Cliff Lee trade talk heating up; Rangers in play

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The competitive portion of the Phillies season seems to be over, so there has been a lot of chatter about them selling now. That Hunter Pence thing that was shot down is some of it. Joe Blanton is some other stuff. And now the Cliff Lee trade watch is getting into swing:

Buster Olney adds that Lee is “in play in trade talks.”

Lee has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract. If they traded him without eating  oodles of dough, they’d get little in exchange. If they ate up oodles of dough, they’d defeat a large part of the purpose of trading Cliff Lee.

I dunno. It sounds like a sexy deal and all, but the Rangers have had Cliff Lee in their Worlds Series rotation and he didn’t make the difference then, so I’m skeptical that they’d give up big prospects or eat big salary to try it again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.