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.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.