Gary Matthews Jr. opts out of his contract with the Reds

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I’ll interrupt all this talk about the upcoming July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to bring you this moment of levity.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Gary Matthews Jr. has officially opted out of his contract with the Reds and is now a free agent.

Matthews, who signed a minor league contract with the Reds late last month, was hitting .317/.361/.495 with three home runs and six RBI over his first 101 at-bats with Triple-A Louisville. The Reds had until today to bring him up to the big leagues and chose not to do so.

According to what Matthews’ agent Scott Levanthal told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, his client will seek a major league contract.

“We’re not going to play Triple-A anywhere else,” Leventhal said. “He
has nothing left to prove. He’s a 10-year veteran that spent the last 30
days in Louisville and putting up good numbers.”

The 35-year-old outfielder batted .190/.266/.241 with three extra-base hits and one RBI in 58 at-bats before being released by the Mets on June 15 and has performed below replacement level since 2007. He might be waiting a while for his next gig.

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.

The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, tying an NL record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16:  Adam Rosales #9 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on July 16, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.

The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.

As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.