Reds, Pirates and Indians among teams interested in Carlos Quentin

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The next 24 hours will be dominated by All-Star Game coverage, but it won’t be long before this space is filled with rumors leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. And we’re already hearing some chatter regarding one of the most popular names on the market.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Reds, Pirates and Indians are among the teams who have expressed interest in Padres’ outfielder Carlos Quentin. The Marlins inquired at one point, but it’s not clear if they still have interest after acquiring Carlos Lee last week. The Tigers and Blue Jays were initially mentioned as possibilities, but they are now looking to upgrade in other areas.

The Padres acquired Quentin from the White Sox during the offseason, but their poor first half (34-53) has rendered him a logical trade chip. The 29-year-old didn’t make his season debut until May 28 following knee surgery, but he’s hitting .268/.408/.518 with seven home runs, 17 RBI and a .924 OPS through 138 plate appearances. While the Padres have expressed interest in a long-term deal for the San Diego native, the team’s unsettled ownership situation puts a wrinkle into any such plans.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.