Rangers knock around potential trade target Roy Oswalt

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Teams will often acquire players who have done well against them, which is natural on one level and kind of silly on another.
For instance, a couple years ago the Twins acquired veteran outfielder Craig Monroe from the Cubs and repeatedly talked about how he was a career .321 hitter against them. Monroe went on to hit .202 in 58 games for the Twins, who released him in August.
I bring all of this up partly because I’m still bitter about the Twins wasting $3.8 million on Monroe and partly because the Rangers knocked Roy Oswalt around yesterday after various reports put them in the mix for the Astros’ on-the-block right-hander.
Oswalt coughed up a season-high eight runs, including homers to Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, and fell to 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rangers. Afterward manager Ron Washington stressed that Oswalt “still looked like he had something left” despite the poor outing, which is definitely true.
Thanks to horrendous run support from Houston’s terrible lineup (and the occasional clunker like he turned in yesterday) Oswalt leads the league with 10 losses compared to just five wins, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s pitched poorly. Oswalt has a 3.55 ERA, .231 opponents’ batting average, and 97/29 K/BB ratio in 104 innings, which is certainly good enough for him to be 10-5 instead of 5-10.
Of course, also worth noting is that Oswalt has a 3.73 ERA in 28 career interleague starts, compared to a 3.20 mark in the NL.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.