Trade talk: Roundup of Tuesday's rumors

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Let’s take a quick spin around the league, see what they were talking about regarding the march to Friday’s trade deadline.

*The Boston Red Sox reportedly made a big play for Roy Halladay. But then the Red Sox denied it.

Halladay, by the way, is scheduled to pitch in Seattle on Wednesday.

*There was some Cliff Lee news focused around a false report involving the Red Sox. As exciting as that was, an MLB report suggested the Indians were inclined to keep him.

Nonetheless, one report said the Dodgers, Red Sox, Phillies and Angels have all spoken to Cleveland recently.

*There was much attention on Jarrod Washburn, as scouts from the Yankees, Phillies, Brewers and Rangers watched him pitch against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Washburn got a no-decision while allowing one run in seven innings and lowering his ERA to 2.64.

As good as that sounds, he did get some help from his defense, including a homer-saving catch by rookie Michael Saunders.

And there is some speculation that some sort of package deal could be in the works, as Mariners prospect Jeff Clement was pulled from a AAA game in the third inning Tuesday night.

The New York Times, by the way, wonders if Washburn might be the best bargain on the block. 

*The Giants, having dealt for Ryan Garko on Monday, were reportedly close to acquiring Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates. But they first want to make sure his knee will hold up. 

*The Dodgers, looking for some bullpen help, are hot after Orioles closer George Sherrill.

*The Angels are still in the running for both Halladay and Lee, but may end up turning to lower-tier options.  

*And there was some big injury news that could be big factors in how the rest of the week plays out, with bad news on the Astros’ Roy Oswalt, the Brewers’ Jeff Suppan, and the Giants’ Randy Johnson.

*Quietly, the Red Sox and White Sox swapped a pair of Sox.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: