The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner runs down the differences between spring training in Florida vs. spring training in Arizona. He focuses on how as of next year every Cactus League team will play in the greater Phoenix area and how everything in Florida is spaced out. He could have added that the weather, generally speaking, is better in Arizona too (though in my spring training week there were the same number of washed out days — one — in both Florida and Arizona).
Personally I didn’t mind Florida’s spring training geography, but I’m something of a road trip freak who appreciates long drives on two lane roads, Waffle Houses, and cheesy tourist traps more than most people do. Anyone looking for the most baseball bang for their buck, however, would probably do better to hit Arizona for a week than the Sunshine State.
Next year I’ll probably do Arizona just to see what that’s like, but like most things in life, I’m glad there is some diversity in spring training sites. If for no other reason than it gives us something to argue about.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.