Please stop the Hanley Ramirez fantasies

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The Marlins are in town to face the Red Sox, and you know what that means:

It’s a bittersweet sight to see the Florida Marlins arrive in
Boston. On one hand, seeing those turquoise and black uniforms trotting
out onto the Fenway grass is a reminder of the talent the Marlins’
organization has fed into Boston in the past — the Red Sox’ staff ace
and their third baseman are living proof of that. On the other hand,
there’s the tantalizing sight of one of baseball’s brightest young
stars returning to Fenway, a Red Sox prospect that was. That, of
course, would be Hanley Ramirez.

To this day, the debate rages on — what would you have done? With
the future of two franchises in your hands, with the chance to
drastically alter the careers of two of the game’s superstars, present
and future, would you pull the trigger? It’s not an easy call.

How is this not an easy call, even in hindsight? As the article itself
notes, if the Sox didn’t trade Ramirez, they wouldn’t have had Josh
Beckett or Mike Lowell, and without Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, it’s
almost a certainty that they would not have won the 2007 World Series.
I know Boston has recently become the city of champions and all of
that, but I’m guessing that about 95% of the fan base would prefer a
title in the bag to even an All-Star shortstop. The other 5% are either
crazy or have an unhealthy fetish for potential and shiny numbers.

To the extent there remains any “debate” about the Hanley Ramirez
deal, it’s borne of either (a) a latent desire by Sox fans for their
team to possess every player worth a damn; and (b) the need for the
media to fill the void the morning after almost every team had the day
off.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.