Mark Mulder retires

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Mark Mulder pitch.jpgThis may register as the least surprising news of the day, but Mark Mulder — former member of the “Big Three” in Oakland — has announced that he has officially retired.

I think the only person this may be news to is Mulder’s agent who, back in February, when reports of Mulder’s retirement first surfaced, said that Mulder was going to pitch again. But even at the time Mulder and his friends were basically admitting that he was done.  If he threw one pitch in anger between then and today I’d be shocked.

The Big Three of Mulder, Zito and Hudson were overlooked in general — some people think that those A’s teams won all of those games only because Billy Beane took all those walk (er, or something) — but Mulder may have been the most overlooked of the Big Three.

Hudson was
considered the ace and Zito got his gigantic contract, but Mulder was no slouch. He won 21 games in 2001, 19 in 2002 and pitched well in the playoffs. Sadly,
his shoulder went pop a year after joining the Cardinals. After a good
2005 season, 2006 was cut short, 2007 and 2008 were near total losses
for him. He didn’t pitch at all last year.

You can look at Mark Mulder and ask what could have been, but you can also look at what was and say that it wasn’t too damn bad. 

Have a nice retirement, Mark.

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.

The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, tying an NL record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16:  Adam Rosales #9 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on July 16, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.

The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.

As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.