Yankees reinstate Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela from injured list

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 9/15/20

The New York Yankees finally have some positive news as it pertains to injuries.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Bronx Bombers confirmed that the club has activated slugger Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Gio Urshela from the injured list.

In corresponding roster moves, infielder Mike Ford and utility man Miguel Andujar were optioned to the club’s alternate training site.

Stanton, 30, hasn’t played since Aug. 8 and has been dealing with a hamstring strain that was deemed likely to sideline him for up to a month. In 14 games, Stanton hit .293 with three home runs, seven RBI, three doubles and 11 strikeouts.

Urshela, meanwhile, went on the injured list on Sept. 4 due to a right elbow bone spur. The 28-year-old hit .272 with six home runs, 23 RBI, seven doubles and a .873 OPS in his first 31 games of the summer.

Right-handed pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga was also reinstated from the injured list.

New York began the day at 26-21 and in third place in the American League East standings, 0.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays and four games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. 

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Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez still trying to buy Mets?

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 9/8/20

Despite very long odds, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have not given up on their hope of purchasing the New York Mets.

Lopez told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that she was still prepared to buy the Mets and that she would be the one in control of the team. That’s a shift from the previous buying process, where Rodriguez was listed as the would-be control person on documentation. This would make Lopez the first Latina woman to take on such a role. It also has the benefit of ensuring that owners do not have to vote on the still-controversial Rodriguez as a possible owner.

“It ain’t over until it is over,” Lopez told Sherman. “We are New Yorkers and we are not going to give up. We feel we have the best bid for the sport, the team and the city.”

Rodriguez would be heavily involved in baseball operations despite not being the controlling owner. He said that under their ownership, the Mets would aim to “compete for a World Series championship every year.”

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Cardinals legend Lou Brock dies at 81

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 9/6/20

Baseball Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals legend Lou Brock has died at the age of 81.

The news was first reported by Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who added that Brock had battled multiple medical conditions in recent years. No specific cause of death was given.

The Cardinals acquired Brock in an initially unpopular trade in 1964. He went on to become one of the most feared baserunners in baseball history. He is the National League’s all-time stolen base leader with 938. Brock also led the NL in steals eight times. His finest season in that regard came in 1974, when he stole 118 bases in 153 games at the age of 35. That was a single-season record at the time, and he retired as baseball’s all-time leader in steals. That mark lasted until Rickey Henderson broke it in 1991, and Henderson remains the only player who has stolen more bases than Brock did.

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Alex Rodriguez angry with Mets’ sale process, believes it was ‘fixed’?

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors | By Connor Byrne | Last updated 9/3/20

It appears the Mets’ next owner will be Steve Cohen, who entered exclusive negotiations to purchase the franchise from Fred and Jeff Wilpon last Friday. Cohen became the favorite after beating out multiple big-money groups, including one headlined by former major leaguer/current television analyst Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. The Rodriguez-Lopez team was willing to offer $2.3 billion for the Mets before losing out to Cohen, according to Josh Kosman and Thornton McEnery of the New York Post.

Now, after falling short, A-Rod is crying foul on the process, as he believes bidding was “rigged” in Cohen’s favor, Kosman and McEnery report. Mets banker Steve Greenberg asked Rodriguez what his group was willing to pay before final bids were due, per Kosman and McEnery, who write that the 14-time All-Star “reluctantly” gave Greenberg the information. Cohen then offered $2.35 billion for the franchise, which will apparently end up as the winning bid.

“They took the bids and showed them to Cohen,” a source close to Rodriguez told the New York Post. Another source said the sale “was fixed” because Rodriguez & Co. did not get a chance to match Cohen’s offer. Rodriguez has tried contacting Fred Wilpon since last Friday but to no avail, Kosman and McEnery report.

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MLB Draft to be held during All-Star week in 2021

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors | By Steve Adams | Last updated 9/2/20

The 2021 MLB Draft will be pushed from June to July 11-13 and take place in conjunction with next year’s All-Star festivities in Atlanta, reports ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel. The length of next year’s draft still is not set in stone, but it will be longer than this year’s heavily truncated five-round event. The March agreement between the league and the MLBPA which called for the five-round draft also stipulated that the 2021 draft be at least 20 rounds, per McDaniel. The same deferral of bonus payouts — $100K up front, followed by 50% of the remainder in each of the two subsequent years — will remain in place. Undrafted players will again be limited to a maximum $20K signing bonus.

The move to All-Star week gives MLB considerable marketing opportunities for the event, placing it at a time when much of the national spotlight will already be on Major League Baseball. The NBA and NHL aren’t currently scheduled to be in season at that time, and the delayed Summer Olympics aren’t set to begin until July 23. Also, because the draft will be distanced from the end of the college and high school seasons, more of the event’s top names should be able to attend in person.

Carlos Collazo and J.J. Cooper of Baseball America point out that Major League clubs have long sought a pre-draft medical combine to gather more information on players in order to avoid scenarios that can play out when a draftee’s physical exam reveals medical red flags that prompt the team to alter its offer. Such instances — recall the ugly scene in 2014 when the Astros took issue with No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken’s elbow — can be more public-facing than all involved parties would prefer and can have substantial trickle-down effects in a draft class. With the draft taking place weeks after the conclusion of the amateur season, however, some sort of medical combine seems much more feasible. Other promotional and scouting opportunities, such as tournaments or showcases involving the draft’s top names, could potentially be scheduled leading up the event as well.

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Indians trade SP Mike Clevinger, OF Greg Allen to Padres for six-player package

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors | By Steve Adams | Last updated 8/31/20

Four trades in 48 hours weren’t enough for Padres general manager A.J. Preller. The Padres announced Monday the acquisition of right-hander Mike Clevinger, outfielder Greg Allen and a player to be named later from the Indians in exchange for a six-player package of outfielder/first baseman Josh Naylor, catcher Austin Hedges, right-hander Cal Quantrill, minor league shortstop Gabriel Arias, minor league left-hands Joey Cantillo and minor league infielder Owen Miller.

When summer camp was booting back up, a trade sending Clevinger out of Cleveland at a time when the Indians sat atop the AL Central standings would’ve seemed far-fetched. The club already dealt away Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber in the past 12 months, setting Clevinger up as a front-of-the-rotation workhorse.

Much has changed since that time, however. Clevinger drew ire from organizational higher-ups not only for breaking COVID-19 protocols, but then taking a flight with the team rather than being forthcoming about his actions. That led to Clevinger being optioned to team’s alternate training site alongside Zach Plesac, who also violated protocols but was found to have done so before traveling with the club. Reports after the pair was optioned indicated that some teammates were so furious with the pair that they threatened to opt out of the season if Clevinger and Plesac were permitted to rejoin the club right away.

All the while, the Indians were receiving better-than-expected performances from other arms. Shane Bieber already established himself as an above-average starter, but he’s ascended to bona fide Cy Young and MVP-caliber performance in the first month of play. Righty Aaron Civale has become the latest Cleveland pitching prospect to rise from obscurity to what looks like a high-end arm (3.72 ERA, 3.07 FIP in 46 innings). Carlos Carrasco is rounding back into form after last year’s frightening battle with leukemia. Triston McKenzie punched out 10 hitters in an electric MLB debut. And the aforementioned Plesac turned heads himself prior to being optioned (1.29 ERA, 24-to-2 K/BB ratio in 21 innings).

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Brewers, Reds choose to not play amid NBA postponements

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 8/26/20

On the same day that three NBA games were postponed in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds decided to also take the night off. 

Per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, the Brewers and Reds were unified against playing the night game scheduled to occur at Miller Park. Neither team will forfeit. No makeup plan was immediately announced. 

The Bucks were the first professional sports franchise to go on strike on Wednesday afternoon to protest after Blake, a Black man, was shot at least seven times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. Blake survived but is reportedly paralyzed

After the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets also elected to not play, the NBA called off the nightcap between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. The NBA expects to reschedule those games. 

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Lucas Giolito tosses 19th no-hitter in White Sox history

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 8/25/20

Lucas Giolito made history on Tuesday night, throwing a no-hitter in the Chicago White Sox’s 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 26-year-old right-hander was nearly perfect. He walked Erik Gonzalez on four pitches in the fourth inning but retired every other batter he faced. Gonzalez nearly spoiled the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning by hitting a scorching line drive to right field. Luckily Adam Engel was able to make the catch.

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Report: Cleveland Indians open to trading star Mike Clevinger

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Johnson | Last updated 8/24/20

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger went from being a linchpin in their rotation to banned from the team for breaking COVID-19 protocols. With the MLB trade deadline just a week away, the star pitcher could now be on the trade block.

Clevinger, along with teammate Zach Plesac, was sent down to the alternate site by Cleveland on Aug. 14 for violating MLB’s strict guidelines for player safety. The move came after their teammates demanded discipline and it might have been the final straw for Clevinger’s time with the Indians.

While the Indians are in the thick of the playoff race, with a legitimate shot at contending for an AL pennant, things could get interesting at the trade deadline. An organization that has always preferred operating with a low payroll, could be considering a big move before Aug. 31.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, rival MLB executives indicate the Indians are open to trading Clevinger before the trade deadline. The team would also likely receive calls on Plesac, but his team-friendly deal makes it far likelier he stays.

Clevinger was owed $4.1 million this season before MLB moved to prorated salaries and will receive a raise in each of his next two years under arbitration. Given Cleveland’s desire to limit spending, most notably by avoiding a long-term extension with star Francisco Lindor, moving Clevinger makes sense.

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Astros close alternate training site due to positive COVID-19 test

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors | By Mark Polishuk | Last updated 8/22/20

The Astros’ alternate training site in Corpus Christi was recently shut down due to a positive COVID-19 test, GM James Click told reporters (including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart and the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome).  “As the result of a single positive test, we have shut down the facility out of an abundance of caution while we go through the Major League Baseball-managed contact tracing and testing protocols,” Astros GM James Click said.

For now, the issue seems restricted to that lone positive result. Contact tracing efforts didn’t reveal any link between the person who tested positive and anyone on either the Astros’ active roster or traveling party, so “based on the protocols, the big league team is currently unaffected,” Click said.

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