Cliff Lee throws complete game as Mets and Twins reportedly emerge as trade talk 'frontrunners'

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Cliff Lee was brilliant again last night as rumors continue to swirl about his time in Seattle winding down, holding the Cubs to one run in a complete-game victory that lowered his ERA to a league-best 2.39.
Lee missed most of April, yet leads the league with four complete games (including two shutouts) and has an absolutely ridiculous 76/4 K/BB ratio in 87 innings. To put that into some context Bret Saberhagen holds the all-time record with 11.0 strikeouts per walk in 1994 and no other pitcher in baseball history who qualified for the ERA title ever had 10 strikeouts per walk.
Right now Lee has 19.0 strikeouts per walk.
Obviously the Mariners didn’t plan on being 30-41 and all but out of the playoff picture in June, but the good news is that Lee has maintained his full trade value and then some. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Mets and Twins are the front-runners for Lee at this point, speculating that Minnesota has the potential edge in the form of Wilson Ramos because Seattle wants a good catching prospect.
Baker notes that Ramos “could make a centerpiece to a deal along with a mid-to-back-end starting pitcher” that would presumably be Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey. He also wonders if the Mets could trump that by offering Jenrry Mejia and Angel Pagan. Of course, a report out of New York yesterday said the Mets were unlikely to deal Mejia.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.