Thome chases ring in LA, but still has Chicago on his mind

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Jim Thome may be chasing his first
World Series ring with the Dodgers, but that doesn’t mean he’s put
Chicago behind him. The native-Illinoisan would welcome a return to Chicago:

”I’ll be honest, I would still love to come back,” Thome said,
tightening the blue batting gloves on each hand. ”I still care about
the city. I mean, we’re going to live there. Chicago’s very fond in my
heart. The time that I spent there, [chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] treated
me great. I guess we’ll deal with that when this is all over with.”

Thome, 39, will be a free agent this offseason. He hopes to have
that elusive World Series ring on order once he files for free agency.
But either way, he knows his days with the Dodgers are numbered.

…But if the Sox say no, Thome seems determined to make a return to the
American League Central and his next call likely would be to the —
brace yourself — the defending division-champion Twins.

This is pure speculation on Chris
De Luca’s part, of course, but the future Hall of Famer should have no
shortage of suitors now that he will be free of the seven-year, $85
million contract he signed with the Phillies in 2002. Equally enticing
will be his chase with history. Thome’s 564 home runs rank 12th
all-time. He is just five home runs behind Rafael Palmeiro for 11th
all-time. If he hits at least 20 home runs next season (something he
has done in 15 of his last 16 seasons) Thome would crack the top 10.

Mariners trade Steve Cishek to the Rays for swingman Erasmo Ramirez.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, with a 15/7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He’s a setup man right now, but he has experience as a closer, saving 25 games for Seattle last year and as many as 39 back when he pitched for the Marlins in 2014.

Ramirez has appeared in 26 games for the Rays and has started eight games. He’s 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and a 55/16 K/BB ratio in 69.1 innings. This will be his second stint with the Mariners, having played for them from 2012-14.

Sort of a surprising deal given that both Tampa Bay and Seattle are competing for a wild card spot, but needs are needs.

Yadier Molina takes a swipe at manager Mike Matheny on Instagram

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In today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch there’s a story about the young Cardinals backup catcher, Carson Kelly. It’s not a controversial story by any stretch. The standard “get to know the young guy” kind of thing. A quote in the story, however, is stoking controversy between the Cards’ starting catcher — Yadier Molina — and his manager.

Here’s Mike Matheny, talking about a couple of starts recently given to Kelly:

“Yadi’s caught a lot,” Matheny said. “Yesterday, just kind of watching him go around the bases, too, you could tell that he’s, you know…” Matheny changed course mid-sentence, but he was implying that Molina is tired.

Molina obviously read it, because here is what he wrote on his Instagram account, along with a screen-cap of the Matheny quote:

 

Alrighty then!

Molina has played in 86 games this year and is on pace for 137. He’s hitting .275/.307/.414 with 10 homers and 44 RBI. It’s not his worst season — his 2015 was worse than this — but it’s also not at the level he’s established over the years. Numbers aside, it’s not unreasonable to think that a catcher with 14 years on the odometer could use a break now and then, so it’s not like Matheny is wrong.

It’s just not the sort of thing players want to read about themselves. At the very least, not something Molina wanted to read.