Sanchez and Wilson get an offer

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There’s been a lot of talk about the Pirates trading Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, but a new wrinkle has emerged:

The Pirates have approached shortstop Jack Wilson and second baseman
Freddy Sanchez about multiyear contract extensions, putting on hold,
for now, the possibility that either will be traded by Major League
Baseball’s July 31 deadline. But the clock is ticking. If the parties
are to agree on extensions, they will need to do so far enough in
advance of the deadline so that, if the Pirates decide no agreement is
possible, they still can pursue a trade for one or both. That likely
means something must get done within the next week to 10 days.

Despite all of the drama surrounding recent Pirates’ trades,
I can’t recall an instance of Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington playing games
with players. Still, it strikes me as odd that contract offers are
coming so late in the game and close to the deadline, leaving little
time for negotiation. If it were any other GM I’d wonder whether this
wasn’t a PR move on the part of the team designed to lessen fan — and
player — ire when two popular players are ultimately moved.

For what it’s worth, both Sanchez and Wilson are playing fantastic
defense this year, really enjoy playing in Pittsburgh and, based on
this article and everything else I’ve seen, have no desire to break the
bank. Against that backdrop, it would make sense to keep them around,
both as a stability move and because it will give the fans something to be happy about in Pittsburgh.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.