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UPDATE: MLB issues a statement denying the Yankees sale rumors

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UPDATE: Apparently the “Yankees could be sold” thing is a rumor so baseless that even MLB has issued a statement on the thing:

  “Major League Baseball has received no indications from any representatives of the New York Yankees or anyone else that the Club is for sale.”

So, in addition to the owners calling the news story “fiction,” there being no practical way for the team to be sold due to tax consequences and one of the writers of the article itself all but admitting it’s bull, the league has called it nonsense.

Good work, Daily News!  Please remember this the next time one of the people who work for you point at some internet writer and accuse them of ruining journalism.

9:01 AM: I tell ya, if George Steinbrenner were alive he’d be so mad at how the Yankees have been playing he’d get rid of the team! THE ENTIRE TEAM!

Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.

Multiple baseball and finance sources told the Daily News they are hearing that the team the Steinbrenner family has led to seven World Series titles could be put on the block in the wake of the record sale price of $2.175 billion the Los Angeles Dodgers went for in April.

While it would seem to make decent financial sense to at least consider the possibility — if the Dodgers are worth a couple of billion the Yankees have to be worth more and, really, how much higher can franchise values go? — team president Randy Levine denied the rumors, saying that “there is absolutely, positively nothing to this.” Hal Steinbrenner called it “complete fiction.”

What’s more, the speculation in the article about it being a good time because the team is aging should probably be ignored. Because really, the value of the Yankees is not something that is going to crater or peak based on a ten-game swing of wins from one year to the rest. If they are ever sold it will be because someone is valuing them as an enduring entertainment and marketing brand, not as a team that, in a given year, may contend in the AL East.

That said, (a) if I was thinking of selling the team I wouldn’t admit it either; and (b) again, how much higher can franchise values climb?  If someone wanted to give you, I dunno, three billion for the Yankees, wouldn’t you be an idiot not to take it? That’s the likely source of this stuff — banker speculation and out-of-the-loop figurin’, not any real interest on the Yankees part to sell.

UPDATE: This seems to have less meat to it than a vegan cookout:

But hey, it’s fun to make stuff up too.  Also: Bill Madden of the Daily News is apparently on New York radio this morning being asked about it and people who are listening are saying that he’s all but saying it’s a b.s. story but is stopping just short given that, you know, his colleagues wrote it.  Oh, wait, his name is second on the byline.  Great job, Spink Award Winning Writer Bill Madden!

What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Tigers starter Justin Verlander got off to a bumpy start, finishing his sixth start of the season with a 6.49 ERA. His velocity wasn’t quite where it used to be and the 33-year-old seemed to be on the decline. Some had already lost faith after a subpar 2014, so his slow start to 2016 wasn’t converting anyone.

Since throwing seven shutout innings against the Rangers on May 8, however, Verlander has been one of the best starters in baseball. Over his last 14 starts, Verlander has a 2.76 ERA with a 106/24 K/BB ratio in 97 2/3 innings. He’s tacked on nearly 2 MPH to his average fastball velocity compared to April, going from below 93 MPH to nearly 95 MPH. Verlander’s overall strikeout rate of 26 percent is close to four percent higher than his career average and is reminiscent of his rates during his prime five years ago.

Verlander will look to keep it going in Monday night’s start at Fenway Park. He’ll take on Drew Pomeranz, recently acquired from the Padres by the Red Sox, in a 7:10 PM EDT start.

The rest of Monday’s action…

Colorado Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa) @ Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo), 7:05 PM EDT

San Diego Padres (Colin Rea) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson) @ Miami Marlins (Jarred Cosart), 7:10 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard), 7:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Braden Shipley) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson), 7:20 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Daniel Mengden) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) @ Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez), 8:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Michael Pineda) @ Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 8:15 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani) @ San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy), 10:15 PM EDT

Report: Mets offered Travis d’Arnaud to Brewers for Jonathan Lucroy

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 3: Jonathan Lucroy #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks to the dugout during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on July 3, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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In an effort to make an upgrade behind the plate, the Mets reportedly offered backstop Travis d'Arnaud to the Brewers in exchange for All-Star Jonathan Lucroy, according to a report from Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. The Brewers turned down a straight one-for-one deal. Bob Klapisch of The Record reports that a Lucroy trade involving the Mets is “not happening.”

Lucroy, 30, can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club pays him a $250,000 buyout instead of picking up his $5.25 million club option. While it’s believed that the Brewers will trade him before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, the club could pick up his 2017 option if no offer is enticing enough.

In 359 plate appearances this season, Lucroy has hit .301/.362/.491 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI. Going by the Sabermetric statistic weighted on-base average (wOBA), Wilson Ramos (.393) is the only catcher (min. 200 PA) with a better mark than Lucroy’s .361. Buster Posey is next at .350.

d’Arnaud, 27, has had a tough season. He missed nearly two months between April 26 and June 20 with a strained rotator cuff. Across 34 games this year, he has a paltry .246/.302/.339 triple-slash line with two home runs and 10 RBI in 129 plate appearances. d’Arnaud will become eligible for arbitration for the first of three years after this season.