Bryce Harper

Is it time for the Marlins to trade Giancarlo Stanton?

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has cleared revocable waivers. That means he’s eligible to be traded to any team this month.

Passan makes an argument in his column that the Marlins should — must! — trade Stanton, with the idea being that Miami should sell its best player when he’s at the top of his game, thereby laying the groundwork for a substantial rebuild under new ownership. And Stanton certainly is at the top of his game. He’s healthy, he’s 27 and he’s on a 60-homer pace this season. It’s not hard to imagine a change of scenery for him, putting him on a contender, possibly in a hitter-friendly park (not that there are any parks that challenge his monster power), elevating him to a whole new height.

The biggest reason he cleared waivers, of course, is his massive contract, which is paying him $295 million over 10 years, with a potential opt-out for Stanton after 2020. Still, that may not seem all that unreasonable as time goes on and players such as Bryce Harper top $300 or $400 million. And given that price and possibility that he could be had in free agency in a couple of years if he opts out, he may not cost suitors as much as it might seem at first.

Still, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins trading the one player that people want to see when they come to the ballpark. One who is still young enough to bat in the middle of the lineup for an improved Marlins team in a couple of years if new ownership can convince him to stay. And even if they can’t, I suspect that new ownership will at least want to come online and see what they have before signing off on any major moves like that. And yes, you can assume that Derek Jeter and company are at least in the loop for such major moves before they actually take over, as trading Stanton would have a material impact on the value of the team they’re purchasing.

So: Stanton clearing waivers is interesting and the arguments for trading him may have merit, but I doubt anything happens with him during the season. In the winter, though: all bets are off.

In the wake of Bryce Harper’s injury, Scott Boras wants MLB to wipe down the bases more often

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Bryce Harper’s injury over the weekend could’ve been much worse than it was. When it happened it reminded me of Tim Krumrie’s injury in Super Bowl XXIII or when Jason Kendall broke his ankle back in 1999. If you’re unaware of those you’re free to Google them on your own, because I get nauseous even thinking about them. Suffice it to say: legs aren’t supposed to bend that way, and that Harper escaped with only a bone bruise, even a severe one, is a minor miracle.

Not that there aren’t people still upset about it. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, believes the injury never should’ve happened. He thinks that damp bases, like the one Harper slipped on Saturday night, should be on Major League Baseball’s radar. Here’s Boras from an interview with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:

“We go to great lengths with the soil to make sure it’s not wet and there are drying agents on the ground. I don’t know what technology we apply or the studies that have been done on the composition of having a wet base. That’s certainly something we need to look into. This injury was directly related to inclement weather and a player putting his cleat on the bag and it slipping across because the surface was slick . . . In the NBA, when a player hits the floor and there’s perspiration on the floor, they clean it up immediately so the surface isn’t slick. In baseball, we have no one cleaning the bags between innings during inclement weather.”

It’s a worthy observation, but the falling rain is not as easily tackled as a fallen player. The whistle usually blows soon after a basketball player hits the boards, but play does not stop in baseball simply because of some raindrops — the sort of rain in Washington on Saturday is the kind through which games are routinely played — and the raindrops do not schedule their falling between innings. There are going to be times when a base is damp. It’s pretty much unavoidable.

Will Major League Baseball do anything about it? I doubt directly, because there isn’t much to do. Maybe, over time, they’ll look at altering the surface of the bag somewhat to make it more tacky, but they’d be doing it as a result of what I think we can safely call a freak accident as opposed to the words of Boras. And of course, some may argue that a tackier base could lead to different sorts of injuries.

I think the bigger fallout of Harper’s injury will be for managers to be less likely to play star players when there’s even a little rain, if they can at all justify it. In this case Harper was playing on a wet track in a delayed game against a last place team while his club held a 14.5-game lead in the standings. It’s hindsight, but some have likely argued that he could’ve been held out. Whether or not that’s reasonable, I expect to see more superstars held out in conditions like that going forward.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Pirates 2: Chris Rowley got his first taste of the majors this weekend, holding the Pirates to a single run over 5 1/3 innings and making history as the only West Point graduate to break into Major League Baseball.

Despite ranking fourth-to-last among Major League teams in run production, the Blue Jays scrounged together seven runs of support for their starter, capitalizing on a a pair of force outs and fielding errors to build a five-run lead and clinch their 55th win of the year.

Red Sox 10, Yankees 5: Andrew Benintendi was the one-man wrecking crew the Red Sox needed on Saturday, mashing two three-run jacks as the team coasted to their first win of the series.

Benintendi’s two-homer, six-RBI performance was hardly the worst thing to happen to the Yankees this weekend. Luis Severino was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs over 4 2/3 innings, his worst start of the season to date, while Masahiro Tanaka landed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Jordan Montgomery took a line drive to the head prior to the game.

Indians 3, Rays 0: Chris Archer has been the picture of consistency for the Rays, lasting at least six innings in each of his previous 15 starts. That streak came to an abrupt end with the Indians’ surge on Saturday, forcing Archer to bow out early after pitching into a jam after 5 1/3 innings. With the loss, the Rays sit pat at .500 and remain one full game back of an AL wild card spot.

Tigers 12, Twins 11: The Tigers went big in their second win of the week, staging an impressive six-run rally to topple the second-place Twins. Brian McCann helped the team to an early five-run lead in the first inning, destroying a Jose Berrios curveball with his first grand slam of the season, but Justin Upton‘s late-game heroics proved the difference-maker for the Tigers after he smashed a game-winning two-RBI home run in the ninth:

Phillies 3, Mets 1: The Phillies’ win, on the other hand, was anything but a slugfest as Steven Matz crafted four innings of a no-hitter and Aaron Nola clinched his 10th consecutive quality start. Yoenis Cespedes collected a lone home run against Nola for the Mets’ first and only run of the night, while a couple of mistake pitches to Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis gave the Phillies the edge they needed.

Nationals 3, Giants 1: After a rainout on Friday and a three-hour delay on Saturday, the Nats and Giants finally got a chance to face off in a late-night series opener. The field was dry enough for the contest, but not dry enough to prevent Bryce Harper from slipping on first base while attempting to beat out an infield single.

The Nationals rallied without their star slugger, putting up a two-spot in the first inning and returning in the sixth to cap their win with Adam Lind‘s RBI double.

Brewers 6, Reds 5 (10 innings): Every streak has to find an endpoint sometime, and on Saturday, the Brewers’ six-game losing streak found theirs. Milwaukee bested their division rivals with five airtight innings from the bullpen and a walk-off wild pitch to score Eric Sogard in the 10th:

Marlins 4, Rockies 3: If the rumors are true, the Marlins’ home run sculpture will be on the chopping block once the Sherman-Jeter group assumes control of the team. Unless the Marlins have something even gaudier in the works, that means we have precious few moments left to enjoy Giancarlo Stanton dingers commemorated in full Technicolor spectacle and glory:

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Most hitters undergo a protracted adjustment period when they begin to face big league competitors, but Jose Abreu just isn’t one of them. The White Sox’ first baseman cranked two home runs in a 5-4 loss to the Royals on Saturday night, becoming the first player in franchise history to start his career with four consecutive 20+ homer seasons.

Melky Cabrera, meanwhile, reminded his former team exactly what they’re missing after unleashing a tie-breaking 397-footer in the eighth to snap the Royals’ five-game losing streak.

Rangers 8, Astros 3: Rotation issues continue to plague the Astros, whose 12-game lead in the AL West masks this week’s five-game skid. The latest culprit: Mike Fiers, who exited in the fifth inning after issuing six runs on five hits and four walks. The Rangers’ Tyson Ross fared little better, registering three runs and five walks over 5 2/3 innings, but was bailed out by an explosive performance from the offense, including three RBI from Adrian Beltre and a pair of home runs from Brett Nicholas and Mike Napoli.

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 2: Good luck catching David Peralta at the plate — or anywhere else on the basepaths, for that matter. The Diamondbacks’ left fielder clocked an inside-the-park home run in 15.59 seconds to secure the win on Saturday night, beating the relay from Ian Happ and narrowly avoiding Alex Avila‘s tag at the plate.

The Cubs broke through in the ninth on Kris Bryant‘s two-run single, but failed to close the four-run gap and tie the game. With the loss, the club relinquished sole possession of first place in the NL Central after 15 consecutive days at the top of the standings.

Cardinals 6, Braves 5: Thanks to an eight-game win streak, another solid outing from Carlos Martinez and the blessings of the Rally Kitten, the Cardinals are back on top of the division for the first time since May 16. Martinez evened his win-loss record with six innings of three-run, seven-strikeout ball, while the Cardinals turned to Paul DeJong for the tie-breaking knock:

Orioles 12, Athletics 5: You know what they say: It only takes one seven-run inning to win the game. The Orioles wasted no time booting Sean Manaea from the mound on Saturday, batting around in the first and collecting seven straight bases before the A’s managed to record the first out of the game.

When the dust settled, the Orioles were standing atop a seven-run lead, one that catapulted them to their 58th win of the season and brought them within 1.5 games of a wild card spot.

Angels 6, Mariners 3: Speaking of the AL wild card race, the Mariners dropped out of the running with their third straight loss on Saturday, despite a strong performance from Erasmo Ramirez and Kyle Seager‘s two-RBI effort. Ramirez went six innings on three hits and an unearned run, but couldn’t do much to prevent Tony Zych from imploding in the eighth:

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Don’t look now, but Cody Bellinger is one home run shy of breaking a franchise record. The rookie first baseman smashed his 34th homer on Saturday, taking Carter Capps deep in the seventh inning to pad the club’s two-run lead. Another blast will tie him with the Dodgers’ all-time rookie home run record set by Mike Piazza in 1993.

It’s been a banner year for the team as a whole after they amassed a league-leading 82 wins on Saturday, reaching the 82-win mark faster than any National League team since the 1944 Cardinals.