Day: July 5, 2013

ricky nolasco getty

The Marlins have received offers from the Dodgers and Giants on Ricky Nolasco


Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco is putting up his best numbers since 2008. Through 18 starts, the right-hander has a 3.85 ERA and is averaging 3.6 strikeouts for every one walk, his highest rate since 2010. As the 30-year-old is a free agent after the season and the Marlins are headed nowhere, Nolasco was expected to be a hot commodity leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins have already received offers from both the Dodgers and the Giants.

At least two offers are on the table for Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

According to a league source familiar with the talks, the Dodgers are offering a pitching prospect and are also willing to assume the remaining nearly $5.7 million Nolasco will make this season.

The Giants are said to be the other club, offering two pitching prospects. But San Francisco is looking for Miami to assume at least a portion of what is left on the right-hander’s contract.

Though both teams are below .500, the 40-44 Dodgers are only 3.5 games out of first place in the NL West while the 39-45 Giants are 4.5 games out, so a mid-season addition such as Nolasco could be just what the doctor ordered.

Dodgers activate Carl Crawford, demote Scott Van Slyke

Carl Crawford

The Dodgers have activated outfielder Carl Crawford from the 15-day disabled list, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports. To make room for Crawford on the roster, Scott Van Slyke has been demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Crawford had been on the shelf since June 2 with a strained left hamstring. He appeared to be well on his way to a successful season after a subpar 2011 in his first year with the Red Sox and an injury-dampened 2012, but the off-injured outfielder felt sore after attempting to make a catch on May 30 against the Angels. To that point, Crawford was hitting .301 with 19 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases in 12 attempts.

Since hitting the ground running with his 2013 debut on May 10, posting a .989 OPS with six home runs in 60 PA through June 5, Van Slyke slumped. From June 6-30, he mustered a .535 OPS in 20 at-bats spread out over eight games.

The Dodgers sign Ian Stewart


Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has the news on Twitter. Infielder Ian Stewart had a tumultuous stint with the Chicago Cubs over the last two seasons, making a series of provocative tweets about the organization, ultimately resulting in a suspension. Previously, he had done the baseball equivalent of a no-call, no show after being activated from the disabled list with Triple-A Iowa.

He did all that following two seasons in which he posted a .464 and .627 OPS at the Major League Level in 136 and 202 plate appearances, respectively. His Triple-A numbers weren’t much better, as Stewart’s OPS was at .657 in 133 PA with Iowa. Nevertheless, the signing is a low-risk flier for the Dodgers, who could stand to have some positional security in the event they suffer any more injuries during the second half of the season.

Padres activate All-Star candidate Everth Cabrera from DL

Everth Cabrera
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The 40-46 Padres, still surprisingly in the thick of things in the tight-knit NL West at 4.5 games behind, will get a boost in the lineup tonight as Everth Cabrera returns from the disabled list, per the team’s official Twitter. In a related move, 23-year-old right-hander Burch Smith, sitting on an 11.37 ERA in 12.2 innings, was optioned to Triple-A Tuscon.

Cabrera, putting up All-Star-caliber numbers, was sidelined since June 17 with a strained left hamstring. Until the injury, he had posted a .305/.382/.418 line with 31 stolen bases in 38 attempts. FanGraphs still has him as the most valuable shortstop in baseball at 3.6 Wins Above Replacement, a hair above Jean Segura at 3.5. In Cabrera’s absence, the Padres relied on Pedro Ciriaco at shortstop, but the former member of the Pirates and Red Sox organizations posted a paltry .634 OPS.

Pouliot’s midseason award picks: NL MVP

Carlos Gonzalez

Now it’s time for the NL midseason MVP, and this year’s picture to date is just as confusing as last year’s was, in my opinion. Of course, the BBWAA decided on Buster Posey pretty handily last year(27 of 32 first-place votes), but I ultimately picked Yadier Molina from a close group of five players.

Here are the current OPS leaders:

.991 – Michael Cuddyer: .343/.396/.594, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 6 SB in 254 AB
.967 – Carlos Gonzalez: .295/.362/.605, 23 HR, 62 RBI, 15 SB in 329 AB
.943 – Joey Votto: .323/.432/.511, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 3 SB in 319 AB
.930 – Paul Goldschmidt: .302/.380/.550, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 9 SB in 318 AB
.921 – David Wright: .306/.394/.528, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 14 SB in 307 AB
.916 – Buster Posey: .312/.390/.526, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 1 SB in 285 AB
.912 – Carlos Gomez: .311/.350/.562, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 17 SB in 299 AB
.889 – Yadier Molina: .351/.393/.497, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 3 SB in 302 AB
.883 – Carlos Beltran: .305/.346/.537, 19 HR, 50 RBI, 1 SB in 298 AB
.881 – Matt Carpenter: .320/.392/.489, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 1 SB in 325 AB
.875 – Shin-Soo Choo: .270/.419/.456, 12 HR, 27 RBI, 9 SB in 307 AB
.875 – Domonic Brown: .279/.326/.549, 22 HR, 60 RBI, 8 SB in 315 AB


1.048 – Troy Tulowitzki: .347/.413/.635, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 0 SB in 222 AB
.856 – Jean Segura: .323/.359/.497, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 26 SB in 334 AB
.839 – Andrew McCutchen: .304/.355/.469, 9 HR, 44 RBI, 17 SB in 311 AB
.829 – Ian Desmond: .282/.323/.506, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 10 SB in 316 AB
.800 – Everth Cabrera: .305/.382/.418, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 31 SB in 275 AB

Baseball-reference WAR

5.4 – Clayton Kershaw
5.1 – Carlos Gomez
4.8 – David Wright
4.6 – Cliff Lee
4.4 – Andrew McCutchen
4.3 – Adam Wainwright
4.3 – Paul Goldschmidt
4.1 – Matt Harvey
4.0 – Carlos Gonzalez
3.7 – Troy Tulowitzki
3.7 – Yadier Molina
3.7 – Joey Votto
3.7 – Matt Carpenter

Fangraphs WAR

4.5 – David Wright
4.5 – Carlos Gomez
4.4 – Adam Wainwright
4.3 – Matt Harvey
4.1 – Matt Carpenter
3.9 – Troy Tulowitzki
3.8 – Andrew McCutchen
3.7 – Yadier Molina
3.6 – Carlos Gonzalez
3.6 – Everth Cabrera
3.5 – Jean Segura
3.5 – Cliff Lee
3.4 – Clayton Kershaw
3.4 – Buster Posey
3.3 – Paul Goldschmidt
3.2 – Joey Votto

So, as of July 5, the NL has different players leading in average (Molina), homers (CarGo), RBI (Goldschmdt), OBP (Vott0), rWAR (Kershaw) and fWAR (Wright). Plus, there’s a shortstop in Tulowitzki who would be leading the league in OPS, only he’s hurt and is about 20 plate appearances short of qualifying for the title. If Tulo had played in 75 games with his rate of production, rather than 61, he’d probably be the clear choice here. As is, he’s a down-ballot pick at best.

Molina makes for an interesting choice again. He’s hitting even better than last year, and he’s thrown out 13 of 29 would-be basestealers while starting 77 of the Cardinals’ 84 games behind the plate. Posey is having a similar season offensively, but he’s started 11 fewer games at catcher (plus eight at first base) and he’s just 11-for-54 throwing out runners. I think it’s a given that Molina has to rank higher than Posey here, though that doesn’t necessarily means he comes in first place.

Among those who have avoided DL stints, Gonzalez has pretty clearly been the league’s best hitter. He leads the NL in homers, slugging and runs scored. Especially impressive is that he’s been even better on the road (.312/.365/.610) than at home (.280/.360/.600) this season. He’s also 15-for-16 stealing bases, and while he’s never had very good defensive numbers in the massive Colorado outfielder, I think  he’s an above average left fielder. Cuddyer, on the other hand, is a below average right fielder. That and the 25 missed games hurt him here.

At first base, the Votto-Goldschmidt battle has to go to Goldschmidt at the moment. It’s not Votto’s fault that he has such a modest RBI total to go along with his outstanding OBP, and he’s probably worthy of a place in the top 10. Goldschmidt, though, has come up huge in big situations. He’s hitting .338/.394/.689 with runners on and .387/.449/.760 with RISP, plus he’s 3-for-5 with two homers with the bases loaded. That’s not something the Diamondbacks can expect to carry forward, but it’s given him a ton of value through 84 games.

And then there are the two position players WAR prefers. Gomez is seventh in the NL in OPS and is justifiably rated as the game’s best defensive center fielder. That makes him one of the league’s most valuable players even if he does play for a last-place Brewers team. Wright has been the Mets’ bright spot, ranking fifth in OPS. He’s playing quality defense, and he’s 14-for-15 as a basestealer.

That’s five paragraphs down and still no mention of anyone from the league’s most successful team. McCutchen is the Pirates’ MVP once again (sorry Mason Grillicon), but he’s also sported a sub-.800 OPS for good chunks of the year. He’s been worse than Gomez offensively, and he’s not quite in Gomez’s league with the glove. He’s worthy of a spot in the top 10, but he can’t come in ahead of Gomez just because his team has been so much better.

Finally, there are the pitchers. Kershaw’s shutout this week propelled him past Gomez into the NL lead in WAR, according to Baseball-reference. Meanwhile, Fangraphs still has Wainwright and Harvey out in front. They’re all close and they’re all worthy of down-ballot consideration, but I think I’m just going to go with the bats this time around.

NL MVP picks

1. Molina
2. Gomez
3. Gonzalez
4. Wright
5. Goldschmidt
6. Carpenter
7. McCutchen
8. Posey
9. Tulowitzki
10. Segura

Molina and Gomez are probably two of the NL’s three most valuable players defensively (with Andrelton Simmons occupying the other slot). That they’ve been top-10 hitters so far as well makes them very difficult to beat here. Both may well tail off in the second half and get passed by bigger bats, but right now, they’re one-two in my mind.