Link-O-Rama: Pujols slams into tie with Banks

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* After last night’s heroics, Albert Pujols is now 7-for-9 with five grand slams and 24 RBIs in bases-loaded situations this season. Asked about tying Ernie Banks for the NL’s single-season record for grand slams, Pujols said: “Nothing changes. It’s the same approach. Get a good pitch to hit and drive it back through the middle. Just because I’m strong enough, sometimes the ball’s going out of the park.”
* With last night’s scoreless inning Eddie Guardado became the 21st pitcher in baseball history to appear in 900 games. Trevor Hoffman (963) and David Weathers (938) are the only active pitchers with more career appearances, and Everyday Eddie joins Jesse Orosco (1,252), Mike Stanton (1,178), John Franco (1,119), and Dan Plesac (1,064) as the only left-handers in the 900-game club.
* Adrian Gonzalez was out of the Padres’ lineup yesterday and didn’t appear as a pinch-hitter, ending his MLB-leading and franchise-record streak of 314 straight games.
* Having paid $7 a pop for Yuengling lagers at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week, I’m interested in Team Marketing Report finding that the Giants have the most expensive beer in baseball at $8 and the average MLB team charges $6 for a 16-ounce brew.
* Speaking of going to Baltimore last week, if you’re interested in reading my trip report from the annual Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention, click here. It’s not pretty, so be warned.
* According to the New York Post, David Wright and his friends Thumbnail image for albertpujols2.JPG

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.