Report: Cubs not willing to deal Sean Marshall

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com is hearing that the Cubs are telling teams that they have no interest in including reliever Sean Marshall in a trade.

While he has been a starter in the past, the 28-year-old Marshall has quietly emerged as one of the top left-handed set-up men in the game, posting an outstanding 2.52 ERA and 133/34 K/BB ratio since the start of the 2010 season. The 2003 sixth-round pick has a 2.40 ERA and 43/9 K/BB ratio over 41 1/3 innings this season.

The Cubs bought out Marshall’s final two years of arbitration this winter by signing him to a two-year, $4.7 million contract. He’s still owed roughly half of his $1.6 million salary for this season and will make $3.1 million in 2012.

You may be asking yourself why the Cubs would want to pay that much to a reliever if they aren’t in contention. And it’s a fair question. But as Olney tweeted earlier today, the market for relievers is going to be saturated around the deadline. Even though it sounds like the Cubs may want to keep Marshall in good faith, they would probably be better served to wait if they want to get a quality prospect or two in return.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: