HBT Weekend Wrapup

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Hope you all had a great Fourth of July! In honor of our Nation’s
birthday, I
put my daughter in the cap of a defunct Canadian baseball team

before heading out to the Independence Day parade. And my birthday is on
Bastille Day, so yes, I am a double agent for Francophones the world
over. You got a problem with that?

  • A few weeks ago New York columnists wouldn’t know who R.A. Dickey was if he fell out of the sky landed on their face and started to wiggle. Now he should be an All-Star. Makes sense.
  • Carlos Beltran is coming back July 15th. Anyone with a brain knew this (i.e. after the break) was probably when he’d come back. Didn’t stop Jerry Manuel from telling people he’d be back weeks ago.
  • Not the best outing for Stephen Strasburg. He didn’t have his best stuff and likely pitched himself out of the All-Star Game. I think he was one of the few guys who looked pretty good in those white hats, though, and that has to count for something.
  • Manny Ramirez goes on the disabled list. I like Manny and all, but reporting on his every move seems like something we don’t really need to be doing anymore. In terms of relevance, it’s kind of like talking about the latest Blink 182 record or the next “Lord of the Rings” movie or something.

I’m all screwed up on whether or not today is a holiday. The libraries and banks and government offices are all closed, but my wife is working and my kids’ little day camps are open. Further screwing me up is that fireworks in my little village were Saturday — not yesterday — and the big fireworks in downtown Columbus were Friday — again, not yesterday. Basically, I’ve lost all sense of time, space and the calendar.

Whatever. We’re posting today. How much we post may be impacted by whether or not baseball’s newsmakers consider it a holiday and whether or not my temporal vertigo leads me to say “screw it” and start cracking beers at 2pm.  Either way, we’ll get through this together.

Report: Yoenis Cespedes to opt out of contract with Mets

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20:  Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets hits an rbi double scoring Jose Reyes #7 against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the first inning at AT&T Park on August 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.

That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.

It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.

David Ortiz and Kris Bryant win 2016 Hank Aaron Awards

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  (L-R) Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer 2016 Hank Aaron, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox pose during the Hank Aaron Award ceremony prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
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Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.

Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.

Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.

Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.