Futures Game: Getting to know the U.S. squad

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John Manuel of Baseball America has dug up the starting lineups for the 2010 Futures Game.  Given that it’s one of the All-Star break’s first events — broadcast on Sunday night at 6 PM EST — we may as well take a look and get better acquainted with some of the exhibition’s more notable stars.  First, the American-born prospects:

U.S. Team

LF Desmond Jennings, Rays
SS Dee Gordon, Dodgers
3B Mike Moustakas, Royals
RF Domonic Brown, Phillies
DH Eric Hosmer, Royals
C Hank Conger, Angels
CF Brett Jackson, Cubs
1B Logan Morrison, Marlins
2B Drew Cumberland, Padres

Starting Pitcher

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays


Any lineup that has Logan Morrison batting eighth is going to be rather dangerous.  The Marlins first base prospect has posted a 918 OPS between Single-A Jupiter and Triple-A New Orleans this season with five total home runs and 35 RBI in 219 at-bats.  He has what prospect-conscious folks like to call a “major league-ready bat.”

Leading off is Desmond Jennings, who could pop up on the Rays’ big league roster at any moment and fit right in.  He’s batted .297 with 22 extra-base hits in 229 at-bats this season at Triple-A Durham and he has swiped 21 bases in 23 attempts.  The 23-year-old is lightning quick and should get a taste of major league action before 2010 is through.

The Royals have two representatives in this starting lineup, which is great for the future of that club.  Mike Moustakas was a first-round pick back in 2007 and has roared back on to the national baseball scene this year after a few disappointing seasons in the minors.  Through 64 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he is batting .355/.417/.705 with 21 home runs and 76 RBI.  His power potential is through the roof.

Eric Hosmer is also representing the Royals.  A first base prospect, he is hitting .349/.424/.540 with seven home runs, 50 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 84 games for Single-A Wilmington.  He will almost certainly make his way to the Double-A level by the end of this season.  The Royals, for all their faults, have a talented corner infield in the making.

Taking the mound first for the American-born team will be Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.  The impressive 23-year-old has posted a 2.21 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 104 strikeouts in 105.2 innings this season for the Triple-A Durham Bulls.  He could take over Wade Davis’ spot in the Tampa Bay starting rotation at any moment in the 2010 season’s second half.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

AP Photo/John Bazemore
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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.

Braves and Jim Johnson reunite on a one-year contract

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jim Johnson #53 of the Atlanta Braves throws a ninth inning pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: The deal is official. Bowman adds that Johnson will make $2.5 million in 2016.

6:11 p.m. ET: Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen in 2015 until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in late July, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.

It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.