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Report: Mariners asked Pirates about Andrew McCutchen

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Mariners inquired with the Pirates about outfielder Andrew McCutchen earlier this offseason, but talks didn’t advance any further.

McCutchen, 30, is coming off an uncharacteristically mediocre season. The five-time All-Star hit .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs and 79 RBI in 675 plate appearances. His .766 OPS represented a decline of over 130 points from his previous season and over 100 points compared to his career average. McCutchen’s defense has also tapered off, which has led to the Pirates considering moving him away from center field.

Though Leonys Martin isn’t McCutchen’s equal offensively, he is better defensively and might have retained ownership of center field if McCutchen had joined the team. As presently situated, the Mariners’ corner outfield spots figure to be handled by some combination of Seth Smith, Ben Gamel, Danny ValenciaNelson Cruz, and Guillermo Heredia.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.