Indians, Reds and Diamondbacks talking three-team trade

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Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported earlier that the Reds were trying to acquire outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Indians, with Drew Stubbs and infield prospect Didi Gregorius heading to Cleveland in return. But that deal has since grown a bit larger.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, on the table now is a three-team blockbuster that would send Choo to Cincinnati along with infielder Jason Donald, Stubbs and a young Diamondbacks starting pitcher to the Indians, and Gregorius to the Snakes.

Patrick Corbin, Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs are the Arizona pitchers that are currently being discussed. Rosenthal thinks the D’Backs are least likely to want to move Skaggs and Bauer is a pretty highly-rated prospect, so we’d guess it’s going to be Corbin.

It’s not a sure thing that there will be a resolution to these discussions before the end of the night.

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UPDATE, 8:11 PM: Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona says the Diamondbacks will get more than just Gregorius and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer hears that nine total players could be involved.

UPDATE, 8:52 PM: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the part of the trade sending Choo and Donald to the Reds has been agreed upon, but also that there’s “a lot more” coming. So stay tuned.

UPDATE, 9:02 PM: According to MLB.com beat writer Steve Gilbert, the Diamondbacks and Indians have not yet finalized their end of the three-team swap. But the expectation is that they will soon.

UPDATE, 9:07 PM: Rosenthal reports that pitchers Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers will go from Arizona to Cleveland. Asdrubal Cabrera could wind up with the Diamondbacks. Gregorius seems headed to the Tribe.

UPDATE, 9:10 PM: The Indians are getting Bauer from the Diamondbacks, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. We’ll put up a fresh post when all the names and destinations are revealed.

UPDATE, 9:13 PM: Rosenthal now clarifies that Cabrera is not involved. Gregorius will go to Arizona.

UPDATE, 9:15 PM: Gilbert says the Diamondbacks are getting left-hander Tony Sipp and outfielder Lars Anderson from the Indians. Lots of moving parts here, folks. We’ll try to clarify it all soon.

UPDATE, 9:26 PM: All sides have agreed to the three-team, nine-player trade. Head HERE for more.

The Mets are a mess

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The Mets lost again on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Braves. It’s their sixth consecutive loss and the club is now in last place in the NL East. Not exactly the start the Mets envisioned.

Matt Harvey got the start, but lasted only 4 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on five hits and five walks with only one strikeout. After the game, Harvey said he was tight and that he threw yesterday expecting to start on Friday instead, per Matt Ehalt of The Record. Sounds like no one communicated to Harvey that he’d be starting this afternoon until it was too late for him to properly prepare.

Harvey started because Noah Syndergaard was scratched due to a “tired arm.” Syndergaard blew reporters off after the game, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Puma then added that Syndergaard ripped Mets P.R. guy Jay Horwitz for letting reporters approach him.

By the way, the Mets also lost outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a hamstring injury. Not much else can go wrong in Queens.

Joey Votto isn’t on board with the latest fly ball trend among hitters

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If you haven’t heard, fly balls — not ground balls or line drives — are all the rage among hitters these days. Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez summed it up perfectly last month when he said, “I’m not trying to hit a [freaking] line drive or a freaking ground ball.” The goal is to maximize damage. Last year, for example, fly balls became hits about 17 percent less often than ground balls (7.4% versus 24.6%), but hitters had a slugging percentage more than twice as much as on ground balls (.539 versus .267). This refocusing has helped hitters like Martinez as well as Ryan Zimmerman reinvigorate their careers.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is as much a student of new age analytics as anyone in the game, doesn’t feel that this approach is necessarily a good one, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto said:

Where I get concerned is the guys that make this attempt and burn out too much of their time and don’t get a chance to be their best selves, and either don’t make it to the big leagues or don’t perform their best in the big leagues because they’re always attempting this new style of hitting. I see it with a lot of guys. Everyone tells the good stories, but there’s a lot of s—ty stories of guys who are wasting their time trying things.

Votto added that while the fly ball approach is working right now, pitchers will soon adapt and the fly ball approach won’t be so good anymore. And he’s right. Baseball has always been a game of adjustments. For example, as teams have gotten comfortable with shifting their infield, hitters like the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber have both dropped bunts down the third base line for easy hits. Knowing that hitters are aiming to hit fly balls now, pitchers may stay higher in the strike zone more often as one possible solution.

Votto is just trying to stay as well-rounded as possible. He says that he wants to become “unpitchable.” Votto wants to be like Angels outfielder Mike Trout, whom he describes as a guy “who can do absolutely anything he wants” and “at all times [has] all options.”

So far, Votto is having another productive season despite a relatively pedestrian batting average and on-base percentage. He’s hitting .238/.330/.563 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 94 plate appearances. Coincidentally, he’s been hitting way more fly balls than usual as he’s currently carrying a 42.3 percent rate compared to his 33.1 career average, according to FanGraphs. His line drives are way down to 16.9 percent compared to his 25.4 percent career average.