Link-O-Rama: Braves aren't trading Yunel Escobar

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* Yunel Escobar has been linked to Oakland and various other teams in trade rumors recently, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Atlanta “hasn’t made a single attempt to even explore the possibility of moving Escobar.”

* Speaking of the Braves, they’re retiring Greg Maddux’s number tonight.
Maddux had a 2.63 ERA during 11 seasons in Atlanta, going 194-88 for an
incredible .688 winning percentage while capturing both the ERA title
and Cy Young award in three straight years. He also posted a 2.80 ERA
in 27 postseason starts.

* Good news for the Cubs:
Ryan Dempster is hoping to return from his broken foot within two weeks
and Geovany Soto is recovering so well from his oblique injury that the
team is no longer pursuing catching help.

* More evidence that Julio Lugo isn’t long for the Red Sox: He didn’t even accompany the team to Toronto for their first post-break workout.

* A lesson for all aspiring major-league relievers: Growing an awesome mustache will make you successful.

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.