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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Ryan Howard, Dillon Gee and More

Major League Baseball may be in the midst of its offseason, but that hasnt stopped the rumor mill from churning out hot rumors about some of the biggest stars in the sport.

With Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, New York Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee and others reportedly on the market, the scuttlebutt has baseball fans excited about the changes that could occur this offseason.

Here are the latest trade rumors from around MLB.


Ryan Howard Accommodating Philadelphia’s Desire to Trade Him?

Howard is one of the highest-paid players in the league, earning $25 million in each of the next two seasons, but the team is looking to trade the veteran slugger while he still has value.

At 35 years old and after 11 years with the same team, even Howard may be ready for a change of scenery.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Howard has altered the list of teams he will accept a trade to in order to make a deal happen this offseason:

Howard, according to major-league sources, even revised his nine-team no-trade list at the end of the season to help facilitate a trade, choosing mostly teams that were either set at first base/DH, unlikely to add payroll or focused on other needs.

Considering the good faith that Howard showed in crafting his list, he probably would approve a deal to even to one of his restricted clubs. The Mariners, who began the season needing right-handed hitting, are one such team. The rest of the list, according to, consists of the Tigers, Royals, Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Rays, Orioles and Red Sox.

Howard is a double-edged sword for prospective teams. There is no questioning his power at the plate, as he has slugged 334 career home runs, but he is a strikeout machine. In his time with Philadelphia, he has amassed an incredible 1,591 strikeouts.

While his declining numbers should be a concern for any club thinking about making the move for Howard, he is as healthy as he has been since 2011. With a full offseason to get in optimal shape, he could be a force in the American League as a designated hitter.

The Phillies will inevitably have to contribute money to get a deal done, but any team looking for a designated hitter should be kicking the tires on a slugger with the track record of Howard.


New York Mets Actively Shopping Dillon Gee?

Gee has been a bright spot for the franchise over the last four seasons, but he has been buried by the lack of success around him. Gee may finally find his way to a contender this offseason.

According to a report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets are actively shopping Gee:

While Gee isn’t the ace of a rotation, he could easily be a back-end starter who would find more success on a better team. In 22 starts last season, he was 7-8 overall but amassed 94 strikeouts and a 4.00 ERA in 137.1 innings pitched.

Gee’s familiarity with the National League should have several playoff-caliber teams looking to acquire a player who would be able to fill the role of fourth or fifth in the rotation throughout the season.

At 28 years old, Gee is a long-term solution available via the trade market. While he wouldn’t be the biggest trade acquisition of the year, the team that adds the depth and talent he brings would be instantly better. For a team on the cusp of contention, Gee could be a difference-maker.


Arizona Diamondbacks Looking for a Catcher?

After the Arizona Diamondbacks traded high-priced catcher Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs, the need for another player at the position became clear.

While freeing up salary space was a key to the deal, the need for another catcher is evident.

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, Arizona has been working hard to acquire a catcher via trade:

Morosi also reported that the Diamondbacks have inquired about the Toronto Blue Jays’ Dioner Navarro:

The trade market isn’t overwhelming for catchers, but the franchise must continue looking or risk starting the season with an unproven commodity behind the plate in Tuffy Gosewisch. The 31-year-old will be entering his third season in the majors and has a batting average of .213 over his first two years.

There is no doubt Arizona has the assets to get a deal done, but how much the franchise is willing to spend could limit the market for the Diamondbacks. In order to get a blockbuster deal done, Arizona will have to prove it’s willing to pay.


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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Chatter Surrounding Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and More

The MLB offseason has already been filled with blockbuster trades and huge free-agent signings, but the trade rumors that continue to circulate around the biggest names in the sport could signal more change to come.

With stars like first baseman Ryan Howard, starting pitcher Cole Hamels and outfielder Allen Craig all reportedly on the market, the landscape of baseball could drastically shift once again this offseason.

Here are the latest trade rumors surrounding the biggest names in baseball.


Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard started his career as one of the best sluggers in the league, but injuries over the last several years have resulted in lackluster play from the 35-year-old veteran.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Philadelphia is trying desperately to move the high-priced hitter:

The Phillies are trying to get teams interested in Howard, and a team source indicated they are willing to pay a great majority of his contract to move him. Howard, who hit 23 home runs and knocked in 95 runs last season, is owed $60 million between 2015 and ’17, which includes a buyout. The Phillies are trying to sell him as a DH. The Rays and Orioles could have needs in that area.

Howard’s first dip in production came during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but he was staying healthy enough to be a contributing factor during the regular season and into the playoffs. The veteran suffered a serious Achilles injury at the end of 2011 and hasn’t been the same since.

The player who hit 48 home runs during the 2008 season has hit a combined 48 home runs over the last three seasons. With the franchise owing him $60 million over the next three years, there is no doubt that the Phillies should be looking to trade Howard.

Philadelphia wouldn’t get a great return if a team bites on Howard, but the franchise would free up money for the rebuilding process.


Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies must begin the rebuilding process this offseason and trade away the majority of the veterans who still hold any real value.

One of the names garnering the most attention is starting pitcher Cole Hamels.

In the same report from Cafardo, Hamels is drawing serious interest from teams around the league, giving the Phillies a chance to restock the farm system if it turns into a bidding war:

The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are interested in Hamels. The sleeper team is the aggressive Astros. The Giants may be in if they can’t get James Shields. The feeling has been that if the Red Sox would pick up Hamels’s 2019 option at $20 million, he would waive his no-trade. The five years remaining on Hamels’s deal would be worth $110 million. Would he want an extension beyond that to OK a trade?

Unlike Howard, Hamels is still very dangerous as one of the top starting pitchers in the National League. The left-handed starter has been a staple of Philadelphia’s starting rotation since 2006 and a versatile player who has avoided major injury.

Add in the ability of Hamels to play well in the postseason over the course of his career, and there will be several teams willing to overpay for a player who can make a real difference.

The Phillies must make this deal now to get the most out of a possible trade.

With the time to negotiate details and maximize the return, dealing Hamels in the offseason would allow the franchise to enter the regular season without the impending trade hanging over Hamels’ head and affecting his work.


Allen Craig, RF, Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig became a star with the St. Louis Cardinals over the first four years of his career, but he suffered multiple foot injuries and has struggled over the last season before being traded midway through the year to the Boston Red Sox.

According to Richard Justice of, the Red Sox have listened to offers for Craig.

“Boston general manager Ben Cherington has listened on Craig, but he shown no strong willingness to trade him. Cherington may be reluctant to trade Craig at a time when his value probably is lower,” he wrote.

Craig played in 126 games with the Cardinals and Red Sox during the 2014 season, but only managed to hit a combined .215 batting average, eight home runs and 46 RBIs. His numbers are way down, but at 30 years old, he still has the potential to return to elite form with the proper recovery from his foot injuries.

What makes Craig such a commodity is his ability in the postseason. With the Cardinals, Craig was a major piece to the puzzle and one of the most reliable players in the lineup during St. Louis’ run as a perennial contender.

Any team looking for depth in the outfield and a reliable player at the back end of the lineup should consider giving the Red Sox a call about acquiring Craig for a lower asking price.


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2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot Revealed: Full List of Candidates and Reaction

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, is one of the most important Hall of Fame exhibits in all of sports, and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed the ballot featuring the 2015 nominees on Monday.    

According to the official website of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the following 34 names (17 first-year candidates and 17 returning candidates) have been nominated for induction in 2015:

The ballot’s first-year candidates are headlined by left-hander Randy Johnson, who pitched 22 seasons in MLB and totaled 4,875 career strikeouts, which ranks second all time. A 10-time All-Star, Johnson earned five Cy Young Awards and was the World Series MVP in 2001.

Keith Law of ESPN weighed in on the field and who he would send to Cooperstown:

There is no set number of inductees to the Hall of Fame each year, but last year featured three stars—Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas—for only the eighth time in the 70-year history of the process, according to the official website.  

The voting results will be announced Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. ET. With so many elite first-year eligible players on the ballot this year and several returning stars looking to make the Hall of Fame, this year’s class could be one of the biggest in history.

Barry Bonds shared his thoughts on the process and his belief in making the Hall of Fame, via Barry M. Bloom of

I love Major League Baseball. I always have and I loved playing the game. I don’t have any doubts that I’ll get there in time. I’m bothered about it, but I don’t sit here going, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ I don’t see how it stays the way it’s going. In my mind, in my head, I’m a lot more positive about it than I am negative. I think eventually they’ll do the right thing.

Last year, former Houston Astros infielder Craig Biggio was just two votes away from reaching the Hall of Fame, but there is a good chance he makes it this year after coming so close in 2014.

Despite the stacked 2015 class of candidates, only once in history have voters elected five entrants into the Hall of Fame (1936). Four men were elected to the Hall of Fame only twice in history (1947 and 1955), but this year’s class has the talent and depth to potentially buck those trends.


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Zach Duke to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran left-handed pitcher Zach Duke has bounced around the majors over the last several seasons, but he has reportedly signed a multi-year deal with the Chicago White Sox, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports:

MLB Roster Moves later confirmed the signing:

Duke, 31, started his career as a starting pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 but made the transition to the bullpen when he was traded to Arizona after the 2010 season. He floated from Washington to Cincinnati before making his way to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014.    

In a career-high 74 appearances (58.2 innings) last season, Duke amassed an impressive 74 strikeouts, 12 holds and an ERA of 2.45. The White Sox needed pitching depth in the seventh and eighth innings, and they’ve now added a player who specializes in those moments.

With the ability to shut down left-handed hitters (holding lefties to a .198 batting average, per, Duke will join fellow relievers Jake Petricka, Ronald Belisario and Zach Putnam as the team continues rebuilding the bullpen.

Chicago still needs a true closer to emerge from the current group. If the organization doesn’t believe Scott Downs or any other pitcher on the roster is the answer, filling the void on the free-agent market would be an option.

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Aramis Ramirez Opts In to Brewers Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez has accepted the mutual option on his contract and will remain with the franchise for the 2015 MLB season.     

The Brewers’ official Twitter account announced the news Monday:

According to Bill Baer of HardballTalk, the one-year option is worth $14 million.

Jon Heyman of broke down why it was a smart move for Ramirez:

Ramirez will be 37 years old in June and is coming off his worst offensive season since 2010. His .285 batting average, 66 RBI and 15 home runs would be considered solid output from an ordinary third baseman, but Ramirez has the talent to contribute more to the offense.

During his career, Ramirez has hit at least 25 home runs in 10 different seasons and has racked up 100 or more RBI seven times. There is no question that he has slowed as he has gotten older, but Milwaukee expects more offensive production from the veteran.

Prior to the announcement of Ramirez remaining with the team, principal owner Mark Attanasio spoke on the Brewers’ plans heading into free agency, courtesy of Adam McCalvy of

I wouldn’t say we’re quite at a crossroads, but we’re at [the point] where you can take a path in the woods, and you take one direction or the other. We do have a lot of talent, we have experienced players. We need to identify what’s missing.

With the Brewers locking up Ramirez early in the offseason, the franchise can now focus on filling other needs at the middle-infield positions and in the starting rotation.


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MLB Playoffs 2014: Day 3 Schedule, Updated AL and NL Series Predictions

The first two days of the American and National League Division Series have lived up to the expectations of the fans, but with Day 3 of the MLB playoffs schedule full of intense action, the anticipation continues to climb.

If you like elite pitching, Saturday’s action is right up your alley. With San Francisco’s Tim Hudson, Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, St. Louis’ Lance Lynn and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke all getting the start on Day 3, the on-field action should be intense.

Here is the full schedule for Day 3 with updated predictions for the series on tap for Saturday.


Breaking Down the Matchups

San Francisco at Washington

The San Francisco Giants took a thrilling Game 1 victory against the Washington Nationals, 3-2, on Friday. With the Nationals looking to get retribution, the team won’t have to wait long to get its hands on the Giants.

Game 2 in Washington should be just as thrilling as the opening game of the series.

San Francisco won’t go down without a fight, and the team will send veteran starting pitcher Hudson to the mound in this crucial Game 2. Hudson told Thomas Boswell of The Washington Post about what he feels it takes to make a deep run in the postseason:

Obviously they have a talented group over there. There’s no question. They have some great pitching. But come playoff time, talent can take you a long ways, but what do you have between your legs? That’s going to take you real far. And I think we’ve got a group in here that really has some of that.

The Giants are leading the series against Washington, and it is the Nationals that must show the intestinal fortitude on Saturday. The team must get to Hudson early and rattle his cage. With the starting pitcher off his game, the offensive production of players like Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper should be enough to earn a victory for the Nationals.

On the other hand, if Hudson pitches well and San Francisco continues to get production from the entire lineup, the Giants have the ability and experience to pull away from Washington and win Game 2 and the entire series.

Predicted Final Score: Washington 3, San Francisco 2


St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers

The most thrilling game of the 2014 MLB postseason was Game 1 between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. With L.A. holding a 6-2 lead heading in the seventh inning, St. Louis exploded for eight runs and won the game, 10-9.

The animosity was overflowing in Game 1, as both benches cleared following Adam Wainwright hitting Yasiel Puig with a pitch. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez spoke to Mark Saxon of after the game regarding the altercation:

I was just basically saying, ‘You guys keep doing this over and over. We’re not going to put up with that.’ They’re going to say it’s not on purpose, but come on. It’s Wainwright. He knows where the ball is going.

Even the Twitter account shared the animosity:

Now the focus turns to Game 2. With Lynn getting the start for the Cardinals and Greinke carrying the load for Los Angeles, offensive production may not be as easy to come by this time. While the pitching matchup on Saturday is tough, the battle between Clayton Kershaw and Wainwright to start the series resulted in a ton of offense as well.

St. Louis and L.A. are settled in for a long series. Now that the teams are familiar with each other’s postseason approach, Saturday’s game should feature more small ball. With two superior pitchers going at it, the score in Game 2 should be lower than the opening matchup.

Predicted Final Score: Los Angeles 5, St. Louis 4


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MLB Trade Deadline 2014: Rumors and Predictions for Top Names on the Block

The 2014 MLB nonwaiver trade deadline is Thursday, July 31, and the rumors surrounding the biggest names in baseball have fans trying to predict where the top players will land.

With stars like Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki, Boston’s Jon Lester and Minnesota’s Josh Willingham reportedly on the market, the landscape of the league could look very different by the time Aug. 1 arrives.

Here are the latest rumors and predictions as the trade deadline approaches.


Troy Tulowitzki

One of the best shortstops in baseball is Colorado Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki, and he has been at the center of trade talks for weeks leading up to the deadline. The rumors were further fueled by Tulowitzki’s appearance at a Yankees game in New York on Sunday, per Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.

According to Jon Heyman of, Tulowitzki’s trip to Yankee Stadium was not related to business, but the shortstop is intrigued by the possibility of playing in New York City:

It is unrelated to his day trip, but those close to the shortstop say they believe that if Tulo is to be traded from the Rockies — a team he loves in a city he loves — the Yankees happened to be one of only a handful of teams he’d be happy to join.

Friends of Tulowitzki say that while he hasn’t necessarily presented a list of pre-approved teams for trade, he does indeed love the history and winning tradition of the Yankees, that he’d love the idea of replacing his idol Derek Jeter, and that he’d happily look past the fact that his beloved No. 2 is taken (Jeter’s number will be retired with him after this year) to accept a trade to the Bronx.

The media has run with this story, but there is little doubt that this was strictly Tulowitzki attending the game to see his favorite player one last time. While being in the stadium and seeing the atmosphere from the fan’s perspective could have intrigued the shortstop about a possible deal, nothing is imminent.

If New York were to land Tulowitzki, it would likely be after Jeter retires this offseason.

Despite Tulowitzki’s outstanding numbers in 2014—he’s racked up a .340 batting average, 21 home runs, 52 RBI and a .432 on-base percentage thus far—he is currently on the disabled list with a thigh injury.

With Colorado not looking to deal the shortstop and few teams willing to overpay without seeing him perform on his injured leg first, any potential trade would likely have to wait until the offseason at the earliest.

Predicted Landing Spot: Colorado Rockies


Jon Lester

The Boston Red Sox understand that starting pitcher Jon Lester has the right to become a free agent at the conclusion of the season. If the organization doesn’t want to pay Lester the money he has earned, trading him away will yield a hefty return.

The trade won’t bring back a player of Lester’s talent, but it’s better than allowing the team’s top pitcher hit the open market and get nothing in return.

In a series of tweets from Ken Rosenthal of and Buster Olney of ESPN, it has become clear that Boston is doing whatever it can to move Lester before the trade deadline:

Why the Red Sox wouldn’t do whatever it took to re-sign the pitcher is beyond comprehension. Even at 30 years old, Lester is still one of the best pitchers in the league and has impressed with his 2.52 ERA, a 10-7 record and 149 strikeouts.

There are reportedly several teams interested, and that’s likely due to the fact that it isn’t often when a player of Lester’s caliber is put on the block. With little baggage attached to the player, any team in win-now mode will be kicking the tires over the coming days.

It is unclear if a team will be willing to pay what Boston is asking for what could be a rental player if he decides to test the open market this offseason, but his raw talent and consistency would make him a valuable piece to any starting rotation.

Predicted Landing Spot: Los Angeles Dodgers


Josh Willingham

The New York Yankees have serious issues with the pitching rotation, but the team is reportedly just as interested in adding another bat to the lineup as it is finding a starting pitcher on the trade block.

One of the players reportedly drawing the most interest from New York is Josh Willingham.

In a separate report from Heyman, he claims that the Yankees are interested in acquiring another offensive player, and Willingham fits the mold the team is looking for:

The Yankees, perhaps as concerned about their offensive issues as their rotation, are looking at outfielder Josh Willingham and some other bats.

The Yankees may actually prefer Willingham to Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios, perhaps partly because of Willingham’s reasonable $7 million salary and status as a free agent after the season, though Byrd and Rios haven’t been ruled out. Rios makes $12 million, with a $2 million buyout of a $14 million team option, and Byrd has an $8 million salary next year. Byrd’s deal does not seem overly high considering his solid production the past two years, but there may be some concern about his fit in the Bronx.

While it is clear that New York needs a consistent bat in the lineup, it makes little sense to add a player like Willingham. During the 2014 season, he has hit for an abysmal .219 batting average, 10 home runs, 29 RBI and a .361 on-base percentage.

Where is the consistency there?

Willingham’s numbers indicate that he would find more success in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, but there is a serious risk associated with a possible deal. New York would likely have to trade away a prospect to get the Twins outfielder, and if he doesn’t pan out, the team would be stuck with a 35-year-old player on the backside of his career.

Despite the holdups, the Yankees have the need and the willingness to trade for Willingham.

Predicted Landing Spot: New York Yankees


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MLB Trade Rumors: A.J. Burnett, Jon Lester, Matt Kemp and Latest Deadline Buzz

The 2014 MLB trade deadline is scheduled for Thursday, July 31, and as it is every season, the rumors have started to come fast and furious from all corners of the sport.

With huge names like A.J. Burnett, Jon Lester, Matt Kemp and Jonathan Papelbon potentially on the move, the landscape of baseball could shift if the rumored trades come to fruition before the deadline.

Here are the latest reports from around Major League Baseball.


Phillies and Pirates Hammering Out Deal for A.J. Burnett?

The Philadelphia Phillies currently hold a 46-60 regular-season record, meaning the team will mostly likely become aggressive sellers at the trade deadline. The franchise must start thinking about the future, and that could mean dealing starting pitcher A.J. Burnett.

Burnett was brought in as a free agent to add another reliable arm to the rotation, but his services would be much better utilized on a team contending for a postseason berth like the Pittsburgh Pirates.

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are working on a deal, but the details are still being hammered out:

Jon Heyman of also reported the Pirates’ interest in Burnett but revealed a snag that could hold up a potential trade:

The Phillies and A.J. Burnett wouldn’t mind working out a deal for him to go to Pittsburgh, but the Pirates’ interest, believed mild at best, might fall further if Burnett intends to pick up a player option for next year that’s likely to be worth $12.75 million.

The 2015 option is for $7.5 million at its minimum, but it will begin escalating if he reaches 24 starts this season (he has 21 so far). If he starts 32 games, the option would rise to $12.75 million, which would be a budget buster for Pittsburgh.

Giving up seven earned runs in his last start is not what a prospective team wants to see from a trade target, but Pittsburgh knows exactly what Burnett would bring to the team based the two seasons he spent there (2012-13).

Burnett’s 2014 hasn’t been his best, but he has served admirably on a struggling team. His positive attitude has helped anchor the rotation, and he has amassed a 4.15 ERA, a 6-10 record and 123 strikeouts thus far.

With the Pirates depending on Edinson Volquez and Vance Worley as the No. 4 and No. 5 starters, respectively, in their rotation, adding an insurance policy like Burnett would be a great deal if the two sides can come to an amicable agreement.


Jon Lester-for-Matt Kemp Deal on the Table?

One of the biggest names on the trade block this season has been Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester. According to reports, Lester could be the key piece in a trade for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

In a report from Gordon Edes of, Los Angeles and Boston may be laying the groundwork for a blockbuster trade before the deadline:

He has had debilitating ankle and shoulder injuries that have limited his play the last two seasons, is still owed roughly $118 million on a contract that runs through 2019, and has a mixed reputation as a clubhouse presence, but the Red Sox are considering making a move for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, according to a club source.

With the Sox in need of more offensive production in the outfield, the right-handed-hitting Kemp could be the major piece in a trade for Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, especially with the Dodgers reluctant to part with top outfield prospect Joc Pederson.

This would be one of the biggest trades of the year, and it would make a lot of sense for both parties involved. Boston would get a legitimate return in Kemp for Lester before he hits the open market as a free agent.

Los Angeles will have to take the educated risk regarding Lester re-signing with the Dodgers, but the team would be able to add another ace to the already-powerful starting rotation. Add in the fact that moving Kemp would alleviate some salary-cap stress and free up another outfield position for the young players in the farm system, and this is a win-win deal for both teams.

With Lester pitching well (2.52 ERA, 10-7 record and 149 strikeouts) and Kemp performing strong since returning from injury (a .277 batting average, eight home runs, 40 RBI and a .343 on-base percentage on the season), this would be a blockbuster trade that could actually come to fruition before the deadline.


Philadelphia Pushing Hard to Move Jonathan Papelbon?

As discussed in the Burnett section, Philadelphia is slipping out of contention and should be looking to sell many of the high-priced pieces that aren’t going to be part of the long-term plan.

One of the biggest names thrown around in rumors has been closer Jonathan Papelbon, but there just hasn‘t been the attention the Phillies thought they would get for a player of his caliber.

According to Heyman, Philadelphia is so desperate to move Papelbon that the team is willing to eat a substantial portion of his salary, but there is still not enough interest to make a deal worth a move:

The Phillies are telling teams they’d absorb a portion of the $18 million remaining on closer Jonathan Papelbon’s deal if they are interested in trading for the closer. Papelbon’s market seems light, if existent, after both the Angels and Tigers filled back-end bullpen needs with Huston Street and Joakim Soria, respectively.

Despite the team’s struggles, Papelbon has not lost the tenacity and toughness be has become known for, and the numbers back that up. With a 1.83 ERA, 25 saves and 40 strikeouts in 44.1 innings, there is no question that he would be a welcome addition to any bullpen.

For the teams potentially interested in Papelbon, the high-priced contract is a major issue. If the Phillies are willing to eat a huge chunk of the money, as the report claims, it will be easier to move him in a last-second deal.


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2014 Home Run Derby Results: Winner and Reaction to Bracket-Style Format

The 2014 Home Run Derby was one of the most anticipated sporting events of the summer, but for many fans who watched the event on Monday, the results were very disappointing.

Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes earned his second straight victory in the event and deserves immense credit for the feat, but the bracket-style format made for a slow-moving show that was not as enthralling as last year’s competition.

Here are the overall results from the 2014 Home Run Derby and the reaction to the new format.


Breaking Down the Reaction to Bracket-Style Format

After a rain delay forced the start of the Home Run Derby back, there was no doubt that the patience of the people in attendance and at home was wearing thin. That’s not the ideal way to introduce a new format.

MLB’s bracket-style game plan was destined to fail before the event even started.

While the first round went as usual—each man got a turn to hit as many home runs as possible—the Derby went off the tracks during the bracket portion of the event.

With players like Jose Bautista and Giancarlo Stanton getting a bye in the second round, there was almost an hour of down time before heading to the plate again for the two heaviest hitters.

Both players lost any momentum they had during the break and failed to advance to the finals.

As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports pointed out, the lack of home runs in the semifinals made for a lackluster culmination to the event:

The format may have been awful, but Stanton made his home runs count, launching the ball like few others in the sport today, via MLB Gifs:

Another star who added to the struggles on Monday was Yasiel Puig. The Los Angeles slugger was expected to be a serious contender, but he failed to hit any home runs in the first round and was eliminated.

Twitter personality Ryan Nanni thinks he knows what happened to Puig:

The format change was meant to help bring excitement back to the event, but as Jameson Fleming of points out, it didn’t work at all:

In a last-ditch effort to help the fans this year and even possibly next year, Passan offered a cheaper alternative to attending the Home Run Derby:

There is no doubt that last year’s Home Run Derby wasn’t perfect, but it was much easier to enjoy for the fans than this year’s showcase. The people who pay to witness the event live or take the time to watch it at home simply want to see the top names hit home runs.

Kudos to the league for thinking outside the box with the bracket idea, but it failed miserably, and MLB must go back to the drawing board. The seven-outs-per-batter concept helped speed up the pace of the first round and created a buzz initially, but MLB must do away with the brackets.

If the league reverts back to the standard lowest-score eliminations and reduces the outs to seven, the pace of the event and the time between at-bats will be minimized. That will create a better opportunity for the batters to thrive and the fans to enjoy the show.


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2014 Home Run Derby Contestants: Participants for All-Star Week Tradition

The excitement surrounding the 20th annual MLB Home Run Derby has baseball fans of every team anticipating which of the contestants will steal the show this year.

The 2014 Home Run Derby takes place July 14 at Target Field in Minnesota.

With top sluggers like Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and Giancarlo Stanton taking part in the annual event, fans should expect some serious heavy hitting. Add in the new bracket format, and this will be a special showcase.

Here is a full list of participants and a focus on the player most likely to win.



Star to Watch: Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

One of the biggest stars to grace the 2014 Home Run Derby is Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, and he will have a legitimate shot to steal the show by winning the entire event.

The Home Run Derby is set up perfectly for an effortless swinger like Bautista.

Since 2010, he has hit an incredible 169 home runs and still looks to be going strong, even at 33 years old. With 17 home runs this season already, the Blue Jays star will be looking to reach the 30-home run plateau once again.

While his offensive numbers have been impressive, it is the improving batting average and on-base percentage that has the veteran returning to his elite form. Now, he must translate that success to the Home Run Derby.

Bautista took to Twitter to thank the fans who voted him into the All-Star Game:

ESPN’s SportsCenter showcased the depth of Bautista’s American League team:

The reason Bautista is such a threat is his swing. He is not an overpowering presence on the field, but he knows how to keep his swing short and turn the power from his hips to the bat without losing any of the momentum.

One of the biggest reasons he is such a good home run hitter is the speed of his swing. At just 6’0” and 205 pounds, his size can only produce so much power. That’s where the quickness of his swing and the fact that he keeps it close to his body make him so dangerous in live-game action.

The hope is that Bautista will be able to translate his power to the softer batting practice-style pitching he will face during the Home Run Derby. This could make for a very interesting night.

Predicted Home Run Derby Finish: Winner


*Stats via

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