Your Tuesday Morning Power Rankings

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1. Yankees (1): A bit of a blah week, but when the number two team loses five straight, you’re going to keep your number one ranking.

2. Rays (2): It’s way more important that they continue to hold off the Red Sox than it is for them to catch the Yankees. Wild Card teams do pretty darn good, historically speaking, so why burn yourself out? But yeah, I wish this were a legit pre-1994-style pennant race.

3. Rangers (4): Starting today they run through a Yankees-Red Sox-Rays gauntlet. With a big division lead, it’s a nice time for a test.

4. Padres (3): Dropping two of three to the Dbacks is nothing to be proud of, but doing it while the Giants were dropping three of four to the Braves made for nice timing.

5. Braves (8): Last night’s debacle notwithstanding, it’s been a pretty good week for Atlanta. Pushing the Mets that much closer to the brink is always satisfying, and taking care of the Giants was a nice gauge of where they currently stand.

6. Phillies (9): They’re on a stretch where 16 of 19 games are at home, with only a short trip up to New York to interrupt things.

7. White Sox (6): Detroit proved to be no competition while the
Orioles smacked them upside the head. This says more about the state of
the Orioles and the Tigers than it does the White Sox, methinks.

8. Twins
(7): They’ve made up four games since the middle of July, all without the benefit of Justin Morneau. And they may not be getting him back for a while. Tall order.

9. Reds (12): Grabbing Jim Edmonds didn’t pay off last night, but I like the move. I’m tempted to even call it inspired. I’ll just say, though, that if Walt Jocketty goes out and gets more former Cardinals it’s gonna start to look a little Single White Femaley to me.

10. Cardinals (11): They have their three top starters lined up to go after the Reds this week. Carpenter did his job last night. Garcia and Wainwright need to do their jobs tonight and tomorrow. If they do, the Cardinals have restored order. If, however, the Reds somehow manage to take both of those games, it’s time to get nervous.

11. Red Sox (10): They’re not going away, but you have to figure that the loss of Youk is going to eventually prove to be too much to bear.

12. Giants (5): Jonthan Sanchez predicted that San Francisco would take all three games against the Padres at home this weekend. Bold words, grasshopper. You get the first game on Friday night.

13. Blue Jays (13): Someone — I think on Twitter or something — said the other day “how many divisions would the Jays be leading right now if they didn’t play in the East?” I think my answer is “none.” If they weren’t in the East they wouldn’t have a 12-0 record against the Orioles. And while the Red Sox have hurt them (2-7), Toronto has played the Yankees and Rays fairly well (11-10). 

14. Athletics (15): I don’t know if they’ll ever have a decent, stable home but the young pitching has to give people hope.

15. Rockies (14): Winners of seven of ten, but it just feels like they’re not getting any traction at all.

16. Dodgers (18): Brutal schedule ahead: Phillies, Braves, Rockies and Reds.

17. Mets (20):  This rise in the rankings has less to do with anything good the Mets did than bad stuff the teams below them did. Sometimes your Power Ranking lot improves simply by stinking less than the next guy.

18. Marlins (19): Why do I find it hilarious that Wes Helms called a team meeting

19. Angels (16): Yeah, I know they’re playing better, but getting swept by the Orioles kind of puts the nail in the coffin of the season, ya know?

20. Tigers (17): A couple of weeks ago it was “can we hold on until Brandon Inge comes back?”  Well, he’s back and the answer was no. Not that his absence is what caused the tailspin. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong has, and this was a team that needed things to break right in order to make some noise this year.

21. Brewers (21): Signing Corey Hart and talking to Rickie Weeks about extensions and trading for Chris Dickerson seem to be the acts of a team that will be trading Prince Fielder this winter.

22. Nationals (22): I like that they’re honoring Andre Dawson tonight. Now, if they’d don some Expos uniforms on throwback night we’d really be getting somewhere.

23. Astros (24): The Astros have been scoring a ton of runs lately.

24. Royals (25): Zack Greinke is pessimistic, but I can think of way worse places to be than Kansas City right now. There’s talent there. Kyle Farnsworth has been banished. There’s hope.

25. Indians (26): I made brief reference to the Indians having reason to hope lately, but Paul Cousineau at The DiaTribe really puts that in perspective in this post. They’ve been winning and doing so against good competition.

26. Cubs (23): This season cannot end fast enough for Chicago. And there needs to be a serious, Astros-style purge of this roster this winter. Time to tear it down and start all over.

27. Orioles (last): In Buck we Trust. Five wins in the first six games, baby.

28. Diamondbacks (27): I’m kind of surprised that Luis Gonzalez is the first Diamondback to have his number retired. I mean, yeah, the hit in the 2001 World Series guaranteed that it would happen eventually, but what’s Randy Johnson so busy doing this summer that he can’t be so honored?

29. Pirates (last): Thankfully for the Pirates announcer shenanigans don’t count in the power rankings of that bush league act following the walkoff would have had them down in 126th place.

30. Mariners (last): When you get you manager fired you should probably be in last place.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.