Report: Phillies preparing “substantial” offer for Cole Hamels

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According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Phillies are preparing a “substantial” offer for impending free agent Cole Hamels.

Exact details of the offer aren’t yet known, but Stark hears that the Phillies have had multiple internal discussions about whether to offer more than five guaranteed years. Previous reports have indicated that the club doesn’t have an issue with giving Hamels the yearly salary he covets, likely close to Cliff Lee’s $24 million AAV (average annual value), but they have been hesitant to go beyond five years.

The Phillies will almost certainly have to make a concession in years to have any chance to keep Hamels from testing the open market. He doesn’t turn 29 until December and is poised to land one of the richest contracts ever for a pitcher.

With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back and Roy Halladay expected to return soon, Stark hears the Phillies will wait up to two weeks before determining whether it’s time to sell off parts leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. By then, they should have a pretty good indication of whether Hamels is receptive to their offer.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.