What we're watching – June 9

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– The MLB draft, of course. Aaron will have the occasional blog during
the first round, while I’ll be writing up every first-round pick over
at Rotoworld.

– The pitching matchup of the night looks like Chris Carpenter vs. Josh
Johnson, and since neither the Cardinals nor the Marlins have their
offense clicking, it could be a quick one. Carpenter allowed just three
earned runs and 19 hits in 38 innings through six starts. Johnson has
given up more than three runs just once in 12 starts. The Cards need
Carpenter to play the role of stopper after losing four straight to the
Rockies in which they were outscored 33-9.

– Johan Santana, who has given up 12 earned runs in his last four
starts to take his ERA from 0.78 to 2.00, gets the Phillies for the
second time this season. He pitched two-hit ball and fanned 10 in seven
innings against them on May 6, but that was his last truly outstanding
outing. The Phillies will go to J.A. Happ, who is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA
in three starts since joining the rotation.

Game of the Night

N.Y. Yankees vs. Boston – The Yanks are 0-5 against the Red Sox this
season, yet they hold a one-game lead in the AL East anyway. This will
be the second matchup between A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett. In the
first, both pitchers gave up eight runs in five innings and the Red Sox
ended up winning 16-11. Beckett later beat the Yanks by allowing three
runs over six innings on May 5. That was the first of a string of six
straight quality starts that he’s maintained into tonight’s game. He’s
allowed five runs — one earned — over 22 2/3 innings in his last
three outings. Burnett has never taken a loss to the Red Sox, going 5-0
with a 3.52 ERA in nine starts.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
Associated Press
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?