Link-O-Rama: Bloomquist is proving it all night

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* Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star is the latest in a long line of mainstream media members to inexplicably fawn over Willie Bloomquist. Here’s my favorite excerpt:
Bloomquist, 31, has already set career highs this season in virtually every offensive category. His 342 at-bats through Wednesday put him on pace to finish with 440 after never getting more than 251 in Seattle. And he finds satisfaction in proving, finally, that he only needed a chance to prove he can be a regular player.
Bloomquist is hitting .257 with four homers and 25 RBIs, so this stuff about “setting career-highs in virtually every offensive category” and “proving finally that he only needed a chance to prove he can be a regular player” is laughable.
He came into this season with a lifetime .263 average and .645 OPS. This season he has a .257 average and .654 OPS. The only thing he’s really “proving” is that newspaper writers take care of friendly players who provide them with good quotes. Dutton, incidentally, is president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
* San Francisco is reportedly the team that claimed Trevor Hoffman off waivers, but the odds of a trade taking place seem slim. Instead the Giants likely just wanted to make sure that he doesn’t win up with the Dodgers or Rockies.
* His dad finally seems to be out of the spotlight, but 22-year-old catcher/outfielder Koby Clemens is making a name for himself by hitting .346 with 20 homers and 65 total extra-base hits in 106 games at high Single-A.
* According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com the Twins are close to acquiring veteran left-handed reliever Ron Mahay from the Royals. Mahay was designated for assignment earlier this week after posting a 4.79 ERA and 34/19 K/BB ratio in 41.1 innings, but prior to struggling this season he had ERAs of 3.95, 2.55, and 3.48 with solid K/BB ratios in the previous three years.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.