The non-waiver Major League Baseball trade deadline is coming up July 31st. In what may be a bit of a surprise the Detroit Tigers may be sellers this season. The Tigers find themselves in 3rd place in the A.L. Central; 10 1/2 games behind the 1st place Kansas City Royals. The Tigers are just 4 games out of the 2nd A.L. wild card spot, but there are 3 teams ahead of them and that’s quite a few teams to get past even with 69 games left. If the Tigers are going to be sellers at the trade deadline you can look for them to attempt to move outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and starting pitcher David Price; both of whom will be free agents at the end of the season. Alfredo Simon and Joakim Soria are set to be free agents at the end of the season as well and while I’m sure the Tigers would be more than willing to deal either one Cespedes and Price are the more interesting players. Now it’s also being reported that Cincinnati Reds, President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty has been giving the go ahead to strip the Reds down which might mean dealing Johnny Cueto. If Price and Cueto are added to the trade market you have to wonder if the Philadelphia Phillies overplayed their hand with Cole Hamels. I believe that most teams would take Price over Hamels and Cueto isn’t far behind Hamels either. Philadelphia has made some outrageous demands when it came to possibly dealing Hamels, but if he’s still on their roster when the 2015 season ends the first thing Andy MacPhail needs to do when he takes over as President is fire General Manager Rueben Amaro Jr. There is still some talk out there that the Houston Astros and the Los Angels Dodgers are still interested in Hamels, but will Amaro Jr. bring his asking price down enough for either team to make that deal. I’m sure there are those people out there who might think it’s not such a big deal if the Phillies end up hanging onto Hamels into the off season. The problem them becomes there are a lot of high quality starting pitchers that will be in the free agent market this coming off season. The names Price and Cueto have already come up, but you can add Jordan Zimmermann and Zack Greinke who can opt out of his deal with the Dodgers and with the season he’s having probably will. So then a team has to decide if they want to send a whole bunch of their top prospects to Philadelphia for Hamels or try to sign Price, Cueto, Zimmerman or Greinke. Even if you miss out on those top tier free agent pitchers there’s also Jeff Samardzija. Scott Kazmir. Hisashi Iwakuma, Wei-Yin Chen and possibly Clay Buchholz if his option isn’t picked up by the Boston Red Sox. With this flood of pitching possibly going into the open market this pretty much kills any off season trade value Hamels will have because let’s face it no team is going to give up 2 or 3 of their top prospects for Hamels when all these names are out there in free agency. One of the huge reasons the Phillies are were they are right now is because Amaro Jr. gave out some really bad contracts and then sat by and watched the team get old. If Hamels isn’t dealt by July 31st there’s a better than average chance that he opens the 2016 season in the Phillies starting rotation.
I haven;t heard much talk about it, but the race for Rookie of the Year (RoY) in both leagues is interesting. I know there’s been a lot of talk about the Dodgers Joc Pederson who does lead all rookies with 20 home runs, but he’s hitting just .227. Then after the Chicago Cubs brought Kris Bryant up a lot of experts thought this race was over. While Bryant has done well; a .260 average with 12 home runs and 52 RBI’s which leads all rookies. Are those numbers good enough to win RoY? The San Francisco Giants have a couple of rookies that haven’t gotten a lot of press that are in the running for RoY. Matt Duffy took over everyday at 3rd base for the Giants and is hitting .298 with 8 home runs and 41 RBI’s and Chris Heston is 10-5 in 19 starts with an E.R.A. of 3.18. Don’t forget that Heston also threw a no-hitter earlier this season. Now the set up guys don’t draw much attention, but Michael Blazek of the Milwaukee Brewers is having a very good season even though his team isn’t. Blazek has appeared in 37 games covering 46 innings. He is 5-2 with an E.R.A. of 1.76 on a team that is 42-52. Yasmany Tomas of the Arizona Diamondbacks is leading all rookie qualifiers with a .303 batting average. The American League has some interesting rookies as well and the best may be Billy Burns of the Oakland A’s. Burns leads all A.L. rookies with a .304 batting average and 19 stolen bases. Now the name you always hear is Carlos Correa the Houston Astros rookie shortstop and he’s right there is the running. Correa is hitting .291 with 8 home runs, but just 25 RBI’s; so far. Devon Travis of the Toronto Blue Jays of having a very solid rookie campaign hitting .299 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI’s, but his teammate Roberto Osuna maybe the bigger surprise. With the Blue Jays bullpen in flux Osuna has 4 saves in 5 tries with an E.R.A. of 2.14; he’s appeared in 40 games covering 42 innings and has a 1-3 record. As good as Osuna has been out of the Bullpen for the Blue Jays; Carson Smith has been better for the Seattle Mariners. Smith has converted 8 saves in 9 chances with an E.R.A. of 1.86 in 38 2/3rd innings over 40 games. I hope when it comes time to vote for RoY that the people who get to vote for this award dig into the stats and look at the p[layers and not just the names the mainstream media throws out at them.
It looks like Richard Jefferson is going to try and chase an NBA title next season as the free agent forward has agreed to terms on a one-year deal for next season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jefferson will receive the veteran’s minimum salary of roughly $1.5 million. With the Dallas Mavericks last season the 35-year-old averaged 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 17 minutes per game and shot a team-leading 43 percent from 3-point range. He had been expected to return to the Mavericks, but he may have become expendable when the club signed shooting guard Wesley Matthews. It looks like Jefferson will fill the roster spot created by the retirement of Shawn Marion. it’s being reported that the Cavaliers remain interested in re-signing free agent J.R. Smith, who declined his $6.4 player’s option when free agency opened. Smith is expected to meet with the team later this week. Cleveland also continues to have talks with restricted free agent forward Tristan Thompson and guard Matthew Dellavedova. Thompson had a strong postseason with the club and could land a deal worth over $15 million per season. Dellavedova’s popularity soared when he performed well while filling in for Irving, and the Cavaliers love the Australian’s energy and attitude. Have the Cavaliers done enough to win and NBA title next season?
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