Now that Beltran is gone, everyone wants … Ryan Ludwick?

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We figured that everyone looking for a bat at the deadline would wait until after Carlos Beltran got moved to swoop in for the second tier.  That seems to be happening at least with Ryan Ludwick, as Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies, Braves, Reds and Indians are all interested.

Maybe the Indians is old information given that they appear as though they’ll have Kosuke Fukudome by this evening, but I could see both Philly and Atlanta going for him.   Ludwick is no great shakes — he’s hitting .238 with 11 homers and 62 RBI this season — but he’d probably do a bit better out of San Diego. And, given that he’ll be a free agent this winter, it’s not like he’ll cost a ton.

An exciting move? Nah. But if you want a little power and don’t want to pay much for it, you could do worse.

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.