Brandon Phillips names his All-Swag Team

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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports spoke with Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, mostly about swag. Phillips says that baseball needs more of it, saying, “That’s exactly why African-Americans don’t play baseball. [There’s] no passion in the game. You’ve got to be like a robot. Look at basketball. Look at football. When you make an exciting play, you can let everybody know. … If you get hype, get some swag, turn up, your team can feed off that.”

It’s an interesting quote, particularly on the heels of the Carlos Gomez/Brian McCann incident and the Dodgers celebrating in the pool at Chase Field, both of which received criticism from players and fans of the “old school” mentality.

Describing a player with swag, Phillips says, “He doesn’t play for himself. He plays for the fans. He plays for the city.”

Morosi then asked him to name his All-Swag Team, and it’s pretty solid:

  • Manager: Ron Washington
  • DH: David Ortiz
  • SP: Felix Hernandez
  • C: Yadier Molina
  • 1B: Prince Fielder
  • 2B: Himself
  • 3B: Miguel Cabrera
  • SS: Hanley Ramirez
  • LF: Carlos Gonzalez
  • CF: Adam Jones
  • RF: Hunter Pence

Players to get honorable mentions included Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Jimmy Rollins, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Giancarlo Stanton, as well as former Major Leaguer David Eckstein.

With the exception of Eckstein, though, there is a trend: these are all good players. Does swag lead to success, or does success lead to swag? It may be one of life’s greatest mysteries.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.