Phil Coke, Prince Fielder talk to kids about bullying

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Last April Tigers reliever Phil Coke testified before a federal anti-bullying panel.  Coke and his teammates are keeping up the good work in this area as, yesterday, he and Prince Fielder went to a middle school to talk to kids about bullying:

Loud cheers broke out when Fielder and Tigers pitcher Phil Coke took the stage. Both shared stories of being bullied as children, with Fielder saying he was a big kid but still endured punches and kicks from other children that left him in tears.

Very cool to see athletes getting involved in these sorts of initiatives. Especially Fielder. I imagine most people have a hard time picturing an elite athlete who, while in school, was the son of another famous athlete being the subject of bullying. Having someone like him involved helps illustrate that the problem doesn’t necessarily match the stereotypes.

 

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.