Athletics have narrowed down preferred ballpark sites to two

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With the Oakland Raiders leaving town and the Golden State Warriors moving across the Bay to San Francisco, the momentum and enthusiasm for a new Oakland Athletics stadium has ratcheted up considerably. Now, Oakland Magazine reports, the A’s have narrowed down the potential sites for a new ballpark to two:

The Oakland A’s are now focusing on two sites in the city for a new ballpark: Laney College near Lake Merritt and Howard Terminal on the waterfront next to Jack London Square, according to four knowledgeable sources. Two of those sources say the Laney College property has edged into the lead as the team’s preferred spot.

Laney College area is close to downtown between Interstate 880 and Lake Merritt and near a BART station. According to the article, the preferred site is the Peralta Community College site noted on this map:

Oakland folks: weigh in to give your thoughts about that site, would ya?

The secondary site, Howard Terminal, is close to the waterway that leads into the Bay, but is farther from public transportation. There are concerns about heavily-used railroad tracks near there, however, which fans would have to cross in order to get to games.

The article says that the Laney College site seems to be preferred based on public polling being conducted by the A’s which focuses more heavily on that site, but A’s president Dave Kaval told Oakland Magazine that all three sites — these two and the Coliseum site — are all still on the table. He would not be likely to admit that one site is preferred over others, however, as the club wouldn’t want to tip its hand in negotiations.

Either way, the club is supposed to announce a site selection by the end of the year. What they’ll do, I have no idea. All I hope is that they choose a site that is 100% unable to be used by the Oakland Raiders if and when they come back from Las Vegas, once again looking to squat on A’s property.

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.