The Mets' fallback position: Ted Lilly?

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Joel Sherman cites a source today telling him that, in the event the Mets aren’t able to land Cliff Lee, they’d be interested in Ted Lilly as a fallback position, more so than either Fausto Carmona or Roy Oswalt, each of whom have been rumored to have caught the Mets’ interest.

Setting aside the absurdity of lumping Carmona and Oswalt together in the fallback category (note: Roy Oswalt is still an excellent pitcher; Fausto Carmona is not), Lilly would be a nice pickup for anyone. His strikeout rate is down a bit this year, but he’s still been effective. His 2-6 record is deceptive inasmuch as he hasn’t gotten a lot of run support.  He’s expensive, but he’s in his last year under contract.  That all washes out to a nice addition for a team that isn’t totally strapped, in my view.

The question is whether the Cubs would truly be willing to part with him.  With Zambrano now apparently out of the rotation for good someone has to pitch for Chicago. And they’re simply not the kind of team that ever truly waves the white flag and sells off players, no matter how dire things get.

The upshot: I think the Cubs would probably ask too much for Lilly for the Mets’ liking, and given that, while nice, he’s not a difference maker the way Cliff Lee would be, I have a hard time seeing the Mets and Cubs matching up on such a deal.  

The Giants are calling up Jae-gyun Hwang

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The Giants will call up infielder Jae-gyun Hwang from Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports.

Hwang, 29, signed with the Giants as a free agent from South Korea. He’ll earn a prorated salary of $1.5 million in the majors and has a chance to earn up to an additional $1.6 million in performance bonuses.

At Triple-A, Hwang hit .287/.333/.476 with seven home runs and 44 RBI in 279 plate appearances. He has mostly played first and third base, but also spent 17 defensive innings in left field. First base is spoken for with Brandon Belt, but Hwang could get the occasional start at the hot corner or in left field in San Francisco.

Hwang spent the previous 10 seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. In his final season with the Lotte Giants last year, he hit .335/.397/.570 with 27 homers and 113 RBI.

Report: Pete Mackanin fined Odubel Herrera for attempting to steal despite red light

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera was fined an undisclosed amount by manager Pete Mackanin for attempting to steal a base on Saturday against the Diamondbacks despite being given a red light. Herrera, arguably the Phillies’ best base runner, usually has a green light, but Mackanin felt that Herrera stealing and opening up first base would have prompted the D-Backs to intentionally walk Cameron Rupp to get to the pitcher’s spot in the lineup.

The incident occurred in the top of the sixth inning with the Phillies trailing 3-2. Starter Robbie Ray got the first two Phillies out, but Herrera kept the inning alive with a line drive single to right field. Before the second pitch to Rupp, Ray picked off Herrera in a play that was scored 1-3-4.

According to Salisbury, although Mackanin wouldn’t confirm or deny that he fined Herrera, he did say, “Base running matters.”

This is not the first base running blunder Herrera has had this season. Last week, Herrera ran through third base coach Juan Samuel’s stop sign in an attempt to score the game-winning run. And it’s also not the first bit of contention between Mackanin and his players. There was apparently some miscommunication between him and reliever Pat Neshek last week as well.

The Phillies enter play Tuesday night with baseball’s worst record at 24-51. That puts them on pace for a 52-110 season.