Toronto Blue Jays' Bautista looks into the stands between innings during a MLB American League baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg

Jose Bautista isn’t impressed with Derek Norris and Sean Doolittle’s beards

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Over at Yahoo’s Big League Stew, Dave Brown peppered Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista with questions from a wide avenue of subjects. One of those subjects pertained to beards — his, and those of his major league peers. Bautista, of course, has a magnificent beard and he explained how he keeps it maintained so consistently.

Brown then asked Bautista what he thinks of some of the scragglier beards around the league, such as those that belong to Derek Norris and Sean Doolittle of the Athletics. Bautista isn’t having it:

DB: Whose beard in this room impresses you? Should you say Derek Norris?

Jose: No! Or [Sean] Doolittle, either. It doesn’t impress me because they don’t do anything to it. They just let it go. No maintenance, there’s no effort into it.

DB: You don’t appreciate the joie de vivre, the free spirit, the letting go?

Jose: I do, but it doesn’t impress me enough to admire the beard.

Bautista really should give credit to both for having the willpower for letting the beard grow out the way they have, though. That type of beard is itchy — particularly in the in-between phase, when it’s not a well-manicured beard but it’s not a caveman beard yet — and it requires a lot of maintenance, lest one invite bugs and birds to build nests inside. It’s a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but to paraphrase the great Voltaire, “I may not like your beard, but I’ll defend to the death your right to grow it.”

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on July 22, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Wednesday gives us six afternoon games, leaving nine games for the evening. Masahiro Tanaka will start one of those games as the Yankees take on the Astros’ Lance McCullers in an 8:10 PM EDT start.

The Yankees went into the All-Star break an even 44-44, 7.5 games out of first place and looking like sellers. They have come into the second half winning 8 of 12 games, including their last three. The club has only managed to make up one game against the first-place Orioles in the AL East, but they are also only four games out of the second AL Wild Card slot.

Aroldis Chapman has already been shipped out, but the Yankees are also drawing trade interest in Andrew Miller, who has assumed the closer’s role. If the Yankees win tonight and perform well against the Rays in a three-game series in Tampa, the Bronx Bombers may enter the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline deciding to be competitive after all.

The rest of Wednesday evening’s action…

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 7:05 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole), 7:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) @ New York Mets (Logan Verrett), 7:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish), 8:05 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 8:15 PM EDT

Report: Phillies want a top-five prospect for Jeremy Hellickson

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.