The latest from FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi:
If the Yankees decide not to re-sign Johnny Damon, they could look at a centerfield replacement, like Mike Cameron, rather than a leftfield replacement. This would seem to make some sense in the short term: Melky is OK, but not a transcendent player, and especially not compared to the All-Star at every position approach the Yankees seem intent on taking these days. You’d certainly create a bit of an offensive hole in left field, however, as neither Cabrera nor Brett Gardner’s bats are strong enough to respectably carry the position. Wait, what am I thinking? This is the Yankees. They don’t play “either-or”. They could sign Cameron and Holliday or Damon.
Omar Vizquel doesn’t want to go back to Texas. It’s not a playing time thing, though. He’s happy with his backup role which gave him 195 at bats. He just wants to play for a higher profile team. It’s not often you hear 42 year-old backups making those kinds of demands, but Vizquel is still a useful player and teams could do worse than to have him around in a utility role.
The Rays and Cubs are within $2-3 million of making a Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell deal happen. What on Earth the Cubs would do with Burrell — a guy probably less suited to play defense than even Bradley is anymore — is beyond me, but when it comes to unloading Bradley, the Cubs are definitely in “Great trade! Who’d we get?” territory. I can see the baseball argument for Bradley in Tampa Bay — anyone would improve their DH production after what Burrell pinched off in 2009 — but why a team that usually hums along nicely would want someone like Milton Bradley around is beyond me.
Wilson Betemit is expected to sign a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. This, I think, means that Dayton Moore only has to go after Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro and Rico Carty before he can say that he has had every last former Brave under contract in Kansas City.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper advanced to the second round of the 2018 Home Run Derby, swatting 13 home runs to best the 12 hit by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Harper was a No. 2 seed to Freeman’s No. 7, so the outcome isn’t a surprise. The hometown crowd in Washington, D.C. were certainly pleased that their star has advanced.
Harper would have had 30 seconds of bonus time since he hit two home runs that went 440 feet or total, but he got to 13 with time to spare in regulation. Harper maxed out at 467 feet in distance and 113 MPH in exit velocity. When interviewed on the field after his performance, Harper said, out of breath, “I’m tired!”
The second round is set. Rhys Hoskins (17 homers) will oppose Kyle Schwarber (16). Harper (13) will take on Max Muncy (17).