Red Sox batter Kevin Youkillis celebrates his two-run home during their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto

Your Monday Morning Power Rankings


As usual, the number in the parenthesis was last week’s ranking.

1. Red Sox (5): I had them ranked number one to start the season. I was only two-and-a-half months off!

2. Phillies (3): A good week, but the Cubs and Dodgers aren’t exactly fearsome, nor were the Nats and Pirates, who they faced the previous week. Things get tougher towards the end of the month.

3. Brewers (7): En Fuego, to the point where I thought about putting them above Philly. Maybe I should have. You tell me.

4. Yankees/Cardinals (2, 1): A very schizophrenic week for New York, looking awful against Boston but like world-beaters against the Tribe. The Cards’ showing against Milwaukee was a bit troubling. Maybe St. Louis is just taking a different tack this year than they did last year with the Reds, feeling free to drop the head-to-head meetings and rather make up ground against others.

6. Braves (11): Six straight wins but, like Philly, it wasn’t against the toughest competition (the Marlins are reeling, the Astros merely bad). And the biggest concern about this team remains the feeling that all of these close, low-scoring games they’re playing are going to catch up to those arms in the pen which, while really damn effective, aren’t indestructible.

7. Giants (6): Tim Lincecum’s struggles are a real concern. But really, between their recently defective ace and the number of big injuries they’ve had, it’s amazing that the Giants are still in first place. It suggests that they don’t have a real challenger in the west and that, if they can continue to work through these recent issues, they’ll be pretty comfortable come August and September.

8. Tigers (12): Percentage points behind the Indians, but one gets the sense they’ll tussle for the AL Central title far more with Chicago as the summer wears on, not Cleveland.

9. Diamondbacks (9): A bit of an offensive awakening over the weekend.  If the Giants can ever be had, now is the time to make a move.

10. Rangers (4): In light of the Mavs’ thing, now would be a great time for the Rangers to release any bad news they have floating around. Middle infielders with attitude problems. Dead hookers in trunks. That sort of thing.

11. Rays (14): A 5-1 week on what has been a very up-and-down season.  You know how Joe Maddon likes to dress up his team in themed costumes for road trips? How about dressing them up as a consistent ballclub?

12. Indians (8): Talking to Indians fans around my Ohio home has had me feeling like a grief counselor. Only that Indians fans seemed to have moved very quickly through the shock, denial, anger and bargaining phases and have settled into a mildly depressive but more or less accepting posture.

13. Reds (16), 14. Mariners (15), 15. Mets (20): This is less of a tie than a group comment: all three of these teams moved up a lot. Seems like too much based on their weeks, but the fact is that there are a lot of free-falling teams below who made room.

16. White Sox (22): Same could go for these guys too, but really, there has been a ton of improvement here and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them challenging the Tigers soon.

17. Blue Jays (10): Too extreme a drop? I dunno, I’m having a hard time remembering a team get so humbled as the Jays did this past weekend against Boston.

18. Marlins (13): They weathered Hanley Ramirez’s slump well enough, but his absence has been another story. You can’t pretend to contend for too long without your best player contributing.

19. Rockies (19): A treading water kind of week. Ubaldo Jimenez continues to struggle. One gets the sense that they could just as easily fall nine games back of the Giants in the next several days or go on a 14-2 run.  The Rockies have been the most perplexing team in all of baseball over the past few years.

20. Pirates (18): A nice schedule break forthcoming with series against Houston, Cleveland and Baltimore. I have to say that after rooting for the Braves in the east, I’m probably rooting for the Pirates to finish above .500 this year more than anything else in baseball, though it is a distant second place.

21. Dodgers (21): There is no better gauge of how the Dodgers season is going at any given moment than by going to the L.A. Times’ Dodgers page and reading the top three headlines. If at least two of them are about the team, things are going fine. If they’re about Frank McCourt, Bryan Stow or any of that unpleasant stuff, things aren’t going so well.

22. Orioles (24): Hey, they got Bob Geren fired last week. That’s good, right?

23. Angels (17): Losers of nine of 11 and then shut out by Vin Mazzaro? Yuck.

24. Nationals (25): You know, a 6-5 west coast swing for a not-so-great team is not-so-bad.

25. Padres (26): By the same token, losing 3 for 4 to the Nats at home when you’re a west coast team ain’t-so-great.

26. Royals (27): The early season surge notwithstanding, everyone knew that this was not going to be a competitive year. That they occasionally win a game they have no business winning is a bonus; that they occasionally stink on ice should not be taken too hard. That Eric Hosmer is hitting pretty well and Mike Moustakas looked good in his first weekend of work is the most important thing here.

27. Twins (30): Signs of life in Minnesota!  Winning nine of eleven should maybe have vaulted them up more than three spots over the past couple of weeks, but I feel like waiting one more week to see how real this is. The hole they dug for themselves was pretty deep.

28. Athletics (23): Nightmare fuel. But hey, with Geren gone at least they’re a happier losing bunch, right?

29. Cubs (28): This hurts. I’m not sure who it hurts more, but it hurts.

30. Astros (29): It feels like they’re going to be here for a while.

Mariners trying to trade Mark Trumbo by Wednesday

Mark Trumbo

Seattle making Mark Trumbo available has been known for a while now, but Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners are trying to trade the first baseman/outfielder before Wednesday.

That’s the deadline to tender 2016 contracts to arbitration eligible players and with Trumbo set to make around $9 million via that process the Mariners would rather move on before any decision needs to be made. In other words: They don’t want to be stuck with him.

Trumbo has elite power, averaging 30 homers per 160 games for his career, but that power comes with a .250 batting average, poor plate discipline and a .299 on-base percentage, and sub par defense. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has already traded Trumbo once, dealing him to the Diamondbacks back when he was the Angels’ general manager, and now he’s working hard to part ways again.

Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Rockies are among the interested teams.

UPDATE: Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young to a two-year, $13 million deal

Chris Young Getty

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that Young will receive a two-year, $13 million contract from the Red Sox.

Monday, 1:47 PM: Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.

Marlins hire Juan Nieves as pitching coach

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This is not a terribly big deal compared to the rumors of who the Marlins want to hire as their hitting coach, but it’s news all the same: Miami has hired Juan Nieves as their pitching coach.

Nieves replaces Chuck Hernandez who was let go immediately after the season ended. Under Hernandez Marlins pitchers allowed 4.19 runs a game and had an ERA of 4.02, striking out 1152 batters and walking 508 in 1,427 innings. As far as runs per game go, that was around middle of the pack in the National League, just a hair better than league average. The strikeout/walk ratio, however, was third to last in the NL.

Nieves, a former Brewers hurler who once tossed a no-hitter, was most recently the Red Sox’ pitching coach, serving from the beginning of the 2013 season until his dismissal in May of this year.

In baseball, if you lose the World Series you still get a ring

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 3:  Detail view of the St. Louis Cardinals 2006 World Series Ring at Busch Stadium on April 3, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Scott Rovak/Getty Images)

“Second place is first loser” — some jerk, probably.

The funny thing about “winning is everything” culture in sports is that it’s revered, primarily, by people with the least amount of skin in the game. Self-proclaimed “Super Fans” and talk radio hosts and guys like that. People who may claim to live and breathe sports but who, for the most part, have other things in their lives. Jobs and families and hobbies and stuff. Winning is everything for them on the weekend at, like, Buffalo Wild Wings or in their man cave.

Athletes — whose actual job is to play sports — like to win too. They’re certainly more focused and committed to winning than Joe Super Fan is, what with it being their actual lives and such. But you see far less “winning is everything” sentiment from them. In interviews they talk about how they hate to lose but, with a little bit of distance, they almost always talk about appreciating efforts in a well-played loss. They rarely talk about big losses — even championship losses — as failures or choke jobs or disgraces of one stripe or another.

All of which makes this story by Tim Rohan in the New York Times fun and interesting. It’s about championship rings for the non-championship winners. The 2014 Royals — winners of the A.L. pennant but losers of the World Series — are featured, and the story of rings for World Series losers is told. Mike Stanton, who played on a ton of pennant and World Series-winning teams with the Yankees and Braves, talks about his various rings and how, even though the Braves lost in the World Series that year, 1991 is his favorite.

Also mentioned: George Steinbrenner’s thoughts about rings for World Series losers. You will likely not be surprised about his sentiments on the matter.