Giants Fans Start Kickstarter Campaign to Build Bronze Barry Bonds Statue

A group of San Francisco Giants fans is doing everything it can to honor baseball's all-time home run leader with a statue.

Barry Bonds slugged 762 home runs in his 22-year career, with 15 of those seasons played with the Giants. For most of his career, Bonds was a perennial All-Star and Most Valuable Player award candidate. 

Unfortunately for him, he became one of the faces of baseball's steroid era, which has kept him from getting inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

If Bonds can't get into Cooperstown, some Giants fans want to make sure he is properly honored in San Francisco.

A collection of Giants fans created a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise money for a bronze Bonds statue. The group's goal is to raise $60,000 by Aug. 21 so that an eight-foot statue can be built to honor the controversial star. If the goal of $60,000 is met, any additional money raised would be used to try to make the statue even bigger.

The location for a potential statue has not been determined, although the group wants it placed near AT&T Park. If the statue does indeed get built, it will be unveiled on Opening Day 2015. 

This project leaves us wondering one thing: Does Bonds deserve a statue in San Francisco?

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Giants-Dodgers Preview: Q&A with ESPN Baseball Tonight’s Aaron Boone

The Giants face their NL West division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at home Friday. I spoke with Aaron Boone, 12-year MLB veteran and current analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight, to preview the important three-game series. 

 

Keely Flanagan: You had a memorable 2003 stint with the Yankees. How does the Dodgers-Giants rivalry compare to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry?

Aaron Boone: You know, especially now, I think it's comparable. At the peak of Red Sox-Yankees, and speaking on when I was there [on the Yankees] in 2003, and then when the Red Sox beat them in 2004, it was as big as anything in sports probably. I'm not sure people on the East Coast realize how big a deal Dodgers-Giants is. I think especially when you consider how potentially good those teams are, with recent playoff success, and the two teams now slugging it out in the National League West to win that division, it's a huge deal. 

 

KF: Why have the Giants been successful, winning two World Series championships in four years, while the Dodgers spend, spend, spend and have continually come up short?

AB: You know, I think it's important to separate the two regimes. The Dodgers are really in year two-and-a-half of the new regime. Last year, they went on a historic run to eventually run away with the National League West under this new setup they have where they've become the team that spends the most money, and where they've added whatever they've needed. It's a different situation. I think San Francisco has been one of the model organizations—you know, you think of St. Louis, you think of San Francisco—teams like that that just have a nice balance of homegrown people but also the financial wherewithal to bring in players from the free-agent market. The Giants have had tremendous stability with Brian Sabean as their general manager. He's one of the best in the game. You think about both of their title runs, both times they made really critical trade deadline moves. Sometimes it's been a big splash, sometimes it's been what's seemed like minor moves that ended up really contributing to world championships. 

 

KF: You mentioned making key trades at the right times for the Giants. Where is the biggest positional area of need for them right now and where can they look to fill these needs?

AB: It's going to be fun to watch Brian Sabean, because it seems each year he has a really great handle on what this team needs. It'll be interesting to see if he goes out to try and bolster the bullpen. And with Matt Cain down, this is a team that could use a starting pitcher. I think they'll be more inclined to go the starting pitching route, or even relief pitching for that matter. I would think they're one of the teams in the market to potentially upgrade some pitching. But you know Brian Sabean's out there too trying to upgrade in other areas. It might not be a huge move, but something that maybe strengthens his bench, or gives him some depth. With some of the injuries he's had at second base, and with Brandon Belt—it could be minor, or they could make a splash in the starting pitching rotation and get in on a guy like David Price should he become available. 

 

KF: The Giants have three important players injured right now: Angel Pagan, Matt Cain and Brandon Belt, out with a concussion. All three have had previous stints on the disabled list. Of the three, whose absence has made the biggest impact?

AB: That's tough. Pagan seems to be a stabilizer to the team, for me. Defensively in center field, what he brings to the top of the order—so I would say him. But that's hard to take away from anyone else.  Belt was off to a great start, and it looked like he was becoming the player everyone envisioned. And obviously missing Matt Cain is tough. I just think Angel Pagan brings something on both sides of the ball and adds stability at the top of the order and in center field. 

 

KF: What are the keys to this series for the Giants?

AB: They're going to have to pitch well. The Dodgers have [Zack] Greinke, [Clayton] Kershaw and [Hyun-Jin] Ryu. Even if you have a successful series against them, you have to assume one, two or even three of these games to be low-scoring. The Giants are going to have to pitch well. It could come down to that old cliche, who gets the big hit at the right time.

 

KF: The Dodgers altered their pitching rotation order at the All-Star break to make sure the Giants face Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Bruce Bochy and the Giants did not. Neither Tim Hudson or Madison Bumgarner will pitch against the Dodgers. How will this affect the series?

AB: If it works out for the Dodgers, I think it could turn out to be a really good move for them. Right now, the Dodgers are looking up at San Francisco in the standings. But with Bochy, and Cain being down, and Yusmeiro [Petit] moving into the rotation, Bochy's been more one-game-at-a-time in getting his rotation together. And I think especially with [Tim] Lincecum throwing the ball much better, Bochy is trying to keep things as normal for his rotation as possible.  

With the Dodgers, you know Kershaw and Greinke are the two aces. Not that the other three guys aren't good pitchers, obviously they are, but with Kershaw and Greinke you absolutely have two bona fide aces.

With the Giants, you've got Bumgarner and Hudson, but you've also got Lincecum, whose track record is unbelievable. If he's throwing at the top of his game, he fits right in with those guys. [Ryan] Vogelsong, we've seen what he can do over the years. So it seems like there's a bigger spread between the Dodgers' one and two, and their three and four, than the Giants. 

 

KF: Who do you think is going to win the National League West?

AB: As far as the division, I still lean Dodgers. Because of their pitching, and because I don't think they've hit their stride at all. Offensively, i still feel like they're a team more so than any other team in Major League Baseball, that has the capability of going 25-5 in a stretch. We really haven't seen them click at all yet. In a lot of ways, they're a team of misfit toys. I also think these next several days, potentially, will tell us a lot. Who makes the move that changes the makeup of their team, or could alter this division race? 

 

Aaron Boone will appear on Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.  The series finale is on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball on July 27.

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Deal Of The Day: 38% On iZZi Slim, The 4 Lens-In-One Ultimate Photo Kit

redesign_izzi_mf

The slow death of the point-and-shoot in favour of the convenience of the cellphone camera means that a vibrant ecosystem of accessories always seems welcoming to yet another entrant. You’ve seen the detachable iPhone lenses that allow you to take macro, fisheye, macro and wide-angle shots, but you’ve likely not often seen them done in the way that iZZi Slim does it. This iPhone 5/5S case features a rotating wheel with lenses attached, which means you can quickly switch from one lens to another. This is convenient, because you don’t have to fish around your accessory bag while the shot you want to take vanishes. The lenses are a Fisheye lens, a 2x Telephoto Lens, a Macro Lens, and a Wide-Angle Lens. Normally costing $155, it’s $95 today.

[ 38% On iZZi Slim, The 4 Lens-In-One Ultimate Photo Kit ]

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Selfie Toaster: Eat Your Face

Selfie Toasters

Fancy spreading some jam on your mug and eating your face every day? Sounds a bit crazy but that’s what you’ll be doing if you get one of these custom toasters from the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corp. The Selfie Toaster is essentially that: a toaster that lets you toast an imprint of your face onto every slice of bread you pop into it.

All you have to do is upload your selfie and fork over 75 bucks. Vermont will then use Photoshop and a CNC plasma cutter to “transfer” your face from the photo onto a metal plate, which is then fitted into the toaster.

Selfie Toasters1

Selfie Toasters2

 

The result? Selfie toast. What will people think of next?

[ Product Page ] VIA [ LikeCool ]

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Diablo Night Light Shines Bright to You a Fright

Diablo Night Light

 

Most people get a night light so they can see better in the dark without blinding themselves with sudden brightness in the middle of the night. They do not get one to scare the crap out of themselves. However, that’s what this Diablo night light will most likely do to them if they come face-to-face with it while they’re on their way to the toilet.

Even fans will get the occasional scare when they wake up and forget that they chose the uber-cool but scary night light, especially in their sleepy state.

Think you can take it? The Diablo night light is available online for about $20.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ TIWIB ]

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1-Hour Photo App Makes You Wait For Your Selfies

1 Hour Photo

 

In this day and age, it’s all about instant gratification. From same-day delivery and courier service to instant messaging and email, you can now get what you want in as little time possible. Digital photography is another example. When people had to use film, pictures were shot few and far in between because film costs money, and it costs more money to get the roll developed. That’s in contrast to today, where people snap away whenever and wherever as their memory cards allow.

Changing the pace is the 1-Hour Photo app, which, as the name suggests, lets you view the photo that you’ve taken after one hour has passed. A black-and-white film emulation is applied to the photo, enhancing it and giving it that old-world feel. What the app aims to do, though, is keeping those moments special, without the distraction of reviewing photos as they’re being taken.

By the time people check out the shots, the moment will have been a memory, albeit one captured beautifully. You can download 1-Hour Photo on iTunes for free.

VIA [ Uncrate ]

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French Keys: Magnetic Tongue Key Holder

Tongue Key Holder

 

If you’re losing or misplacing your keys all the time, then you might consider getting the Magnetic Tongue Key Holder. It’s a unique key holder with a playful and eye-catching design, featuring none other than one of the most frequently used muscles of the human body: the tongue.

Just fasten it on the wall by the door or close to where you normally set down your things. The tongue has built-in magnets so you can just stick your key ring on it and go on your merry way. The tongue is molded from ABS plastic and can hold up to 15 keys. It retails for $12.90 online.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Holy Cool ]

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You’ve Got Time On Your Hands: Ritot Projection Watch

Ritot Projection Watch

Why sport a plain, old, boring analog watch when you get can something like the Ritot? Instead of reading the time on its face or having it displayed on a digital display, the Ritot projects the current time on the back of your hand. It’s kind of like what those people from that movie called In Time had, only it displayed the amount of time they had left to live rather than the current time of day.

With the Ritot, you also don’t have to worry about people getting into your personal space anymore when they’re asking you for the time. Simply stretch your hand out and let them check it for itself. Aside from the time, Ritot also gives you access to your text messages, called ID, Facebook feed, Twitter updates, and many others.

In short, it’s a smartwatch with the added projection feature. The Ritot is waterproof and sports a unisex design. It also boasts of battery life of 150 hours in projection mode or one month in standby. It’s currently up for funding on Indiegogo, where you can get one for $120.

[ Ritot ] VIA [ Gear Hungry ]

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Carlos Gomez Videobombs Mark Reynolds in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Costume

Carlos Gomez is getting some decent bang for his buck on the recent purchase of one adult-XL Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume.

Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Andrew Gruman reports that the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder bought the costume to surprise his four-year-old son Yandel.

Fortunately, Go-Go decided to break out his Leonardo gear a bit early and disrupt infielder Mark Reynolds’ Thursday appearance on Intentional Talk.

Hosts Chris Rose and Kevin Millar attempted to guess at the character behind the goofy green head, and with some help from Reynolds, they eventually pulled out the winning name.

At this point, Gomez proceeded to take off the headpiece and traumatize every kid who ever dared to believe in the magic of pizza-eating turtles.

The best part of the broadcast was the Ninja Turtles infographics the MLB Network had ready to roll.

It’s good to see producers on top of their Ninja Turtles facts and history. Anything less would’ve been sloppy and disappointing.

Gruman reports that Gomez planned to head home wearing the costume and surprise his son.

“That cartoon is my son’s favorite," Gomez told Gruman. “He’s crazy about it. I ordered [the costume] and I will go home tonight dressed like a Ninja Turtle. I ordered it online like 20 days ago. That thing came from China.”

Unfortunately, Gomez’s plot appears to have caught a snag. The outfielder said his wife showed Yandel a picture of him wearing the costume, and his son said he’d prefer to meet Donatello, the purple-masked Ninja turtle.

“He’ll have to wait another 20 days,” Gomez said.

Welp.

Apparently a dad-of-the-year-type move of wearing the costume of your kid’s heroes doesn’t cut it these days. Sit tight, Yandel. Donatello is on his way, but he has to take the slow boat from Shanghai.

 

Follow me on Twitter for more sports and pop culture news.

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New York Yankees Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with Latest Trade Chatter

Brian Cashman has been a busy man these past few weeks.

First, he acquired Brandon McCarthy in a low-risk deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-hander has been strong in the New York Yankees rotation, sporting a 1.45 ERA and 1.179 WHIP in three starts.

Chase Headley was the next outsider to join the Bombers and made his presence felt early. In his first game with the team, the third baseman hit a walk-off single against the Texas Rangers. He has three hits in 10 at-bats so far in his Yankees career.

In a lower-profile move, Cashman brought in left-hander Chris Capuano for cash considerations, per Matt Snyder of CBS Sports. Capuano began the year with the Boston Red Sox but found his way to the Colorado Rockies after ineffectiveness in Beantown. Now he'll look to solidify a spot on the Yankees staff for the stretch run.

What else does Cashman have up his sleeve? Probably something, as the Yankees have been involved in a multitude of trade rumors recently. We'll play Fact or Fiction with the latest trade talks below.

 

Checking in on John Danks

The facelifts to the rotation should continue during the next week, as the Yankees have been ravaged by injuries to their starters. The losses haven't been too apparent with the surprising seasons of Chase Whitley and Shane Greene, but a rotation headlined by Hiroki Kuroda likely won't make it deep into the playoffs.

The starting five currently looks like Kuroda, McCarthy, Whitley, Greene and David Phelps. To open the season, it was CC Sabathia, Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Oh, look how far we've come.

More help could be on the way, however. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the team has checked in on John Danks:

The Chicago White Sox lefty has been decent as a fifth starter this year. He owns a 4.35 ERA and 4.70 FIP but has given good length. With 124 innings pitched over 20 starts, he's reliable enough to give his team around six innings per start.

Danks was one of the better lefties in the American League from 2008 to 2010, winning 40 games and posting an ERA of 3.77 or lower in each year. He has won just 23 games since, though, so the Yankees would likely be buying low.

Danks is under contract through 2016. He is owed $14.25 million this season, and the rest of the deal should pay him about $34 million in total. This is something the Yankees can absorb, but only if the price doesn't include top prospects.

This is the type of move that Cashman should make. Danks isn't an impact guy, but he can give the bullpen a break by providing reliable innings. Plus, the lefties of the AL East will have another southpaw to reckon with if this deal goes down.

This deal could materialize quickly.

Verdict: Fact

 

The Return of Ian Kennedy?

Ian Kennedy and the Yankees parted ways following the 2009 season in the three-team deal that netted the Bombers Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers. Kennedy was sent to Arizona, where he won 21 games in his second season in the desert.

Despite inconsistencies, Kennedy has become a pretty reliable starter. He owns a 3.66 ERA, 3.11 FIP and 1.219 WHIP this season with the San Diego Padres. Those marks are probable reasons why he has become an attractive trade target for multiple teams—including the Yankees, per ESPN's Jim Bowden:

While it's undeniable that Kennedy is an upgrade for this rotation, he wasn't very successful in his tenure in the Bronx from 2007 to 2009. Throw in the steep price tag of Eric Jagielo and Ian Clarkin, and you can count me out.

Jagielo is one of the best bats in the Yankees' system. He's a third baseman with pop, evidenced by his 13 homers through 58 games this season. He's a left-handed bat who does most of his damage against righties, but he'll gain a better understanding of southpaws as he matures in the system.

Clarkin is a quality lefty arm down in Charleston. He's just 3-3 on the year, but his 3.36 ERA is encouraging. The fact that he has set down 68 batters in 61.2 innings is also a plus.

The price tag for Kennedy is just too high, which the Yankees fortunately recognize:

The Padres would need to be "overwhelmed" to deal Kennedy, reports Heyman, so there might not be a logical fit with the Yankees.

Verdict: Fiction

 

Yanks in on Soft-Tossing Southpaw

Another lefty on Cashman's radar is Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa, according to Bowden:

De La Rosa's line has gotten a boost given his hot July, but his overall numbers are strong. He is 11-6 over 116 innings with an ERA of 4.19 (4.32 FIP). The peripherals are also strong. According to FanGraphs, De La Rosa has a groundball rate of 53 percent and a home run-to-fly ball ratio of 11.5 percent.

The fact that he keeps the ball on the ground bodes well for him should he come to the Yankees. He's no stranger to playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark, as Coors Field certainly yields its fair share of big flies. Yankee Stadium isn't much different from a pitcher's standpoint.

I'm not so sure this is a deal that will materialize, however. The Rockies asked the Baltimore Orioles for top young arm Kevin Gausman in exchange for De La Rosa, though Baltimore quickly declined, reports Heyman.

That means the Rockies could ask for a top bat from the Yankees, or perhaps rising starter Luis Severino. Of course, Cashman should balk at those requests.

Like Kennedy, De La Rosa is a clear upgrade to this rotation. He even fits in the ballpark. That said, he definitely isn't worth a top prospect.

Verdict: Fiction

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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Astros Pitcher Dallas Keuchel Thanks Heckler with Message on Baseball

Professional athletes do their best to tune out hecklers, but sometimes it can be fun to respond. This season, MLB players have gotten back at the hecklers with creative messages on baseballs.

Earlier this season, we saw Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips toss a heckler a ball with a message on it. Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel must've taken notes.

With the Astros playing in Oakland this week, one heckler apparently did enough to warrant a response. Keuchel—who didn't even pitch in the game—gave the heckler a ball, thanking him for paying his salary.

Keuchel's interaction with the fan was perfect. The pitcher was able to have some fun with the heckler but didn't cross any lines while doing it. Now it just makes for a hilarious story.

[Twitter, h/t Next Impulse Sports]

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Indians’ Ryan Raburn’s Terrible Throw Leads to Little League Home Run for Royals

With runs at a premium in Thursday's game against the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians left fielder Ryan Raburn chose a bad time to have an embarrassing play.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Royals' Mike Moustakas hit a fly ball down the third-base line. Raburn hustled and nearly made a great sliding catch, but the ball bounced off his glove and into foul territory.

That wasn't the bad part.

As Moustakas cruised into second with a double, Raburn tried to fire the ball back into the infield. The only problem: His throw went straight into the ground and into left-center field, which allowed Moustakas to score a "Little League home run," making the score 1-0.

Fortunately for Raburn, the Indians rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning. Otherwise, considering Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber took a perfect game into the seventh inning, it would have been a tough way to lose. 

All the same, Kluber's gem—he allowed just the one unearned run on two hits with 10 strikeouts in nine inningsended up being wasted, as Kansas City pulled out a 2-1 victory in 14 innings.

[MLB.com]

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Boston Red Sox Trade Deadline: Preview and Predictions

With just six days remaining until the July 31 trade deadline, it’s finally become clear that the Boston Red Sox should focus more on 2015 and beyond than the immediate future.

It was tough to make such a definitive statement just a few days ago, when the Sox went to Toronto with a chance to make up real ground in the division and save their season. Unfortunately, the Sox dropped three of four to the Blue Jays and are now 9.5 games out of first place in the AL East.

Boston has shown resilience in recent weeks, and it has more talent on its roster than its 47-55 record indicates. But this still isn’t a playoff-bound team, and it’s best that the front office, media and fans alike recognize that moving forward.

With the Red Sox’s fate all but sealed, their mission at the trade deadline becomes simpler: bolster a squad that could compete next year and open up playing time for their bevy of young, talented players. That makes the Sox have some wheeling and dealing to do in the coming days, as they look to reshape their roster for August and beyond.


Trading Drew and Peavy, Too

If you're looking for the players perhaps most likely to be traded in the coming days, Stephen Drew and Jake Peavy should be on your short list. Both veterans are free agents after the season, both are blocking young players from seeing playing time, and both should still be attractive to contenders, despite their poor performances this year.

We've been hearing Peavy rumors for weeks now, with the St. Louis Cardinals cited as his most likely destination and the San Francisco Giants in the running as well. Recently, we learned from Peter Gammons of MLB Network that the Red Sox are scouting Cardinals prospects in case a deal can be reached.

Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants have interest in Peavy thanks in part to the most recent injury to Matt Cain. According to the report, Peavy is "a favorite" of Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Regardless of who makes a move for Peavy, he's the current member of the Sox most likely to change uniforms in the coming days. His performance can easily be replicated or surpassed by Brandon Workman, Allen Webster or Anthony Ranaudo, and Boston would be best served giving starts to one of its younger arms.

We haven't seen as many rumors when it comes to Drew, but he figures to be an attractive option for contenders who need help at shortstop or who want a middle infielder to platoon. The Detroit Tigers would seem to be a good fit, as would the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and even the Giants.

Moving Drew would allow the Red Sox to play Xander Bogaerts at shortstop everyday, opening up time at third base for Will Middlebrooks and Brock Holt. That makes dealing Drew worth it for Boston regardless of the return it receives.

 

Jettisoning Extra Parts

Peavy and Drew are the two players we're most likely to see moved in exchange for modest returns, but they're hardly the only players we can expect to see dealt. Indeed, the Red Sox would be wise to sell off more part-timers and veterans in the interest of giving younger players a chance to play.

Jonny Gomes tops the list of part-time players most likely to be sent off on or before July 31. The enigmatic left fielder mashes lefties and comes up with timely hits, and his hijinks were a big part of what made 2013 so much fun. When it comes to on-field production, though, Gomes is eminently replaceable, and his presence blocks other young outfielders from seeing the time they need.

If Gomes is dealt, Mookie Betts can receive more playing time once the Triple-A season is over, and the resurgent Daniel Nava and amazing Holt will likely see more time, too. It’s important for the Sox to assess what they have in those three players when they make decisions about their outfield for 2015.

According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, the Kansas City Royals have shown interest in trading for Gomes.

In addition to the burly outfielder, the Red Sox could also look to move Mike Carp and Jonathan Herrera, neither of whom are likely to bring much back in a deal but neither of whom have much of a future in Boston.

Carp had a tremendous year at the plate in 2013 and could be of interest for a team who wants a left-handed pinch-hitter, but such players don’t attract much on the trade market. The Sox don’t need to give Carp away, as he’s under contract through the 2016 season, but it’s tough to see how he fits in with the team moving forward.

Herrera has become redundant with the emergence of Holt and Deven Marrero but can serve well as a utility infielder elsewhere.


Big Decisions in the Bullpen

For all the bad that’s befallen the 2014 Red Sox, their bullpen has absolutely been a strength. Clunkers from the likes of Edward Mujica and Craig Breslow may stick out in your mind, but according to FanGraphs, Boston has the second-best bullpen WAR in the majors, trailing only the New York Yankees.

A huge part of that success, of course, can be attributed to Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller, who together form one of the most dominating setup-closer combos in the game today. Together, the two have combined for 2.7 fWAR, and they rank as the 12th-best and 14th-best relievers in the game, respectively.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, both Uehara and Miller are slated to hit free agency after the year is over. Re-signing both is certainly feasible, and it might be a good idea with the current payroll flexibility Boston has. That being said, long-term deals for relievers rarely end well, and the Sox may be hesitant to shell out big bucks for two relievers.

If that’s the case, it would make sense to commit to one reliever and trade the other. Uehara is slightly better and has more of a track record of success, but he’s 39 years old, has a history of arm issues and already can’t pitch back-to-back games.

Miller is just 29, but he is fairly new to being classified as a dominating reliever, and his command still escapes him on occasion.

Assuming the return for the two relievers would be fairly equal, it probably makes more sense to deal Uehara, given his age. Plus, trading him away doesn’t disqualify the Sox from trying to reacquire his services during the offseason.

But according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the Sox seem intent on holding on to Uehara for now:

Meanwhile, Gammons recently reported that the Red Sox are getting a ton of calls on Miller. Given the league-wide need for left-handed relievers, this should come as no surprise.

The guess here is that we’ll see one of Uehara or Miller dealt but not both. It’s also possible we could see the likes of Burke Badenhop or Felix Doubront traded too, though any transaction involving those two would be minor.

 

 

A Post-Deadline Lineup

If Drew, Peavy, Gomes, Carp, Herrera and one of Miller or Uehara is dealt in the coming days, where does that leave the Red Sox moving forward?

Here’s a look at what the 25-man roster could look like in the coming days (before rosters are expanded later in the season):  

C: Christian Vazquez
1B: Mike Napoli
2B: Dustin Pedroia
SS: Xander Bogaerts
3B: Brock Holt/Will Middlebrooks
LF: Daniel Nava/Holt
CF: Jackie Bradley Jr.
RF: Shane Victorino/Mookie Betts
DH: David Ortiz/Middlebrooks

BN: David Ross, Middlebrooks, Jonathan Herrera, Betts/Nava

SP: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman

RP: Koji Uehara or Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa, Felix Doubront, Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, two of Tommy Layne/Alex Wilson/Ryan Verdugo/Drake Britton/Dalier Hinojosa

This roster presents a nice balance in terms of letting the Red Sox play competitive baseball for the rest of 2014 while also letting the organization determine what it has for 2015 and beyond. Bogaerts, Betts and Bradley should be playing every day, and Holt, Vazquez and Middlebrooks should be playing at least five days a week.

Ortiz, Napoli and Victorino can be afforded extra time off as they recover from their various ailments, and Pedroia can be left near the top of the order as he attempts to right the ship.

In the rotation, both De La Rosa and Workman can prove themselves as the Sox consider stacking up their top five for next year. And in the bullpen...well, that’s a less impressive group, no doubt about it. But sub-.500 teams don’t need elite bullpens.

The Sox will miss the personalities of Gomes and Peavy, the steady defense of Drew and the effectiveness of Miller or Uehara. But they’ll still put a reasonable product on the field while gearing for the future.

And while it might not feel this way right now, that future is indeed still quite bright.

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2014 Trade Deadline: Predicting Where MLB’s Biggest Stars Will Land

The MLB trade deadline is approaching, and many teams are hoping to add a big-name player to help make a late-season playoff push. It can often be hard to sort out which whispers around the league are just rumors and which ones have some truth behind them.

What are the teams you think will land the biggest names on the block?

Find out as B/R's Lead National MLB Writer Scott Miller breaks down the best landing spots for MLB's biggest names.

 

All stats accurate as of July 24.

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Red Sox’s David Ortiz Becomes 53rd Player with 1,500 Career RBI

On Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz became the 53rd MLB player to attain 1,500 career RBI, per a tweet from ESPN Boston.

Ortiz hit a three-run homer over the right-field fence in the top of the first inning off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey, giving the 38-year-old DH 1,501 RBI for his career.

Speaking Sunday, Ortiz proclaimed he was, "about to get hotter than Jamaica in August," and he apparently meant it. The home run was his 24th on the season and fourth over the span of three games. He knocked in eight RBI in those three games from Monday to Wednesday and is now up to 72 this season, ranking fifth in the majors.

Ortiz has 397 home runs as a member of the Red Sox, which puts him in third place on the franchise list behind Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski (452) and Ted Williams (521).

Having also hit 58 homers while playing for the Minnesota Twins from 1997 to 2002, Ortiz's 455 career home runs are tied for 35th place on MLB's all-time list alongside Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn, who is also still active and working his way toward 500 career long balls.

As for RBI, New York Yankees Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle (1,509) is right above Ortiz on the all-time list, right below Carlos Delgado (1,512) in 51st place. By the end of the season, Ortiz should be in the top 50 on the RBI list, as he only needs to best the 1,518 compiled by former second baseman Jeff Kent.

However, the slugging Dominican may need to wait a few days to pad his total after dealing with mid-back spasms during a hitless performance Thursday against the Jays, per The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.

Stats courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

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The Best-Case Scenarios for Every MLB Team at the Trade Deadline

The 2014 MLB trade deadline is now just a week away, and while it has already been a busy trade season, there will likely still be more than few deals that go down between now and July 31.

The biggest question on the market is whether the Tampa Bay Rays will decide to sell David Price, or if their recent run of success is enough for them to hold on to their ace and try to make a run at the playoffs.

Beyond the status of Price, the Philadelphia Phillies' position as potentially aggressive sellers is a story to follow, as is the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals' pursuit of a power bat in a market that is incredibly thin on them.

That said, every team has something to do here at the deadline, whether it is a seller trying to unload some impending free agents or a contender looking to add one final piece to the bench or bullpen.

Things rarely go according to plan in July, but here is a look at each team's best-case scenario between now and the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Begin Slideshow

What the New York Mets Should Do for 2014 MLB Trade Deadline

The 2014 MLB trade deadline is closing in. Some teams are putting together rosters to propel them into the postseason, while others are selling talent to stock up on prospects. 

The New York Mets are known to have thin pockets. Will they stick to their frugal ways and hope a farm system stocked with young arms will send them in the right direction next season? Or will they attempt to bring in some big names?

Find out as Mike Puma of the New York Post breaks down the latest news as the trade deadline approaches.

 

All stats accurate as of July 24

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The 1 Trade Deadline Deal the Cincinnati Reds Have to Make

Are the Cincinnati Reds really a playoff team? What if they were totally healthy?

These are the two biggest questions the front office will face heading into the July 31 trade deadline.

At this point, all indications are that the Reds will be buyers at the deadline. According to multiple sources, including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury and ESPN.com's Jim Bowden, the Reds have at least checked in on a number of players, including Marlon Byrd, Antonio Bastardo and Ben Zobrist.

 

Are the Reds Pretenders?

What if the Reds aren't really buyers, though? 

The club's offense has been impotent for most of the 2014 season, having been shut out 10 times—second most in the NL Central—while averaging 3.85 runs per game, good for 11th in the National League and fourth in the division.

The Reds' offense has been inconsistent, and at times, downright bad. One might point to injuries as a source of the team's struggles. However, even when the club's offense was healthy and they were all on the field together—as they were from June 10 through July 5—the Reds' offensive output was inconsistent.

The club averaged over five runs per game in that time, but that figure is aided largely by three games in which the Reds scored 13, 11 and 11 runs.

So, maybe the Reds can add a bat to help stabilize the offense, and stave off a major fall in the standings until they get healthy again. Zobrist, Byrd and Alex Rios all fit well in relation to the Reds' needs.

But, can any of them truly put them over the hump while Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are hurt, and a key offensive producer, Jay Bruce, is batting just .222/.304/.394 on the season?

My answer is no.

 

Who to move?

If that's truly the case, then the Reds should look to move one of their extra pitchers in an attempt to retool and make a run at a 2015 World Series title.

Of the Reds' six starters—the current starting staff, as well as Tony Cingrani—the most likely trade candidates are Johnny Cueto, Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos.

Cingrani's health status makes him impossibile to move. The contract status of Homer Bailey and the potential cost of keeping Mike Leake beyond 2015 make for two other pitchers who are unlikely to be moved.

The biggest return package would undoubtedly come in exchange for Cueto. The 28-year-old is in the midst of the best season of his career, and he is fresh off his first All-Star Game appearance.

Cueto has also put his prior injury concerns in the rear-view mirror, having logged 21 starts without missing a single one. Any package for Cueto would surely involve two elite prospects.

Trading Latos would bring back a similar package. Though Latos spent extensive time on the disabled list and has made just seven starts so far this year, the 26-year-old has been highly efficient.

The big right-hander has a 3.15 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP to go along with season averages of 5.1 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 3.71 K/BB and 6.3 H/9.

One issue in Latos' game that nobody seems to talk about, though, is the drop in velocity his arsenal has experienced since 2010. The chart below details the decreases across the board in his pitch velocity.

There were minor ups and downs between the 2010 and 2013 seasons, but since Latos returned from his early-season spell on the disabled list, the velocity just hasn't been there. The dip in velocity could be the result of his dealing with some prolonged injury effects, or it could be a sign of something worse.

Given the meteoric rise his stock has taken this season, Alfredo Simon is another trade candidate should the Reds look to sell off a pitcher. The 33-year-old has allowed just a 2.74 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP through 121.2 innings pitched.

Though his 4.36 FIP suggests he's in for a bit of regression, the Reds could choose to extend Simon at the end of the season, regardless of whether or not they plan to use him as a starter or reliever in 2015.

Cueto is a true ace, and a building block for the Reds. The club gave a lot of money to Bailey last offseason, and given the fact that the move hasn't panned out the way the front office would have liked it to, re-signing one of Latos or Cueto is a near-must.

Simon would be the least costly of the three, and presents the club with a versatile pitcher capable of working out of the rotation or the bullpen.

 

Mat Latos or Johnny Cueto?

So, should the Reds trade Latos or Cueto?

Latos is certainly worth a prospect haul only slightly less valuable than the one that would come in exchange for Cueto, and the extra year of club control in 2015 is a nice perk for an interested party. However, his injury-riddled 2014 season and his depleted velocity have certainly put a dent in the Florida native's trade stock. Moving Latos looks like a sell-low option, and a bad idea.

Assuming Simon moves back to the bullpen next year, the Reds will have three starters due for contract extensions following the 2015 season—Latos, Cueto and Leake. If they choose to keep Simon in the rotation instead, then you can add him to the mix as well.

Leake and Simon will be the easiest and least expensive of the four, so pencil them in for extensions.

Of the two remaining options, Cueto is the one with the most value.

When healthy—which he has been, aside from an unfortunate 2013 season—Cueto has proven to be the better pitcher, and is a piece the Reds can really build their pitching staff around.

However, keeping Cueto is likely going to cost the Reds north of $20 million per year, and with Votto and Phillips already commanding a large chunk of the club's available payroll, Cueto could be moved for a king's ransom.

 

Possible Destinations

There figure to be a number of contending teams in search of rotational help, including the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. The St. Louis Cardinals could also use another starting pitcher, and have been rumored to be interested in David Price, but the idea of the Reds trading Latos to a division rival seems far-fetched at best.

Of the four possible trade partners listed above, the Orioles would be in the best position to give the Reds what they want for Latos. The club has three Baseball America top-100 prospects, all of whom are pitchers.

The Blue Jays and Yankees are two other possible candidates.

The Yankees aren't a great fit. Aside from top-prospect Gary Sanchez, their farm system lacks the resources to acquire a pitcher like Cueto.

The Blue Jays have a few interesting pieces they could move, but given their recent promotion of top-prospect Aaron Sanchez, a deal to Toronto seems highly unlikely.

Cleveland presents another intriguing option, and their system includes players the Reds would certainly be interested in—most likely Danny Salazar and Francisco Lindor—but with Asdrubal Cabrera coming up on free agency, the idea of Lindor, one of the game's best shortstop prospects, being involved in any trade negotiations this season is unfathomable.

With Baltimore as the best fit for Cueto, let's move on and look at some of the players that could be included in a possible deal.

 

Assembling a Return Package

Dylan Bundy will be the first name on the Reds' list of players to inquire about, and will surely have to be included in any deal with the Orioles involving Cueto.

Bundy is a big-time power arm capable of running his fastball up into the high-90s. The pitch works as a plus offering, and his breaking ball, a sharp-breaking curveball, has plus potential as well.

Bundy's changeup is an above-average offering that should also become a plus pitch in the near future. By the 2015 season when he'll be fully healthy, Bundy could have three plus pitches and would be capable of anchoring a starting rotation.

Any of you who happen to be familiar with Bundy are probably skeptical about acquiring a pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, and rightfully so. However, Bundy has no prior injury concerns and possesses a durable 6'1", 195-pound frame. In addition to his sturdy build, Bundy's throwing motion requires little effort, leading one to believe that he should be fine after completing his rehab.

Of course, the Orioles could balk at this proposal. Bundy could be a major piece of the O's immediate, and long-term future, should they choose to keep him.

After Bundy, the next best target would be Hunter Harvey. Unlike Bundy, Harvey would take a little more time to reach the big league level. Like Bundy, though, Harvey possesses front-end potential.

The 19-year-old righty works with a low-mid-90s fastball, which figures to add a few ticks of velocity as he fills out his 6'4, 178-pound frame. Harvey also displays a potentially plus curveball and a changeup which should at least be an average offering at maturity.

With Bundy or Harvey as a starting point, the next item on the Reds' shopping list would be Jonathan Schoop. The Curacao native is a solidly built middle-infielder, standing in at 6'2", 212 pounds.

Schoop isn't very powerful, nor is he very fast, but he plays great defense and displays above-average plate vision and discipline. The 22-year-old has a quick bat with enough leverage to develop average power.

An adept fielder, Schoop has the ability to stick at shortstop with good functional speed, range and an above-average arm. At maturity, Schoop profiles as a player with above-average hitting who is capable of posting seasons with .275 to .285 batting averages and 10 to 15 home runs.

Schoop would fill a major need for the Reds right away, as shortstop has been arguably the team's biggest weakness since Zack Cozart took over in 2012.

The Reds would likely stand strong on the idea of Bundy being involved in the deal. Still, a package of Bundy and Schoop gives the Reds young, controllable talent, while Baltimore gets an immediate upgrade in the starting rotation for both the remainder of the 2014 season, as well as 2015.

The impact of losing Bundy would be softened immensely by the presence of Cueto. Schoop has functioned as the O's second baseman for most of the 2014 season, but his inconsistent offensive output could easily be replaced by Ryan Flaherty for the remainder of the season.

 

Final Trade Package

Reds Get: Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Schoop

Orioles Get: Johnny Cueto

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MLB Rumors: Rounding Up Latest Trade Buzz on Edwin Jackson, Drew Stubbs and More

Willing or unwilling, players have and will continue to be shipped around with the MLB trade deadline approaching.

Plenty of players have moved already, but some are trickier. Some franchises surely regret it now, but gifted players with no-trade clauses make dumping them on another front office all the more tiresome and costly.

It's an interesting tug of war, not just between players and their teams, but between organizations attempting to compete with each other on the market. Below, fans will find contenders trying to upgrade through creativity and pretenders hitting the panic button on a rebuild.

 

Ryan Howard Being Shown the Door

Go ahead and file the hapless Philadelphia Phillies under the pretender column, and understand that the front office is going to hit a desperation mode with slugger Ryan Howard sooner rather than later.

The slumping Howard has been an obvious trade candidate for most of the season, as he continues to be simply mediocre at the plate and not nearly worth the five-year, $125 million extension the franchise bestowed upon him just two years ago:

As CBS Sports' Jon Heyman points out, the front office might be willing to bite a large chunk of the bullet in order to get rid of the 34-year-old slugger:

Howard...has $70 million to go through 2016, so any acquiring team would only be expected to pay a small portion of the overall deal, which includes a $10-million buyout for 2017. While he has 15 home runs and 60 RBI, everyone understands he is badly underperforming, including him.

He has an extensive no-trade provision which covers 20 teams, but with the Phillies making clear that they'd prefer he'd be gone, he'd seem to have incentive to accept a trade, if they could find one.

This comes on the heels of Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reporting that the organization has pondered simply releasing him outright.

With Howard getting benched as of late and names such as Darin Ruf in the pipeline, the writing is on the wall in regards to his tenure with Philadelphia—one that has stretched back for about a decade. His no-trade clause is impressive but essentially irrelevant at this point.

 

Edwin Jackson Enters the Fray

The Chicago Cubs are in a pretty similar situation, although their issue comes on the mound in the form of 30-year-old Edwin Jackson.

Jackson is due in the neighborhood of $26 million through 2016, as per Spotrac.

In reality, that's not a horrible number—except Jackson has a 5.61 ERA in 20 games to go with just 100 strikeouts and 49 free passes. He hasn't done much to help himself with the deadline upcoming either, as he allowed two more earned runs early Thursday night, as illustrated by ESPN Stats & Info:

That was just early in the proceedings, though, as in total, he allowed five runs on seven hits through 87 pitches about halfway through the sixth inning.

Clearly, the Cubs would not mind unloading Jackson, and Heyman writes that they "are trying to trade" him but also notes that the New York Yankees "don't seem interested."

It's a bad sign if the injury-riddled Yankees, still firmly in contention in the AL East, are not interested in bringing on a starting pitcher.

“You’ve seen crazier things happen,” said Jackson, concerning his chances of being traded, as per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Anybody can be a candidate to be traded.”

Perhaps Jackson simply needs a change of scenery. Fine, but the Cubs don't seem to be willing to wait around and might just eat a ton of cash in the process in order to clear future funds.

 

Drew Stubbs Might, Too

It might be a major error to label Drew Stubbs as a "breakout" player, but the Colorado Rockies may be wise to keep furthering the notion until they can sell high.

Stubbs is great defensively and can steal loads of bases, but his career year comes at Coors Field, a venue notorious for being friendly toward hitters. As the numbers show, Stubbs is a major benefactor of the change in scenery: 

As Thomas Harding of MLB.com parlays off a note from Fox Sports' Jon Morosi, Seattle is a team that might be able to convince the brass in Colorado to sell:

It's hard to know if the Mariners can get Stubbs for cheaper than other right-handers, such as Marlon Byrd, but it's worth a shot, as their quest for more righties in the lineup continues.

As an added bonus, Stubbs is better than most names Seattle has to throw in the outfield, although how he would hit away from Coors Field has to create some doubt. While great in a platoon, one has to wonder if any team is willing to take the dive or if the Rockies are even interested in selling.

 

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3 Bold Predictions for the Boston Red Sox at the 2014 Trade Deadline

The Boston Red Sox's 2014 season is not going as planned.

World Series winners in 2013, they brought back the majority of their roster in hopes of making another postseason run.  However, Boston currently sits in last place in the AL East at 47-55.  The July 31 MLB trade deadline is now less than a week away.  

Will the Red Sox deal for a star or two and try to make one final playoff push?  Or might they go the opposite route and shed players for prospects with the intention of building for the future?  

Here are three bold predictions as to what lies ahead for Boston at the trade deadline.

 

The Red Sox Won't Be Buyers...Or Sellers

When a team is eight games under .500 with just 60 left to play, dealing away prospects in an attempt to win now is probably a bad idea.  At this point nobody expects Boston to be a "buyer" in the traditional sense.  

But the argument for being a "seller" doesn't really apply to the Red Sox either.

Boston is not a team in need of a major rebuild—there's no reason to believe it can't be back atop the division next season.  The pitching staff has the second-most quality starts in the American League (59), and the offense is only one year removed from leading the majors in runs scored.  Not to mention the fact that just two seasons ago the Red Sox finished 69-93 but were still able to bounce back and win a championship the following year.

This does not mean Boston won't make trades, though.  After the Red Sox lost 8-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston wrote the following:

[Jake] Peavy almost certainly will be dealt, with one source insisting that the San Francisco Giants are in the forefront of potential suitors. The Kansas City Royals are considering Jonny Gomes to satisfy their need for a right-handed outfield bat. [Red Sox manager John] Farrell noted Thursday that while Will Middlebrooks is making obvious progress in [Triple-A] Pawtucket, he won't be back until the Sox make some roster adjustments, which could involve moving shortstop Stephen Drew

Does trading away Peavy, Gomes and Drew constitute "selling" if Boston is likely to play just as well without them?  Peavy has only one victory in 20 starts this season.  Gomes is fifth on the outfield depth chart behind Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt.  And Drew is batting just .170 in 34 games since being re-signed.

The Red Sox may deal several players currently on the roster, but they can also do so without hurting whatever slim playoff chances they might still have. 

 

A Trade Will Bring a Future Star to Boston...But He's Already in Pawtucket

With many of the Red Sox's potential trade candidates being average to below-average players, chances are Boston won't get a great deal of value in return.  However, there is a distinct possibility that big league roster spots may become available for some of the organization's top young talent in Triple-A.

The departure of Gomes would most likely lead to a second call-up for Mookie Betts, perhaps for good this time.  Boston's No. 1 overall prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, has a .312 batting average and a .400 on-base percentage in Pawtucket this season.

Should Peavy be dealt, Brandon Workman (who's already made eight starts for the Red Sox in 2014) is the presumed choice to take his place in the rotation.  According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, Felix Doubront is another option to be shipped out of town.  Doubront lost his starting spot in June and has an 8.44 ERA out of the bullpen in July.  If both Peavy and Doubront are traded, it could pave the way for the major league debut of Anthony Ranaudo.

Ranuado has been nothing short of spectacular for the Paw Sox this season.  The 6'7" 24-year-old is 11-4 with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.  He's also held opposing hitters to a minuscule .208 batting average.  Via Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, Ranuado recently said:

But at the end of the day it's all about performance and taking the ball every fifth day and going out there and trying to go as deep as you can with your team and get the team in a position to win. I think that's what I'm trying to do right now and I think I'm in a pretty good routine.

Hopefully I can keep this going, stay healthy, stay on the field and if an opportunity arises on the major league level, that would be great.

Both Betts and Ranaudo could give Red Sox fans a glimpse of their bright future in August and September.

 

Boston Will Fix Its Offensively Challenged Outfield...By Doing Nothing

The Red Sox began the year with five outfielders: Victorino, Gomes, Nava, Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore (who's since been cut).  Seventy games into the season, those five players were batting a combined .219 (161-for-734).  Boston's outfield earned itself a reputation for being unable to hit, and rightfully so.

Things have changed.  

Holt made his first career start in the outfield earlier this year, and he has a .317 batting averaging while playing left field, center field and right field.

Nava was sent down to Pawtucket after struggling mightily in April.  Since being recalled in late May he's batting .314 with a .391 OBP.  Nava's return coincided with an extended stint on the DL for Victorino.  Now Victorino is healthy again, and he's 8-for-19 (.421) in his last five games back in the Red Sox lineup.

Bradley Jr. is hitting just .229 for the season, but that's markedly better than the .202 number he posted through June 18.  Over Boston's last 29 contests the rookie is batting .298.

Boston's outfield was a major concern for much of the season, but the recent play of Holt, Nava, Victorino and Bradley Jr. suggests that it's no longer an area in which Boston should look to upgrade.

Writes Cafardo: "The trick now is to ride this out. The Red Sox are both developing young talent at the major league level and also trying to win."  It's a fairly accurate summary of Boston's 2014 trade deadline situation.

 

Statistics courtesy of RedSox.com

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