The Reds and Dusty Baker will talk contract extension after the deadline

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This was supposed to be a lame duck year for Dusty Baker — and it still technically is — but given how well the Reds have done this season it was inevitable that at some point the Reds and Dusty would have to talk about a contract extension.  That time will be early August, reports the Cincy Enquirer.

Baker says that he doesn’t want to be a distraction, but also said “I didn’t come here to leave,” and that “You’ve got to agree we’ve made progress.”

Tough spot for the Reds. Dusty does not come cheap and there really was a sense that they expected him to simply manage out his contract and walk.  But dadgummit, winning complicates things sometimes.

*Note: No matter where Dusty ends up, be it the Reds, in a broadcast booth or managing another team, I will probably always use this pic in stories about him because it’s friggin’ awesome. Based on it alone I’d consider penciling him in as my starting right fielder, wouldn’t you?

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.