Offer or not, Marlins interested in Russ Branyan

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Yesterday afternoon ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported that “the Marlins offered Russell Branyan a one-year deal with a low base salary and lots of incentives.”
However, today Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that “two sources said the Marlins have NOT made an offer” to Branyan. In addition to putting “not” all in caps Spencer also quotes “one person close to the player” as saying that Stark’s report is “not true.”
Of course, the rest of Spencer’s report sure makes it seem like the Marlins have done everything BUT (see, I can do the all-caps thing too!) make an official offer to Branyan:

The Marlins are “kicking the tires” on a number of left-handed hitters for a bench role, and Russell Branyan is one of them. … [T]he Marlins have merely contacted Branyan’s agent, as they have done with more than a few players, to gauge the situation. It’s possible they might have even tossed around salary figures. But no deal was ever offered.

So they’re interested in Branyan, have talked to his agent, and have probably even discussed the terms of a deal. Why then is Spencer making such a big deal about the difference between that and an actual offer? Perhaps because yesterday he wrote an anti-Branyan screed focusing on strikeouts that ended with: “If the Marlins wind up with this guy, I’ll be surprised.”

Cardinals place Dexter Fowler on the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.

It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.

Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.

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.