The Mets may be well-positioned at the deadline

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The thing I said earlier today about the Mets essentially being a .500 team refers to them in their current state.  Obviously if they make a few moves they can change the complexion of the race and remain in the thick of things no matter how high their current highs and how low their reasonably expected lows.

Indeed, as Buster Olney notes, the Mets could be particularly well-positioned as far as trades go given the nature of this year’s trade market. And they could even make a deal that would drive Phillies fans nuts:

There will be lots of starting pitching available, whether it’s Roy Oswalt or (perhaps) Cliff Lee or Ben Sheets or Jake Westbrook or Fausto Carmona or Kevin Millwood or Ted Lilly — and so it’ll be a buyers’ market as the Mets look for a pitcher.

There is a nightmare scenario is possible for the Phillies: Imagine if Cliff Lee, who was famously traded by Philadelphia over the winter, is dealt to the Mets? And if the Mets’ great week inspires fans to start filling the empty seats at Citi Field, you can bet that club ownership will want to do what it can to fan the flames of success.

The Mets offense could use patching up far more than their pitching at the moment, but if they could pick up someone like Lee (maybe) or Oswalt (a longer shot given his no-trade clause), they could make some noise.  And remember: Madoff or not, the Mets probably have the money to make moves many other
teams can’t. 

Yankees sign top two draft picks

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The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.