Yoenis Cespedes’ price tag expected to rise above $50 million

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has an update on Yoenis Cespedes and says “the buzz in baseball circles is that it will take north of $50 million to sign” the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder.

Cespedes still has to establish residency in the Dominican Republic to officially become a free agent, but that’s viewed as merely a formality at this point.

And because he’s 26 years old with multiple seasons of professional experience Cespedes’ signing won’t be impacted by the recent collective bargaining agreement changes restricting international spending.

Aroldis Chapman received $30 million from the Reds after leaving Cuba in 2009 and just about every team in baseball has attended one of Cespedes’ workouts, including multiple general managers traveling to the Dominican Republic to get an in-person look. And of course there’s also the amazing 20-minute YouTube video that made the rounds last month.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.