The Phillies sign Aaron Cook

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The Phillies have signed Aaron Cook to a minor league deal, reports Jon Paul Morosi. If he makes the bigs he’ll make $1.625 million.

Not a bad gamble at that price. Though I’m skeptical that he’ll be particularly useful. He has become a near-historically bad pitcher in terms of strikeout rate. Which he somehow, quite amusingly actually, got away with for a little while last season with the Red Sox.

But only for a little while. By the time the year was over he had an ERA of 5.65, and striking out fewer than two batters per nine innings had an awful lot to do with that. He hasn’t had an ERA below 5.00 since 2009.

But he’s an arm, can induce some ground balls when he’s on and there’s no harm having him around if the commitment, like this one, is small.

 

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.