The Mets say no to Yankees AAA baseball in Newark

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Jerry Izenberg of the Star-Ledger Ledger wrote a story last night that should bug the crap out of you. It’s about the Yankees, the Mets and the city of Newark and shows you just how dumb baseball’s territorial rights rules are.

Read the story itself because it has a strong and compelling personal element to it from Izenberg, but the short version is that, for one season, while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ballpark undergoes renovations, the Yankees wanted to put their AAA team in Newark, where it had been for decades back in the day.  The Mets, who are co-owners of the New Jersey territory, rejected the idea. They rejected it even though the Yankees offered an open-ended waiver to the Mets to allow them to do the same thing one day. They rejected it even though the Yankees offered to pay the Mets for their trouble.

The Yankees are not anyone’s idea of a sympathy case, but this would have been great for Newark and great for baseball fans.  It strains credulity to think that it would have any serious negative consequences for the Mets, apart from perhaps their organizational ego being bruised in the event that the Newark team’s attendance came a bit too close to the Mets’ for comfort.

But if that were the case, it just underscores how stupid and artificial the territory system is in the first place.

The Pirates are, not surprisingly, leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen

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Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.

Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.

All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:

That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

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The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.