Mariners cleanup hitters are batting .190 with four homers

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Needless to say, they’re not going to fare very well on the following list.

Let’s take a look at each team’s OPS out of the cleanup spot this season.  Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are leading the way.

1. Brewers – .984
2. Tigers – .983
3. Cardinals – .970
4. Dodgers – .969
5. Red Sox – .929
6. Marlins – .919
7. Braves – .895
8. White Sox – .892
9. Yankees – .818
10. Phillies – .816
11. Rockies – .814
12. Diamondbacks – .784
13. Mets – .777
14. Blue Jays – .768
15. Rangers – .761
16. Cubs – .758
17. Indians – .755
18. Angels – .750
19. Twins – .745
20. Astros – .730
21. Royals – .721
22. Pirates – .710
23. Orioles – .697
24. Nationals – .696
25. Giants – .686
26. Reds – .678
27. Rays – .666
28. Athletics – .663
29. Padres – .624
30. Mariners – .549

Mariners cleanup hitters have an OPS worse than Diamondbacks No. 9 hitters and 130 points worse than Seattle’s own No. 9 hitters.

The bulk of Seattle’s cleanup at-bats have gone to Jack Cust and Miguel Olivo. As disappointing as Cust has been, he’s actually been a huge improvement on the rest of the dreck:

Cust – .643 OPS in 159 PA
Olivo – .499 OPS in 131 PA
Justin Smoak – .477 OPS in 70 PA
Adam Kennedy – .469 OPS in 34 PA

Olivo, of course, leads the way in worst performance by a cleanup hitter this year. Here’s the worst, with a minimum of 100 plate appearances:

1. Olivo – .499 OPS in 131 PA
2. Scott Rolen – .553 OPS in 143 PA
3. Hideki Matsui – .576 OPS in 157 PA
4. Ryan Ludwick – .578 OPS in 192 PA
5. Adam LaRoche – .595 OPS in 132 PA
6. Evan Lonforia – .640 OPS in 131 PA
7. Justin Morneau – .642 OPS in 158 PA
8. Cust – .643 OPS in 159 PA
9. Jeff Francoeur – .664 OPS in 152 PA
10. Carlos Pena – .670 OPS in 104 PA

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).