Rush Limbaugh calls Steinbrenner a "cracker"

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Note: when you and Al Sharpton are both quoted in a news article, and Sharpton comes off 100 times more reasonable than you do, you probably need to be confined someplace where you can’t do harm to yourself or others. Or at the very least, be fitted with a special helmet. Rush Limbaugh’s comments on the passing of George Steinbrenner, ladies and gentlemen:

“That cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires . . . He fired a bunch of white guys as managers left and
right.”

I try not to get too political around here, but let me say this much: if your first thought about George Steinbrenner’s legacy was the race of some of the players who played for him and the managers he fired, what don’t you see in primarily racial terms?  And if you see every issue that crosses your radar screen in primarily racial terms, what good are you as a political pundit?

None, really. You’re just an inciter and, in all likelihood, a jackass who can’t even be useful to people who subscribe to your political beliefs in the first place.  I’m a big pinko, of course, but even if I was a far right conservative, I’d have to seriously question what value Limbaugh has to the issues that were important to me given his racial fixation.

Limbaugh was forced to resign from his ESPN football gig several years ago because he thought Donovan McNabb was overrated by the media because he was black. That was dumb.  His comments about Steinbrenner are far, far dumber. I ignore him approximately 99.9999999% of the time as it is. I really wish he’d stay the heck out of sports so I can ignore him the other .0000001% of the time as well.  

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).