Orioles talking to the oft-injured Joe Crede

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Joe Crede headshot.jpgThe Orioles are talking to free agent third baseman Joe Crede, reports Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.

Crede, who turns 32 in April, is coming off his third back surgery
since 2007, so he’d surely have to accept a modest one-year deal at this point. Limited to just 90 games last season, Crede batted .225/.289/.414 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI. Rogers calls the Orioles’ interest a “curious development” since they already have
two right-handed third baseman in Garrett Atkins and Ty Wigginton, but
according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Andy MacPhail would prefer to play Atkins at first base. If that’s the case, it pretty much scratches Hank Blalock off their list.

Whoever the Orioles stick at third would merely be a stopgap until top
prospect Josh Bell is ready for the majors. Best-case scenario is that
Crede is healthy — don’t laugh — and productive enough so that the
Orioles could unload him for a prospect around the trade deadline. At worst, he’ll
barely make enough money for his presence on the roster to even matter.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.