll kick things off with the only left-handed pitching prospect to crack the top 10, Ismael Guillon.

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Why Gerrit Cole Is so Essential to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Success in 2014

The Pittsburgh Pirates received a major boost last Saturday when their young starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole, made his first start in over three weeks.  

The 23-year-old had been shelved with right shoulder fatigue, which had caused him to lose velocity on his fastball and yield more hits to batters.  

Cole took the mound for the second time since coming off the disabled list Friday as the Pirates hosted the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.  

Simply put, Cole was dominant through five innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out five batters.  

Cole did all that on just 80 pitches, which is why fans were shocked when they saw Pirates manager Clint Hurdle walk out to home plate prior to the start of the sixth inning to make a pitching change.  

According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cole was pulled from the game due to soreness in his right lat.  

Cole made his major league debut for the Pirates in 2013, going 10-7 with an earned run average of just 3.22 that year.  His efforts helped lead his organization to its first playoff appearance since 1992.  

Needless to say, Cole's presence in the rotation is essential to the Pirates' chances of making a deep run at a World Series title in 2014.  

In 13 starts this season, Cole is 7-4 with a 3.78 ERA.  Unfortunately, he has missed a considerable amount of time already due to injury.  

The Pirates' top pitcher right now, according to the depth chart on the organization's website, is Charlie Morton.  Although his 5-9 record may not look good on paper, Morton has pitched very well in 2014, posting an ERA of 3.30 in 17 starts.  

Their No. 2 starter is currently Cole, who will likely be at the top of the rotation in a year or so barring any catastrophic injury.  

Rounding out the five-man rotation are starters Edinson Volquez, Jeff Locke and Vance Worley.  

Over his last 14.0 innings pitched, Volquez has not allowed an earned run.  He has brought his ERA down to a respectable 4.07 on the year, while his record sits at an even 6-6.  

Still, Volquez has not been able to find consistency on the mound this season, as he has not been over .500 since starting the season 1-0 in early April.  

Locke is one of those guys who has shown glimpses of greatness, only to fall back to Earth quite quickly. In the first half of the season in 2013, Locke went 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA.  In the second half, he went 2-5 to finish the season with an unimpressive 10-7 record.  

This season, however, Locke is locked and loaded, owning a walks and hits per inning pitched of only 1.008 and an ERA of 3.46 in six starts.  

Then there is Vance Worley, who has shown a lot of promise in 2014, pitching at least 6.2 innings in each of his first four starts since being called up in June.  

Worley is the type of pitcher that can pitch deep into games and set his team up to win, which is why the Pirates will likely keep him in the rotation even after Francisco Liriano returns from the disabled list.  

With all that being said, it is easy to see that the Pirates have a decent rotation even without Gerrit Cole. However, Cole's dominance on the mound is what puts the Pirates into the discussion of potential playoff contenders in 2014.  

Without Cole, the Pirates may have to look to acquire another pitcher prior to the July 31 trade deadline. For now, we will have to wait for word on the severity of Cole's injury, but the Pirates organization couldn't have been happy about the outcome of his start Saturday.  

Cole is an integral piece in Pittsburgh's starting rotation, and without him, the rotation simply isn't as effective.  

On the other hand, if the injury turns out to have been just mild discomfort and Cole doesn't miss any more time, look out for the Pirates as they are fully loaded and primed for another playoff run in the second half of the season.  

 

*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

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Need a Job? Brew Some Resume-Ale!

Resum-Ale

 

Traditional resumes just don’t cut it anymore. Oftentimes, those who get the job are the ones with credentials that stand out from the rest. However, aside from qualifications, here’s one other thing that you could do to up your chances of getting hired: come up with an unusual or creative resume that’ll get people talking. You know, like interactive resumes that play out like a game or LEGO resumes that you can build, brick by brick.

And then there’s Brennan Gleason’s Resum-ale. It’s a resume that comes in the form of a four-pack of the graphic designer’s special homebrew, something that prospective bosses will love for sure. Brennan explains: “I’ve seen beef jerky business cards and really weird stuff like that. So, I really wanted to do something along those lines.”

Weird? Yes. Cool? Definitely. So weird and cool it was that Brennan landed a job as a result with a Vancouver-based digital marketing agency. Sounds like a good fit, doesn’t it?

VIA [ Incredible Things ]

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Flick Candles: Scented Candles for Life’s Disappointments

Flick Candles

 

Life is a roller coaster of highs and lows with a bevy of unexpected twists and turns in between. It helps to keep calm and get some perspective during those low points. Whether it’s a cup of tea or a walk in the park, even the simplest of things can be signs to remind you that life will get better. And if the Flicking Candle Company had their way, then you’ll be lighting one of their candles while sipping that cup of tea and getting over your disappointment.

Their candles are far from ordinary because they offer special candles targeted at specific disappointments, which include Freshly Signed Divorce Papers, Cancelled Vacation, and the Friend Zone.

Flick Candles1

Flick Candles2

Flick Candles3

Flick Candles4

Flicking Candles make the perfect gift for friends and family, especially if they’re going through a hard time. There is no better way to subtly acknowledge their personal setbacks than with a candle that illuminates those challenges and puts them on display for everyone to see. They’ll be happy to own a fragrance that truly captures life and all its disappointments.

 

Out of all the candles they’re offering, Grandma’s Last Christmas Tree is probably the most most depressing one. Each candle retails for $16.99.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Laughing Squid ]

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Metallomaniac: Star Wars 3D Metal Model Kits

Star Wars 3D Metal Model Kits

The best things to have are those that you’ve made with your blood, sweat, and tears. You won’t have to go through such lengths for these three-dimensional Star Wars metal models, though. They might look complex and difficult to make, but would you believe that each and every one of them started out from flat, laser-etched steel sheets?

All you have to do is pop out the pieces from the sheet. Then you bend, fold, and connect each part with the other until you end up with the character that you’ve chosen.

Star Wars 3D Metal Model Kits1

Star Wars 3D Metal Model Kits2

 

Four models are available: TIE Fighter, R2-D2, the Millennium Falcon, and AT-AT. The kits are available from Vat19 for $14.99 each.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Holy Cool ]

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We Remember: Rick Monday Saves American Flag from Being Burned by Protesters

Although this great save didn't happen July 4, today is a great day to look back at one of the most patriotic acts to happen on the diamond in Major League Baseball history.

On April 25, 1976, which was the year of the United States' bicentennial, the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. In the middle of the fourth inning, two people ran onto the field. They didn't do it to interact with the players; they did it to protest.

The two fans had placed an American flag on the ground with the intention of burning it, but luckily, Cubs outfielder Rick Monday was there to save the day.

A few years ago, Monday talked to MLB.com's Ben Platt about what was going through his head at the time.

[MLB.com]

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For That Perfect Fit: OwnPhones Personalized Earbuds

OwnPhones

If you want a perfect fit, then your best bet would be to have whatever it is you want custom made. Whether it’s a suit, a pair of pants, or a pair of shoes, custom-made is the way to go if you have cash to spare. And with OwnPhones, you can now have a pair of personalized earbuds made so they’ll fit your ears’ every arch and curve.

OwnPhones will be launching a campaign on Kickstarter sometime this month to raise funds to finish development on their product. Users who want to have custom-made earbuds simply have to record a clip showing both of their ears using OwnPhone’s mobile app and wait for their personalized earbuds to arrive in the mail.

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Aside from ensuring a perfect fit, OwnPhones will also come with some pretty smart features, one of which allows the user to customize what they hear: purely music or a combination of that and the sounds of the outside world. The expected retail price ranges from $299 to $449, but a OwnPhones will be offering an early bird discount of 50% when their Kickstarter campaign goes live, so stay tuned!

VIA [ C|NET ]

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Happy? These Happiness Blankets Will Let the Crew Know

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Love the food being served during your flight? Annoyed at how the front passenger’s reclined seat invades your personal space? Whatever it is you’re feeling, these Happiness Blankets will let British Airways’ people know in the hopes of providing better service to every passenger that comes on board.

The Happiness Blankets are hooked up to a headband made by MyndPlay that measures its wearer’s brainwaves, which are then monitored for changes that indicate anxiety or relaxation. The fiber optics woven into the blanket then turn blue when the passenger is relaxed, and red if they’re stressed, providing flight attendants with a visual cue on the current state of the passengers. They’ve been tested on first-class passengers so far, yielding results that were quite obvious. Maybe they should spread these blankets around to those in economy and work on reducing whatever it is that’s making people see red in that seat class, don’t you think?

VIA [ Damn Geeky ]

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Perfect Trade Scenarios for San Francisco Giants at Deadline

On June 8, the Giants were a Major League best 42-21 with a 9.5 game lead over their rival Dodgers. It appeared the Giants would just run away with another NL West title.

My oh my how the tables have turned.

The Giants suffered from a terrible case of June swoon and saw their commanding lead on the Dodgers diminish. 

The starting rotation struggled, the clutch hits they got in April and May were non-existent and the typically reliable Sergio Romo was removed from his duties as closer after blowing three saves in two weeks.

General manager Brian Sabean has never been one to pull the trigger on a trade quickly to bring in reinforcements. He has a lot of trust in his players and knows that this roster can win.

However, if the Giants were to make some deals before the deadline, they should look to improve production at second base and add another arm to the rotation.

Here are three perfect trade scenarios for the Giants leading up to the deadline.

 

Trade for Daniel Murphy

Early in the year when Brandon Hicks was hitting home runs, it looked like the Giants had found a solid replacement for Marco Scutaro. However, Hicks has hasn’t hit a long ball since May 23 and has seen his average drop all the way down to .166. 

The Giants tried exploring other options when they brought up Joe Panik, but he has been spotty in the field and unimpressive at the plate.

So what should the solution be? Daniel Murphy.

Murphy is having a fantastic year with a .300 batting average, 34 RBI and a .350 OBP. He would be a great improvement at second base and also give the Giants a bat at the top of the order, something they have not had since Angel Pagan has been out. 

The 29-year-old Murphy has been one of the Mets’ most consistent players since breaking into the major league in 2008, so it is understandable that New York will have a big asking price for him. 

When the Giants drafted Gary Brown, the club expected the speedster to become their center fielder and leadoff hitter of the future. However, Brown has been a huge disappointment and is no longer the highly touted prospect he once was.

With an underwhelming .267 average and .321 OBP in Triple-A Fresno, it is time for the Giants to part ways with its former first round pick.

Adam Duvall, promoted just over a week ago, hit a home run in his first major league game. While it is great to have another power bat in the lineup, the Giants won’t have space for him when Brandon Belt returns. 

Belt is the first baseman of the future for the Giants and that leaves Duvall the odd man out.

If the Giants could work out this deal with the Mets, Murphy would be a more than welcomed addition to the San Francisco clubhouse. 

 

Add Jason Hammel

While Jason Hammel is no David Price or Jeff Samardzija, he is still a very solid pitcher that would add some depth to a struggling starting rotation. 

Hammel has a 7-5 record on the year with a 2.98 ERA and a 4.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a mark that ranks sixth in the National League.

The Giants would love to add Price or Samardzija, but they also would not like to trade away their top pitching prospects such as Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton and Edwin Escobar. The Rays and Cubs will have huge asking prices for Price and Samardzija, which is why a deal for Hammel seems much more appealing.

Making just $6 million in 2014, Hammel seems like a low risk, high reward pickup for the Giants. 

Who should the Giants give up to get Hammel? Michael Kickham.

Kickham was a 6th round pick for the Giants in 2010 and has been unimpressive in his three major league starts, going 0-3 with a 10.16 ERA.

In Triple-A Fresno this year, Kickham is doing well with a 6-5 record and 3.46 ERA. Even though he is having a good year, the Giants can afford to part ways with him due to their plethora of strong pitching prospects.

 

Trade for Ben Zobrist

The Giants have some holes to fill in the outfield and at second base, which makes Ben Zobrist the perfect solution.

Zobrist can play anywhere in the field except for pitcher and catcher and hit anywhere in the order.

Zobrist is hitting just .250 this year, but that’s mostly be due to the lack of protection in a poor Rays’ offense. Place him in the Giants’ lineup, and he would improve.

The Rays love Zobrist due to his enormous versatility, so they might have a big asking price for him as the trade deadline approaches. 

Tampa Bay has been successful in the past due to its pitching staff. If they want Michael Kickham and reliever Dan Runzler, this could be a good trade for the Giants. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Deal Of The Day: 92% Off On The Complete iOS 8 + Swift Developers Course (Pre-Order)

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We like to feature a good number of iOS coding courses, and now that iOS 8 is on the horizon, it stands to reason we’d do the same for that platform. You’re looking today at significant savings on a massive amount of courses specifically developed for iOS 8, which should have you developing full-featured applications in no time. The iOS 8 course comes with over 36 hours of videos, teaching you how Xcode 6 and Swift work and guiding you through the development of 14 different apps. As a bonus, you’ll also have access to the complete course for iOS 7. And what would normally cost $998 is going for $79 with this deal. That’s 92% savings.

[ 92% Off On The Complete iOS 8 + Swift Developers Course (Pre-Order) ]

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