Bill Baer

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 13:  Alexei Ramirez #10 of the San Diego Padres smiles during batting practice before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on May 13, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Padres are considering releasing Alexei Ramirez

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Padres shortstop is in the midst of the worst season of his major league career, coming into Monday night’s action batting .238/.272/.326 with four home runs and 37 RBI in 404 plate appearances. That has come along with a precipitous decline in defense.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the Padres are considering releasing Ramirez to open up playing time at shortstop for younger players in the final month and a half of the regular season, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The club had called up shortstop prospect Jose Rondon but optioned him back to Triple-A El Paso last week. He could be brought up again. The Padres also have Nick Noonan and Luis Sardinas, recently acquired from the Mariners.

Ramirez has a $4 million mutual option for the 2017 season that includes a $1 million buyout. The Padres are certain to decline their half of it. Releasing Ramirez now would simply get their youth movement at shortstop started a bit earlier.

Jon Lester gives Cubs the thumbs-up to bring Jonathan Papelbon aboard

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 28:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Washington Nationals looks on during a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on June 28, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
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The Cubs have been rumored to have interest in free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon. The Nationals released the right-hander on Saturday after he put up a disappointing 4.37 ERA in 35 innings of work, forcing them to trade for All-Star closer Mark Melancon.

Papelbon also has a sordid history of bad behavior, which includes throwing at Manny Machado‘s head and choking Bryce Harper in the Nationals’ dugout last year, as well as crotch-chopping in the direction of the home crowd in Philadelphia in 2014. Papelbon has also been known to watch pornography and play obnoxious politically-themed music in the clubhouse.

Nevertheless, Cubs starter Jon Lester, who was a teammate of Papelbon’s on the Red Sox from 2006-11, would be completely fine if his current team were to bring in the oft-troubled reliever, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports.

Lester said, “[Papelbon] is crazy. But he’s no crazier than the rest of us. He just gets a bad rap for what happened in the dugout. Knowing Papelbon, I’ve always had good things to say about him as a teammate, how he respects the game and how he goes about his business.”

Lester continued, “People are quick to jump to the conclusions based on one event. I think he’s a great teammate. Like I said, I don’t think he’s any crazier that the rest of us. I think he still has a lot to give.”

Video: Hunter Pence lost at Super Smash Bros. so he had to change his last name

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 08: Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants walks in the dugout after striking out in the 4th inning agains the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 8, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images
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If you don’t want the content of this video spoiled, don’t read further. I’ll be explaining it for people who can’t watch or listen.

In a satire video, Alexis Cozombolidis — known online for her “Let’s Get Lexi” Youtube videos — made a bet with her fiance Hunter Pence — known for his outfield work with the Giants — putting each of their last names at risk. The loser would have to forgo his or her last name once the marriage is made official. The venue? Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U.

Hunter appears to lose to Lexi quite badly, so he has to change his last name to Cozombolidis. The video shows the lettering making a horseshoe around the upper back of his new uniform. Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper calls a home run hit by Hunter and stumbles over the pronunciation. Even Giants fans take a while to get used to the pronunciation, and Hunter himself can’t seem to spell it. In a last ditch effort, Hunter suggests a double-or-nothing wager with Lexi but she turns him down.

It’s cool to see Hunter, who has a unique personality, on a platform outside of baseball. Remember when Michael Jordan was on Saturday Night Live?