D.J. Short

Yasiel Puig

Report: The Dodgers would move Yasiel Puig “in the right deal”

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We know that the Dodgers are likely to add a pitcher or two before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but could they also deal Yasiel Puig in the process? Bob Nightengale of USA Today hears that it’s possible.

“In the right deal” can mean a lot of things. Teams should be open-minded to all sorts of possibilities, so this doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Also keep in mind that the Dodgers would be selling low on Puig, who missed a bunch of time this season with a hamstring injury and has underwhelmed somewhat with a .253/.327/.423 batting line over 53 games. Regardless of his popularity in the clubhouse, he’s insanely talented, young, and under team control through 2019.

By the way, it was reported over the weekend that Puig was recently given assurances from the Dodgers that he wouldn’t be traded this season. Well, Puig told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that it didn’t happen. Still, it would take a pretty big deal for the Dodgers to even consider the possibility of trading the dynamic outfielder.

Report: The Nationals are “hottest” on Padres closer Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel
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The Nationals were reportedly looking at a reunion with Tyler Clippard before the Athletics traded him to the Mets tonight, but there’s a chance they could do something a lot bigger to strengthen the back-end of their bullpen.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals are the “hottest” among teams for Padres closer Craig Kimbrel. The team has also reportedly been linked to Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. With that in mind, Rosenthal was told by a friend of Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo that he would “almost bet my house that he will do something big.”

The Nationals already have an All-Star closer with Drew Storen, who has posted a 1.73 ERA and 44/9 K/BB ratio over 36 1/3 innings this season while going 29-for-31 in save chances. However, the bridge to the ninth inning for Washington has been shakier than in previous seasons. If the Nationals were to acquire Kimbrel or Chapman, Storen could be moved back into a set-up role.

Kimbrel, 27, has posted a 2.75 ERA and 55/15 K/BB ratio over 39 1/3 innings this season while compiling 29 saves. He’s owed $24 million from 2016-2017 and his contract includes a $13 million club option or a $1 million buyout for 2018. It would be a costly acquisition, but he’s still one of the top closers in the game and the Nationals have the kind of payroll to bring him aboard.

Interestingly, Rosenthal also confirmed that the Padres asked the Nationals about prospect shortstop Trea Turner in talks for Kimbrel. They were shot down. Of course, the Padres dealt Turner to the Nationals as a player to be named later in the three-team Wil Myers trade.

Alex Rodriguez celebrates 40th birthday with a home run

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Brian McCann #34 of the New York Yankees after hitting a solo home run against the Texas Rangers in the top of the sixth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez rang in his 40th birthday tonight by doing exactly what he’s been doing for much of the past 20 years: Hitting home runs. Watch him take Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison deep:

Rodriguez is now up to 24 home runs on the season as his remarkable resurgence continues. According to MLB’s official Twitter account, Rodriguez is just the fourth player in MLB history to homer in his teens and in his 40s. Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub, and Gary Sheffield are the only others.

Video: Nick Markakis receives standing ovation in his return to Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 27: Nick Markakis #22 of the Atlanta Braves acknowledges the crowd before his at bat in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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After playing his first nine seasons in the majors as a member of the Orioles, Nick Markakis left Baltimore for a four-year, $44 million contract with the Braves last December. The veteran outfielder made his return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards tonight as a visitor and received a standing ovation from the appreciative Baltimore crowd before his first at-bat. Check it out below:

Very cool stuff from the fans. And also from the Orioles, who played Markakis’ old walk-up music.

Report: The Astros are “making a big push” for Cole Hamels

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25:  on July 25, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a no hitter. The Philliess won 5-0. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics last week, but they are still thinking big as they make a push for the postseason. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Astros “remain in the thick” of the bidding for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and are “making a big push” to get a deal done.

We heard yesterday that there is “momentum building” toward a trade involving Hamels, who threw a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday. The Dodgers and Rangers have been considered the favorites in recent days, but the Yankees, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks are among the other possibilities. Hamels can block a trade to 20 teams and it’s unclear whether he would sign off on a trade to Houston.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season. He’s owed $22.5 million per season from 2016-2018 and his contract includes a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for 2019.