The Phillies want Xander Bogaerts from the Red Sox in a Cliff Lee deal

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I remain skeptical that the Phillies will actually trade Cliff Lee, but it could happen. If it does, it’s gonna take a lot. One report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is that it will take top infield prospect Xander Bogaerts:

 

Rosenthal and Heyman both have columns up about Lee. Heyman mentions that the Red Sox are interested. Rosenthal makes the argument that the Sox should trade Bogaerts if it meant getting Lee.

Bogaerts is hitting .298./396/.495 across Double-A and Triple-A this season. And he’s only 20. It would be a big, big price to pay, but Cliff Lee is by far the biggest starting pitcher who could even conceivably be traded.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.