Heyman: Phillies, Giants are favorites for Carlos Beltran

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With speculation flying that Carlos Beltran won’t accept a trade to an American League team, SI.com’s Jon Heyman said Friday afternoon that he sees the Phillies and Giants as the favorites to land the Mets outfielder, with the Braves and Brewers also in the running.

ESPN’s Buster Olney said earlier Friday that five teams were in the mix and didn’t include Milwaukee.  He said the Red Sox, Giants, Phillies, Braves and Rangers were the “serious teams.”

If they’re willing to part with either outfielder Gary Brown or RHP Zack Wheeler, the Giants would seem to be in the best position to land Beltran.  The Phillies would be crazy to give up Domonic Brown for two-plus months of Beltran, and while first baseman Jonathan Singleton might be up for grabs, he’s not as good of a fit in New York of Gary Brown would be.  The Phillies could instead try a deal with top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart.  Vance Worley isn’t believed to be on the table.

The Mets are believed to be looking at left-hander Mike Minor in a Beltran deal with the Braves.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.