Jonathan Papelbon makes it clear, again: He wants out of Philadelphia

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On the day he was named an All-Star for the sixth time Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon reiterated his desire to be traded to a contending team, telling Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is. And that’s to be with a contending ball club. The ball is in their court, so to speak. I think everybody knows where I’m at. I’ve always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender and I’m not going to shy away from it. I feel like that’s my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity and, you know, it’s in their hands.

Of course, the Phillies likely would have traded Papelbon by now if other teams were interested in giving up a decent prospect and/or taking on the remainder of his $50 million contract. He’s owed about $6 million for the second half of this season and there’s a $13 million option for 2016 that vests if he reaches 48 games finished this season (he’s currently at 28).

Philadelphia certainly has no need for a high-priced closer at this point and Papelbon has been excellent this season with a 1.65 ERA and 34/7 K/BB ratio in 33 innings.

According to Salisbury the 34-year-old right-hander “hopes to be long gone” by the July 31 trade deadline and “hopes to be gone shortly after the All-Star break.”

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.