The trade deadline is long gone, but several players may still be on the move…

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The non-waiver trade deadline has passed and it sure was chaotic, but it’s not the end of hot stove season.  Players can be dealt via waivers until the end of August and it seems like there could be serious activity this year.  D.J. laid out his winners and losers of the non-waiver deadline last night and a complete round-up of Saturday’s events can be found here.  Now let’s get better acquainted with some of the players that could be moved in the coming month.

Adam Dunn – 1B – Nationals: The trade deadline came and went Saturday and Dunn was not moved, but the $4 million that he is still owed this season and his status as an impending free agent could allow the Nats to pass him by non-contending teams on the waiver wire.  Dunn, 30, has hit .276 this season with a great .926 OPS and 24 home runs in 367 at-bats.  He was courted by the White Sox, Tigers and Yankees this week and would make sense as an addition to most playoff-worthy lineups.

Jeremy Hermida – OF – Red Sox: Hermida was designated for assignment on Saturday when the Red Sox called up Ryan Kalish, so he’s available now for teams that might have interest.  And Alex Speier of WEEI.com says the Red Sox will continue to shop him even if he clears assignment waivers this week.  The outfielder has posted a poor .205/.257/.348 batting line in 158 at-bats this year for Boston, but he always flashed decent numbers for the Marlins and might do well with a return to the National League.

Kevin Gregg – RP – Blue Jays: The Jays made the entire back end of their bullpen available this week along with Lyle Overbay and Jose Bautista, but they didn’t pull off a single trade.  That doesn’t mean talks are dead.  Gregg, 32, has an ugly 1.39 WHIP and four blown saves in 23 chances this season for Toronto and probably wouldn’t appeal to the non-contending teams that would have first crack at him on the waiver wire.  Playoff-bound clubs, however, might value his closing experience.

Adam LaRoche – 1B – Diamondbacks: Most rumor-breaking reporters thought LaRoche would be dealt this week in Arizona’s fire sale, but he survived and will now have to be passed through waivers if the D’Backs want to move him.  That shouldn’t be a problem given that he’s owed around $1.5 million and will be a free agent this winter.  The 30-year-old has hit 14 homers and collected 64 RBI in 352 at-bats this season and would make sense as a left-handed bench bat on a host of in-contention clubs.

David Aardsma – RP – Mariners: The M’s haven’t done many things right this season and failing to trade Aardsma before Saturday’s deadline represents yet another mistake.  Last-place teams don’t need quality closers and it would have been wise for the Mariners to rid themselves of the $1 million that the right-hander is still owed this year.  Aardsma has converted 18 of 22 saves for Seattle in 2010 while posting a 1.26 WHIP and a 36/16 K/BB ratio over 33.1 innings.  He would look great in a setup role for a team looking toward October.

Kelly Johnson – 2B – Diamondbacks: It may be difficult for the D’Backs to slip Johnson through waivers because middle infielders with pop are hard to find and he has an affordable contract this year, but they’re sure to try it anyway.  He was dangled to interested teams this past week and Arizona management got a few bites.  Through 376 at-bats this season, the 28-year-old second baseman is batting .279 with a strong .868 OPS, 17 home runs and 51 RBI.  The Cardinals could certainly use him, as could the Padres.

Joe Beimel – RP – Rockies: The Rockies are nearing make or break time with their seven-game deficit in the National League West and a 5.5-game deficit in the hunt for the NL Wild Card.  If they decide to be sellers, Beimel may be one of the first players to go.  He was made available this week and every team in the majors can use a quality left-handed reliever.  In 45 appearances this season he has posted a 2.87 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP while holding left-handed batters to a .175/.230/.246 batting line.

Keep it locked on HardballTalk as we continue to track baseball’s best storylines, including movement on the waiver wire.

Columnist calls for Sammy Sosa to “come clean.” He probably shouldn’t.

15 Sep 1998:  A silhouette portrait of Sammy Sosa #21of the Chicago Cubs taken in the dug-out as he looks across the field during the game against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Park in San Diego, California. The Cubs defeated the Padres 4-2
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Yesterday Sammy Sosa — quite ridiculously — compared himself to Jesus Christ. The idea: he has suffered greatly since retirement, having been shunned by the Cubs and disparaged by the baseball establishment and . . . well, I don’t know how that makes him Jesus, but forget it, he’s rolling.

Today, predictably, a Chicago columnist does what columnists have been doing for years with respect to guys suspected of PED use: argues that Sosa should “come clean” if he wants to come in from the cold. Here’s David Haugh of the Tribune:

The game welcomed back Barry Bonds and McGwire from steroid exile after both separately acknowledged their involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. Fox Sports employs Alex Rodriguez, who admitted to PED use during his career. The door back to baseball is open for Sosa, but only if he follows the same path his contemporaries from the steroid era did. The Cubs have made this clear to Sosa, in no uncertain terms, yet he continues to paint himself as the victim.

This is not accurate. Bonds has never “come clean” about his PED use. He was in litigation over it until 2015 and wasn’t giving any confessionals about it. When the Marlins hired him he said nothing. He made allusions to being “an idiot” in an interview last summer, but that was clearly focused on his cagey attitude, not his drug use. There was no deal with the Marlins that his job was prefaced on his “coming clean,” and he never did.

The same can be said for McGwire. Big Mac was hired by the Cardinals as a hitting coach on October 26, 2009. His acknowledgment of PED use came months later, just before spring training in January 2010. While it may be plausible that the Cardinals told McGwire that they would not hire him absent a confession of PED use, that’s not how it tracked in real time. At his hiring, John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt each said there was no set blueprint for how McGwire would proceed as far as his public statements went and they allowed him to control the timeline. His confession seemed to be very much a function of heading off spring training distractions and questions from the press which would have access to him everyday, not some precondition of his employment.

But even if we grant the apparently erroneous premise that Bonds and McGwire “came clean” to return to baseball’s good graces, such a road map is of no use to Sosa. He’s not looking to coach or, as far as we know, even be employed by a club. If the study we talked about four years ago remains accurate, coming clean about PED use makes an athlete look worse in the eyes of the public than those who deny. Ask David Ortiz how that works. It likewise will do nothing for his Hall of Fame vote totals. Ask McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro how that works.

Sosa may be engaging in some unfortunate hyperbole, but as far as can be determined, he’s not asking for a whole hell of a lot. He’s not asking for a coaching job or to have his number retired or for them to rename Wrigley Field after him. He’s asking to be acknowledged as a part of Cubs history. He’s asking for the same kind of treatment other retired greats receive from time to time. A first pitch? A public appearance or two? Some minor role as a team ambassador? The bar for that isn’t very high.

The Cubs, who benefited greatly from Sosa’s production — and, necessarily, by whatever juicing Sosa did to achieve it — aren’t being asked to do much. Just to be decent to a person who is an important part of their history. That should not require that Sosa give a weepy interview about steroids which will serve no one’s purpose but the tut-tutting media. A media which, if McGwire’s example is any guide, will still slam Sosa if he comes clean and claim that his confession wasn’t good enough and his contrition wasn’t genuine. If he does confess, bank on that reaction. Bet the mortgage on it.

All of which makes me wonder if it’s the media, and not the Cubs who are the ones who really want to see such a thing.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.