Blue Jays expected to explore trade for White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham

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From beat writers Scott Merkin and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com:

The Blue Jays are in the market for a new second baseman, and one of their early targets appears to be Chicago’s Gordon Beckham.

MLB.com has learned that the Blue Jays have interest in acquiring the White Sox second baseman, which dates back to last offseason, when the possibility of a trade was first explored. The interest has since been renewed with general manager Alex Anthopoulos intent on upgrading the position.

Merkin and Chisholm suspect that the trade talks may grow to include pitchers like John Danks and Hector Santiago. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn both declined comment.

Beckham, the eighth overall pick in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, batted .270/.347/.460 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI during his breakout rookie campaign back in 2009. He has failed to return to that level of production in the seasons since and is the current owner of a weak .249/.314/.380 career slash line, but the 27-year-old is under contractual control through 2015 and has the talent to eventually take a step forward.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”