The A's are interested in Sheets, and if not him, Damon

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There’s apparently some money burning a hole in Billy Beane’s pocket, because according to Buster Olney, the Athletics are trying to sign Ben Sheets. Sheets figures to command around $8 million, so either Beane was given some new financial latitude or else he’s been playin’ possum. 

A Sheets signing would be a nice move for the A’s who, given how tough the AL West appears to be this year, will need to take some chances and hope for some upside from a lot of their players.  Of course, given that this is Beane, it may be far more likely that he’d expect a nice first half from Sheets followed by a deadline deal for prospects.  Which would also be smart.

The kicker: Olney says that if the A’s can’t swing a deal for Sheets, they’d turn their attention to Johnny Damon, whom would presumably be subject to the same sort of deadline-deal, free agent arbitrage.

Query: is a Buster Olney tweet enough to make the A’s an official “mystery team?”  If so, I may owe Scott Boras an apology. 

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.